<< -- 3 -- Kelly Ferjutz LADEN WITH TENSION
The men were all given rather short shrift by the composer, but even in their brief roles, they all acquitted themselves well.
And the orchestra? Well, individually or collectively, the musicians were entirely responsive to the wishes of their Music Director. As always, the winds were limpidly beautiful, while the brass was forceful and satiny smooth. The strings played with their usual perfect intonation, providing the lush sounds for which they're noted, especially in the gigantic demands made by Strauss. (It just isn't possible to identify individual soloists, given the reduced lighting necessary for the surtitles to be visible.)
As in last year's Don Carlo, Mr Welser-Möst continued his collaboration with two of the many local colleges and music institutes in the area, by using young professional singers who are either graduate students, or nearly so. This production featured artists from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music. In no particular order, they are: Harriett Jean Lowe, Klytemnestra's confidante; Marie Masters, Klytemnestra's trainbearer; Garrett Sorenson, young servant; Ray Boyce, Orest's tutor; Denise Knowlton, overseer; Karen Jesse, first maid; Rebecca Ringle, second maid; Kathryn Leemhuis, third maid; Twyla Robinson, fourth maid, and Bengi Mayone, fifth maid. Ray Liddle, a Cleveland singer, was the old servant, and Jacqui Loewy, a local actress, provided the blood-curdling offstage screams.
From left to right, Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, Lisa Gasteen (Elektra) and Christine Brewer (Chrysothemis), receive a standing ovation after 'Elektra' at Severance Hall. Photo © Roger Mastroianni
The house was sold-out, and nearly every one of those ticket holders were in attendance, demanding three curtain calls from the exhilarated performers. There will be another performance on Sunday 23 May 2004 at 7pm. Information is available at the orchestra's web-site: www.clevelandorchestra.com