Strauss: Elektra - Borkh, Zadek, Höngen, Handt, Neralic; Previtali. Roma, 1957
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No one would ever think that Fernando Previtali would be the first choice for a performance of Elektra, but he shows that an Italian sensibility proves to be a welcome change of pace. He highlights Strauss' lyricism, which can often get buried behind all of the bombast, as well as maintaining an acute attention to the rich details of the score. Inge Borkh was legendary in the title role. I think what I like best about her approach is that even despite the high octane drama, she never sacrifices the beauty of her tone. The result is that her Elektra seems truly regal as opposed to a crazy bag-lady. Hilde Zadek may lack the sensuality of Leonie Rysanek, but she still sings a very admirable Chrysothemis. Elisabeth Höngen is somewhat of a disappointment. She seems unable to conjure up the same kind of vocal and histrionic color (you can even call if "camp" if you like) that makes the role so delicious. The sound is excellent.