Strauss: Elektra - Varnay, Synek, Madeira, Esser, Meghor; Kaufmann. Wiesbaden, 1964
Listen to a Sample:
- In college I fell in love with Astrid Varnay's legendary performance of Elektra from Salzburg, 1964 conducted by Karajan. As iconic as that performance was, I can honestly say she hits an even higher mark with this one. Everything about the voice was working perfectly and one gets the sense that she is holding back absolutely nothing. The true achievement may be how she scales back her voice for some of the more intimate moments. That is not an easy thing to do when you have been on stage for an hour plus doing battle with a 110-piece orchestra.
- Liane Synek matches Varnay's intensity and abandon without any trace of the hardness that her voice would accrue over time.
- Jean Madeira manages to find moments of beauty as Klytämnestra without white-washing the grotesque aspects of the character.
- The orchestral playout after the Elektra/Klytämnestra scene is missing from this recording.