Strauss’s Elektrais the Perth Festival’s most bloodthirsty offering.

The Austrian contralto Ernestine Schumann-Heink, who created the role of Clytemnestra for the original production of Elektrain 1909, vowed she would “never sing the role again.”

“It was frightful,” she said. “We were a set of madwomen!” More than 100 years on, Richard Strauss’s one-act opera based on the Greek tragedy by Sophocles remains one of the most horrific and complex in the repertoire. The eponymous Elektra is torn apart by her all-consuming lust for vengeance, having seen her father brutally murdered by her mother, who is planning to leave her to rot in a dank tower. Before she can be captured, the tormented wretch enlists the help of her banished brother Orestes to carry out her gruesome revenge fantasy, then dances herself to death in twisted, triumphal ecstasy.

Western Australian audiences have all this and more to look forward to when WA Opera stages Elektrafor the Perth Festivalfrom February 8–14. In just under 100 minutes it packs a serious punch, making a visceral impact on performers and opera-goers alike. Conductor Richard Mills describes it as “action-packed” and “complex”. And director Matthew Lutton adds...

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