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Elektra

Strauss’s thrilling and audacious adaptation of Greek tragedy receives a new staging by the award-winning Christof Loy. This uncompromising opera, about a daughter intent on bloody revenge and a mother driven to madness, has provoked critics to lively debate and both shocked and excited audiences since its 1909 premiere. Antonio Pappano conducts music that combines violence with moments of exquisite tenderness in his first Strauss interpretation for The Royal Opera since 2002. The outstanding cast includes Nina Stemme (Brünnhilde in last Season’s Der Ring des Nibelungen) in the title role, and Karita Mattila in her role debut as the haunted queen Klytämnestra.

Klytämnestra plotted with her lover Ägisth to murder her husband King Agamemnon. Her daughter Elektra sent her brother Orest away to protect him. She is now an outcast in her mother’s home, and her unkempt appearance and repeated honouring of her dead fatherprovoke Klytämnestra’s anger. Elektra longs only for revenge, after which she will dance in triumph. Her sister Chrysothemis is desperate to escape from the palace. Klytämnestra is wracked with guilt and Elektra tells her it will only be assuaged by the queen’s own violent death. News comes that Orest is dead. Then a mysterious man arrives at the court.

Elektra recognizes the man as her brother, Orest. She is overjoyed. Orest begins to take his vengeance by brutally murdering his mother. Ägisth arrives, unaware of what is happening. Orest strikes him down too. Orest is acclaimed by the court and Elektra finally performs her dance of triumph, which has its own deadly conclusion.

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