The recording of Richard Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten made at the Salzburg Festival in 1992 is very much Sir Georg Solti’s show. The conducting is superb and the Vienna Philharmonic, of course, respond for Solti. From the opening, shattering cords through the various orchestral interludes to the final ensemble and chorus Solti is utterly convincing in his command of tempi and dynamics.
I don’t think Richard Strauss’ Elektra is an easy opera to stage. The story is straightforward and really well known and the opera is constructed largely as a series of dialogues so designing visual and dramatic elements that enhance the drama is a real challenge. In his 2005 production for the Opernhaus Zürich Martin Kušej tries hard to do so but rather comes up short. Fortunately his detailed direction of the singers is effective and pretty much makes up for the “Kušej bingo card” elements of the production.