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Photo: Miklos Szabo


World-class soloists, superb orchestral playing, set design de luxe and a hair-raising plot twist make the Opera’s production of Strauss’ Elektra a fabulous experience.

Internationally sought-after, Moscow-born director Dmitri Tcherniakov’s staging of Strauss’s musically explosive and most modernist work is reminiscent of psychological thriller masters Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock, dressed in a constantly ominous, cinematic soundtrack that is unfolded with breathtaking power by the Royal Danish Orchestra in the strongest possible line-up under the direction of Thomas Søndergård.

An evening in which Elektra’s thirst for revenge manifests itself convincingly as a psychiatric special case beyond therapeutic reach.

And where both the build-up to the redemptive, terrifying climax and the final off-stage execution of the blood sacrifices sends a chill down your spine.

World star Lise Lindstrøm is hauntingly strong both vocally and dramaturgically in the demanding role of Elektra, while Johan Reuter with his menacing baritone delivers a deeply frightening performance as the estranged brother Orestes, who returns unexpectedly to help Elektra clean up the family’s trauma.

A housecleaning that consists of killing her mother Clytemnestra and her lover Aigisthos, aka the vile duo responsible for the regicide of Elektra’s father, thus triggering the whole frenzy of shrill, raving paternal neglect (aka the Elektra complex) that is the smoldering core of the opera.

The miscreants are portrayed by a particularly well-played Violeta Urmana with Gert Henning-Jensen as partner in crime. It is masterly.

The performance is so full of vileness and well-timed suspense that you are on the edge of your seat for most of Elektras non-stop 1 hour 45 minutes playing time.

Particularly vicious and powerful operatic drama is Elektra’s ‘chummy’ chat with her mother, who is looking for a way to escape her eternal nightmares.

It is a solution that Elektra outlines with deliberation, albeit subtly, without mentioning the name of the person who will make the blood sacrifice until the very end. Hello, Mommy!

There is plenty to geek out about Strauss and Elektra, the genesis of the opera and its high-tension inner psychology. However, the fact that the ending of this take on the classic tale is twisted so surprisingly that I shouldn’t reveal it here.

Without spoiling the plot too much, I’ll quietly draw your attention to Charles Manson and his deranged cult that was behind a series of bestial murders in the 60s, allegedly inspired by the psychedelically brutal The Beatles rocker Helter Skelter from the White Album.

Remember that reference when, in the opera’s macabre finale of five corpses arranged around a dining table, you see Orestes pulling an Elektra LP out of the bookcase in the exceedingly tastefully decorated mansion to examine the copy…

Revenge, as we all know, is a dish best served ice cold, and I assure you it is in this final scene, which draws abstract references to a wide range of chilling psychological thrillers. In short, it’s scary as hell, if you’re up for the director’s updated extemporization, which conservative Elektra worshippers will surely find too poppy.

Not everyone is who they pretend to be in this theater experience, which I highly recommend.

Knowing that the grandiose composition with close ties to Wagner’s massive orchestral noise and the absence of hit arias can also be challenging.

Elektra draws the rare six stars from Det Sku Du’ Se but only plays 7 times – hurry!


In a recent food review, a local newspaper gave top marks to the Filipino restaurant Saji in Studiestræde, close to the Cathedral.

Let’s just say that the bells didn’t ring in the slightest and that I don’t understand much of the review that you may have read.

Perhaps I should have just been more vigilant in my source criticism, in light of the newspaper in question’s perpetual efforts to snob down and exalt street food whenever it has the slightest whiff of something ethnic.

From the menu, my companion and I chose three of the four appetizers to get around a bit.

Both chicken wings and Oyster Mushroom Tempura were served with a smoky Goma (sesame/soy) sauce. Both dishes were a coddling deep-fry feast most reminiscent of my only visit to KFC so far and did not live up to the website’s promise of authentic Indonesian flavors.

Pieces of fried beef tongue on a spit were interesting and not completely crazy but a bit tough without wild counterplay from the small bowl of homemade curry dip.

Today’s special main course was a kind of lamb stew served with steamed rice. An ok tasty but also rather anonymous dish that was so close to everyday food that you might as well have eaten at home.

A glass of Riesling for 105,- and a beer for 75,- plus a liter of water for 75,- brought the bill up around a thousand and it was just too much for a meal that was forgotten even before I had reached 300 meters up Nørregade to get to Folketeatret.

GOT TO SEE THIS disclaimer: It was packed at the long dining bar with informal atmosphere and high spirits, so maybe there is something about it all that I have misunderstood. Try Saji and judge for yourself.