Elektra Shock: Opera and Radical Interpretation


When it premiered in 1909, Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s one-act opera Elektra—an adaptation of Sophocles’ tragedy—was a musical and dramatic shock. Over a hundred years later, the piece remains wrenching and confounding. But how so? In this talk, we will explore an especially astonishing production of Elektra in order to explore what it tells us about the piece and the possibilities—and responsibilities—of interpretation.