Robert Jacobson in Opera News:
Strauss’ tragedy (seen Jan. 2) has seen and heard more inspired days in recent times at the Met, for none of the principals measured up to previous interpreters. Erich Leinsdorf led an efficient, clear-cut, heartless reading – all stainless steel and Swiss watch movement, even through the recognition scene – at the same time creating such a wall of sound as to encourage his singers to sing as loudly as possible. To the tortured Elektra, Danica Mastilovic lent a hard tone that was often wobbly, edgy and astray from pitch, with little lyricism or vocal beauty, relying on harsh attacks and acting without subtlety; but she did have stamina and brute force to compensate. Her Mycenaean princess retained little nobility through dementia, alas. Eva Marton’s Chrysothemis soared on top, her soprano having an interesting covered quality and strong projection, while she looked handsome. Mignon Dunn went through all the motions as the crazed Klytämnestra, but it was hard to believe her inner torture, since she appeared a kind of externalized, decaying Delilah. She did, however, vocalize it powerfully and richly. Norman Bailey’s Orest spoke of nobility and sincerity, but his woolly baritone faded into the orchestral fabric, while Ragnar Ulfung’s Aegisth is now agonizing to the ear.
Born on this day in 1905 composer Michael Tippett.
On this day in 2015 soprano Marjorie Owens made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Verdi’s Aida.
Birthday anniversaries include composer Joaquín Valverde (1875), tenor Torsten Ralf (1901), tenor James Melton (1904) and conductor/musicologist Alberto Zedda (1928).