More About Elektra.pdf
Richard Strauss by Matthew Boyden (Northeastern University Press).
Richard Strauss: Man, Musician, Enigma by Michael Kennedy (Cambridge University Press).
Boyden adopts a less traditional approach than Kennedy, but both are fluent writers who love their subject and offer many insights.
I offer a personal take on Strauss in my essay “First-Rate Second-Class Composer” in For the Love of Music (Oxford University Press).
Videos and Recordings
Elektra has been filmed and recorded often. Among the many video versions, two that stand out are those with Claudio Abbado conducting the Vienna Philharmonic and Christian Thielemann conducting the Munich Philharmonic. Abbado’s all-star cast includes Éva Marton, Brigitte Fassbaender, and Cheryl Studer and features eerily effective staging by Harry Kupfer (Arthaus Musik). Thielemann’s cast includes Linda Watson, Jane Henschel, and Manuela Uhl, in a minimalist production by Herbert Wernicke (Opus Arte). A historical footnote: Thielemann made his U.S. conducting debut leading the Company’s 1991 production of Elektra, starring Gwyneth Jones in the title role and Helga Dernesch as Klytemnestra.
Georg Solti, who also made his American debut in San Francisco leading Elektra (in 1953), recorded the work with the Vienna Philharmonic in 1961. Featuring Birgit Nilsson, Regina Resnik, and Marie Collier, this account captures the score’s brilliance in sound that remains exemplary (Decca).
Larry Rothe is author of Music for a City, Music for the World and co-author of For the Love of Music.