Never before in Austin; rarely in all of Texas

The listeners didn’t sneeze, they didn’t cough, they didn’t shift in their seats. Tonight was the first-ever performance of Elektra in Austin, brought to us by the Austin Lyric Opera. The libretto’s a bit on the hokey side (Hofmannsthal not at his best, and heavy on the symbolism), but the orchestra and cast haven’t sounded so wonderful together since the glorious days of Walter Ducloux. This is an unbroken hour and a half of all the colors in the orchestra joined by powerful but lyrical singing. Tickets are as cheap as $15. There’s not really a bad seat at the PAC (or at least no seat worse than the best, acoustically). The next performance will be this coming Monday, January 10, with another on Friday, January 14, and a matinee performance on Sunday, January 16. Because the performances are spread over two weekends, all audiences will enjoy the same cast. Some of the regular subscribers seem to fear that the music isn’t pretty or something, so there are seats available, and KMFA radio has been giving a few away to callers. The projected supertitle translations weren’t too ridiculous, and the production was of such a nature that the failure to bring binoculars didn’t matter. Were I to change anything at all, it would be to have a choreographer (or another choreographer) called in, but at least the dance movements weren’t along the lines of the poor dancers writhing around in jersey tubes a la Martha Graham at a production of Aïda seen in Houston years ago. So I resisted captioning this entry “Elektra-fying” but, judging from applause following the show, electrifying is exactly how the audience found it to be.

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