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Review: Canadian Opera Company’s ‘Elektra’ is a Masterclass of Dramatic Storytelling

By: Curtis Sindrey –

Christine Goerke as Elektra in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Elektra, 2019. (Photo: Michael Cooper)

Christine Goerke as Elektra in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Elektra, 2019. (Photo: Michael Cooper)

The Canadian Opera Company’s (COC) new production of Elektra is a spellbinding tale of revenge that keeps you at the edge of your seat until the final note.

Anchored by masterful performances by Christine Goerke (Elektra), Susan Bullock (Klytaimnestra), Erin Wall (Chrysothemis), Wilhelm Schwinghammer(Orest), and Michael Schade(Aegisth), Ekektra follows Klytämnestra, Queen of Thebes, who murdered her husband Agamemnon, upon his return from the Trojan Wars, with the help of her lover, Aegisth. Elektra, her daughter, has sent her younger brother Orest to a place of safety in another country. While others, including Elektra’s sister Chrysothemis, accept the new regime, Elektra alone keeps alive the memory of her father, praying for the day Orest will return to avenge the murder of their father.

Goerke’s performance is particular is a must-see with a natural delivery and vulnerability that absorbs you into her madness. Considering the icons that have played the title role (See Astrid Varnay), Goerke has proved herself to be the star to bring Elektra into the 21st century.

From a design perspective, the beautiful Derek McLane-designed stage is as visually skewed as the story is psychologically. In addition, the design, especially the props in the forms of dolls, and rocking horses, ooze symbolism about just how screwed up Elektra and Chrysothemis’ childhood was.

What is also a joy to witness is the sheer amount of on stage female talent in the production, from the aforementioned Goerke, Bullock, and Wall, along with fellow cast members, Jill Grove, Simona Genga, Lauren Segal, Tracy Cantin and Lauren Eberwein, it’s inspiring to see talented female artists get the chance to shine.

Overall, Elektra is a must-see production in the COC’s otherwise stacked winter seasons.


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