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<<  -- 2 --  Kelly Ferjutz    LADEN WITH TENSION


From the first chord until the last, Strauss' music is laden with tension, and while it is certainly clangorous, it can hardly be considered atonal these days. One hundred years ago, it would no doubt have produced a more volatile reaction from the audience.

Ms Gasteen is possessed of a bright, big voice, easily able to soar over the full orchestra playing full out. Yet, when required, her softness is equally as impressive, a mere whispered sound being easily heard in the balcony. She is also an actress of no little skill, although of necessity her space was limited, thereby confining her physical movements to a relatively small area. Nevertheless, she displayed an astonishing variety of emotions; bitter and hostile towards her mother; coy and almost loverlike as she tries to entice her sister into helping her kill their mother; transcendant with near-joy when she realizes that Orest is still alive; impatient while pacing waiting for the deed to be done; almost girlish as the waltzes began near the ending; obsequious with her hated step-father and finally, halting and stumbling as she realizes she cannot, after all, dance in celebration.

As Chrysothemis, Ms Brewer's voice blended well with that of Ms Gasteen, allowing the listener to differentiate in their duets. The somewhat softer character of this part was ably displayed in the beginning scenes, making the transition near the end all the more horrific, as the previously peaceful sister becomes the blood-thirsty one.

The many faces of Klytemnestra -- ranging from a fluttery, almost dithery woman incomplete without a man around her, to the mother asking for help from her daughter, and then to a near mad scene -- were brought to vivid life by the voice and acting of Felicity Palmer, who, although making her Cleveland Orchestra début, has sung the role internationally. She was scary! Concertmaster William Preucil contributed the lovely, rather chromatic violin song under her solo in scene four.

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Copyright © 21 May 2004 Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA


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