Strauss: Elektra - Steger, Mödl, Tarres, Windgassen, Wildermann; C. Kleiber. Stuttgart, 1971


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Any recording featuring Carlos Kleiber has the feel of a true event.  He conducted so few operas but fortunately for the ones that he focused on he was able to bring a depth of understanding to both the mechanics of the score as well as the meaning behind it.  Elektra is a treasure trove of orchestral colors and he relishes the task of balancing the orchestra to highlight specific details that otherwise can get overlooked in the cacophony.  Listening to his performance one senses that not one instrumental flourish is superfluous amidst the 111 players inhabiting the pit.  Ingrid Steger may not be up to the level set by Kleiber, but she sings with abandon and although she tires a little during the recognition scene she generally keeps her voice together until the end of the opera (no small feat by any means.)  Martha Mödl was well past her prime in 1971 and there are patches of downright unattractive singing.  However her artistry and skills as an actor redeem her vocal shortcomings and she even uses the vocal wear to her benefit giving Klytämnestra a frail quality that makes her seem even incongruously sympathetic.   Enriqueta Tarres is radiant as Chrysothemis.  Wolfgang Windgassen lends his talents as Aegisth (he was acting as intendant of Stuttgart at the time.)  The sound is good.

Martha Mödl sings excerpts from Mahagonny, Jenufa & Parsifal

OD 10581-2