Strauss: Elektra - Silja, Lindholm, Madeira, Giraudeau, Nienstedt; Sebastian. ORTF, 1964
Listen to a Sample:
I try to be fair while writing these descriptions. It is not in my best interests to recommend a recording that is lack luster. That said it is with total sincerity that I can say that this is one of the best performances of Elektra I have ever heard. From the first chords the orchestra explodes and it is a high octane roller coaster ride for almost the whole thing, the one exception being the most beautifully lilting recognition scene I have ever heard. You would think that you were listening to a Schubert lullaby. Anja Silja took on this voice-killing part when most of her colleagues had not even made their professional debuts. Certainly it was a great risk but she meets the demands with admirable power and commitment to the drama (she is helped by one or two extra cuts.) Her high Cs are sung with astonishing abandon and incredible ease given the demands that this role puts on the voice. She is joined by Berit Lindholm as Chrysothemis who brings remarkable warmth and color to the role and manages the stratospheric tessitura very well. The world was robbed of Jean Madeira far too soon. She brings amazing character and pathos to a role which all too often can descend into caricature. You find yourself both repulsed by her and sorry for her. Gerd Nienstedt rounds out the cast as a velvety Orest. The sound is very good and the impact of Strauss' orchestra comes through better than many studio recordings I have heard.
Anja Silja sings Isolde's Narration and Curse from Tristan und Isolde
André Cluytens, conductor