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The craftsman
Vol. XVII, Number 3 (December 1909)

Roof, Katharine M.
Elektra in Dresden: Richard Strauss's latest opera,   pp. 281-295 PDF (5.0 MB)


Page 295


ELEKTRA IN DRESDEN
large one from the German-she produces an effect that is the
opposite of solidity. One associates her face with the idea of light.
Her facial expression is not premeditated, but comes with the feefing
of her part. And as she speaks or acts her eyes are full of a light
that seems to overflow her face. In the categorical sense she might
seem to lack beauty, except for her large blue eyes and sensitive,
lightly set eyebrows, yet it is a face in which so much can happen that
one has no especial consciousness of features, but only of the chang-
ing reflections of thought and emotion passing over it, which give
it moments of that fluid intangible quality of beauty which to certain
minds must always be the real beauty, the thing that cannot be fixed
by the detaining finger of analysis. That Krull is a musician as well
as an opera singer--also not too frequent an occurrence-one realizes
as she discusses the Strauss orchestration. She said, too, that it was
difficult for her to imagine Elektra in French, and while she is German
("aber durch und durch," she added) her reason was an artistic
one,
not one of national prejudice.
   "French is a beautiful language, of course," she said, "but
I
cannot feel it quite the right vehicle for the story of Elektra. Think,
for example-when she exclaims in that first moment, 'Allein, weh
ganz allein,'-and even in her speech the powerful words were weighted
with tragedy-then in French, 'Seule toute seule!'-the French seems
-too-well-too elegant."
   We spoke of America and she said, "Frau Schumann-Heink tells
me that in America you care most of all for the art of beautiful singing."
  LTHOUGH Krull has been in the Dresden opera company
      for eight years she was, up to the time of her "Salome" success,
      kept back, as is the German way with the younger singers.
She should make a wonderful Isolde when she comes to sing it. It
is to be hoped that her enthusiasm for the Strauss operas will not
lead her into sacrificing a voice of rare and lovely quality. May
we hear her some day in America.
   And so-into the quiet Platz again, the comfortable scramble into
the Green Bus, the few minutes' wait for the places to be filled, and
the unhurried start. Perhaps one needs an atmosphere as quiet,
an environment as simple, to appreciate such a violent work as
"Elektra," to see it in its proper value.
   As you pass under the arch and jog gently home, the horse's
hoofs echoing hollowly upon the cobbles of the narrow street, the
tumult of the orchestra, the wild cries of Elektra, slowly subside in
your ears, but in the dark the image still remains of that wild figure
performing its strange and terrible rite, a veritable dance of death!
                                                              295


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