Tragedy in one act - 1909

Composer Richard Strauss · Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal
In German without surtitles due to the stage design.

Saturday, 14. February 2009
08:00 pm – 09:50 pm

Duration est. 1 hours 50 minutes

Open ticket sales


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Kent Nagano
Production Assistant
Herbert Wernicke

Agnes Baltsa
Deborah Polaski
Manuela Uhl
Ulrich Reß
Ain Anger
Der Pfleger des Orest
Christian Van Horn
Die Vertraute
Anita-Roseanne Salven
Die Schleppträgerin
Laura Nicorescu
Ein junger Diener
Kenneth Roberson
Ein alter Diener
Rüdiger Trebes
Die Aufseherin
Irmgard Vilsmaier
Erste Magd
Okka von der Damerau
Zweite Magd
Anaïk Morel
Dritte Magd
Heike Grötzinger
Vierte Magd
Carola Höhn
Fünfte Magd
Jessica Muirhead
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester
  • Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper

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Elektra's father: murdered. Her mother and her paramour Ägisth were his murderers. The disheveled Elektra is determined to avenge the parricide. She has the axe for the deed but not the strength. Then her brother Orest appears … Armor-plated emotions! – whipped up by a gigantic orchestra. An aristocratic cast of singers. An enthusiastically cheered staging by Herbert Wernicke. A shattering drama of the Soul.


On his return from the Trojan War, King Agamemnon was murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus. Electra, the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, wishes to avenge her murdered father. She is awaiting the return of her brother, Orestes, who was removed from the court as a child after the murder of his father.

The maids taunt and jeer at Electra, who is forced to live as an outcast before the palace gates. The only one to remain loyal to her is the youngest of the maids, who is abused by the others as a result. Electra invokes the ghost of her dead father and conjures up the image of his murder before her mind’s eye. She has a vision of the day on which she and Orestes will have their bloody revenge.

Her sister, Chrysothemis, warns Electra that their mother, Clytemnestra, is planning to have her locked up. Chrysothemis, who longs passionately for love and a life of fulfilment, is afraid that she might meet with a similar fate. She blames her sister for the situation in which they both find themselves. Clytemnestra is tortured by nightmares in which Orestes appears to avenge his father. She approaches her daughter, hoping that Electra will say something to stop her having these dreams. She does not, however, understand what Electra means when the latter tells her that she will no longer be plagued by these nightmares once the right person has been killed by the axe. Just as Electra, overcome by hate, flings her plans for revenge in her mother’s face, the Queen receives the news of Orestes' death. She laughs at her daughter scornfully and disappears into the palace.

Electra is now determined to carry out her plan for revenge on Clytemnestra and Aegisthus with the sole help of Chrysothemis. But Chrysothemis refuses to become involved.

A stranger now appears, claiming that he is the messenger who has come to inform the court of Orestes’ death. When Electra curses the messenger and announces who she is, the messenger reveals himself as Orestes. He has come to avenge their father. Before Electra can hand him the axe with which Agamemnon was slain and which she has kept for Orestes, he is called into the palace to appear before the Queen. The Queen’s scream, as she dies, release Electra from her suspense.

Aegisthus now returns. Electra greets him with feigned friendliness, confirms the news of Orestes’ death and accompanies Aegisthus into the palace, where Orestes awaits him.

In her joy at the vengeance which has been wreaked, Electra is hardly aware of Chrysothemis when the latter comes to tell her that Orestes has arrived and has killed Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.

Translation: Susan Bollinger

© Bayerische Staatsoper

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Premiere of Richard Strauss' "Elektra" on October 27, 1997 in the Nationaltheater

Elektra in München

* Reihenfolge der Partien: Elektra, Chrysothemis, Klytämnestra, Orest, Aegisth
ML = Musikalische Leitung, IN = Inszenierung, BB = Bühnenbild, KM = Kostüme

14. Februar 1909
(Münchner Erstaufführung)

Hof- und Nationaltheater

ML Felix Mottl, IN Anton Fuchs, BB Richard Fischer, KM Hermann Buschbeck

Zdenka Faßbender, Maude Fay, Margarete Preuse-Matzenauer, Paul Bender, Raoul Walter *

10. Oktober 1927


ML Hans Knappertsbusch, IN Max Hofmüller, BB Adolf Linnebach

Gertrude Kappel, Felicie Hüni-Mihacsek, Hedwig Fichtmüller, Paul Bender, Fritz Fitzau

15. Januar 1952


ML Georg Solti, IN Heinz Arnold, BB Helmut Jürgens, KM Rosemarie Jakameit

Inge Borkh, Annelies Kupper, Res Fischer, Ferdinand Frantz, Franz Klarwein

11. August 1963


ML Joseph Keilberth, IN Hans Hartleb, BB Helmut Jürgens, KM Liselotte Erler

Astrid Varnay, Hildegard Hillebrecht, Jean Madeira, Hans Günter Nöcker, Fritz Uhl

19. Dezember 1972


ML Wolfgang Sawallisch, IN Günther Rennert, BB und KM Rudolf Heinrich

Danica Mastilovic, Claire Watson, Astrid Varnay, Franz Crass, Fritz Uhl


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Kent Nagano, geboren in Kalifornien, war Musikdirektor des Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, der Opéra National de Lyon, des Hallé Orchestra und der Los Angeles Opera sowie künstlerischer Leiter und Chefdirigent des Deutschen Symphonieorchesters Berlin. Von 2006 bis 2013 war er Generalmusikdirektor der Bayerischen Staatsoper. Seit der Spielzeit 2015/16 ist er Generalmusikdirektor der Hamburgischen Staatsoper sowie Chefdirigent des Philharmonischen Staatsorchesters Hamburg. In seiner Zeit an der Bayerischen Staatsoper leitete er zahlreiche Neuproduktionen, darunter Billy Budd, Chowanschtschina, Eugen Onegin, Idomeneo, Ariadne auf Naxos, Wozzeck, Lohengrin, Die schweigsame Frau, Saint François d’Assise sowie die Uraufführungen von Wolfgang Rihms Das Gehege, Unsuk Chins Alice in Wonderland, Minas Borboudakis’ liebe.nur liebe und Jörg Widmanns Babylon. (Stand: 2020)

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