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Fri. Dec. 8, 2017, 4 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. Vienna

Richard Strauss


Conductor: Ingo Metzmacher, Director: Uwe Eric Laufenberg
With Waltraud Meier, Elena Pankratova, Gun-Brit Barkmin, Norbert Ernst, Johan Reuter

  • Richard Strauss  |  Musik
  • Ingo Metzmacher  |  Conductor
  • Uwe Eric Laufenberg  |  Director
  • Rolf Glittenberg  |  Bühne
  • Marianne Glittenberg  |  Costumes
  • Andreas Grüter  |  Light Design

Ingo Metzmacher | Conductor

INGO METZMACHER began his career with the Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt and at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. From 1997 to 2005 he was General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera, followed by a position as Chief Conductor of the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam and from 2007 to 2010 Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. In 2016 he was appointed Artistic Director of the Hanover based multi art festival KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen.  Highlights of recent seasons include new productions of operas by Luigi Nono, Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, and Wolfgang Rihm at the Salzburg Festival. Opera engagements have taken him to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Zurich Opera House, La Scala in Milan, Opéra National de Paris, the Dutch National Opera and the Berlin State Opera, and he has given numerous concerts with some of the world’s leading orchestras. At the Wiener Staatsoper Ingo Metzmacher gave his debut in 2009 as the conductor of Lady Macbeth of Mzensk, and has since then returned to conduct Parsifal, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and Jenůfa

Waltraud Meier | Klytämnestra

KS Waltraud was born in Würzburg. After completing school, she went on to study English and at the same time had singing lessons. In 1976, she decided to focus completely on singing and made her debut at the Würzburger Opera as Lola (Cavalleria Rusticana). She gave her international debut in 1980 at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as Fricka in Walküre. With her triumphant success as Kundry in Wagner’s Parsifal in 1983, her international career started at the Bayreuther Festspiele which has led her on a regular basis to Covent Garden, the Met, the Scala, the Opéra National de Paris and the Bayerische Staatsoper. Today, she is considered one of the most important Wagner singers. She is also equally expressive and vocally dramatic when singing in French and Italian as Eboli, Amneris, Didon, Carmen und Santuzza. She made her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 1987 as Kundry. Further performances in the house on the ring include Amneris, Komponist, Carmen, Ortrud, Sieglinde, Leonore, Isolde, Venus, Kundry, Eboli, and Santuzza.


Elena Pankratova | Elektra

ELENA PANKRATOVA was born in Yekaterinburg and received her musical training in her hometown – initially as pianist and choral conductor. She obtained her opera and concert singer´s diploma with distinction at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. From 1996 to 2000, Elena Pankratova was ensemble member of the Staatstheater Nuremberg. Performances for example lead her to the Oper Frankfurt, the Berliner Staatsoper, to the Savonlinna-Festival, to the Semperoper, La Scala in Milan, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, the Teatro Real Madrid or the Liceu Barcelona. Current and future engagements are for example Färberin (London, Munich, Copenhagen), Sieglinde (Mariinskij-Theater St. Petersburg), Turandot (Puccini Festival Torre del Lago, Naples, Munich, St. Petersburg), Elektra (Dresden, Lyon), Leonore (Geneva), Tosca (Savonlinna), Kundry (Bayreuth), Ortrud (Berlin), Venus (Munich), Norma (St. Petersburg). 

Monika Bohinec | 1. Magd

The mezzo-soprano Monika Bohinec studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. As a student, she was a finalist and award winner of different competitions and a scholarship holder of the Richard Wagner Foundation and the Hilde Zadek Foundation.

In 2006, she made her debut as Clarissa in Die Liebe zu den drei Orangen at the Slovenian State Opera, where she appeared as Jezibaba in Rusalka, Konchakowna (Fürst Igor), Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and in the title role of Carmen.
In 2009 Monika Bohinec became ensemble member of the Mannheim National Theatre, where she sang Carmen, Sara di Nottingham (Roberto Devereux), Laura and Cieca (La Gioconda), Maddalena (Rigoletto), Giulietta (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) and Ulrica (Un ballo in maschera).

In the season 2011/2012 Monika Bohinec became ensemble member of the Vienna State Opera where she sang e.g. Larina, Grimgerde, Marthe, Farzana, Schenkenwirtin, Lola, Mary, Marcellina, Fenena, Ulrica, Suzuki, Margret, Madelon and Erste Norn.

Gun-Brit Barkmin | Chrysothemis

GUN-BRIT BARKMIN studied at the Conservatoire Rostock and continued her studies at the Hochschule for Music Carl Maria von Weber in Dresden. After engagements in Freiberg and Vienna, in 2000 she became an ensemble member of the Komische Oper in Berlin. The personification of the theatrically demanding character roles like Marie in Berlin and Cardiff, Salome at the Opernhaus Zurich, Elsa (Lohengrin) and Chrysothemis (Elektra) in Leipzig, as well as Queen Elizabeth I in Britten’s Gloriana and Emilia Marty (Die Sache Makropulos) in Prague have become integral roles in her repertoire. Further interpretations include Ellen Orford (Peter Grimes) at the Deutschen Oper in Rhein, Laura (Hindemiths Neues vom Tage) in Ancona, Bianca (Eine Florentinische Tragödie) in Toronto and Mimì (La Bohème) in Seattle. Furthermore she has performed among others, Amelia (Aribert ReimannsBernarda Albas Haus), Sylvia Varescu (Die Csárdásfürstin), Ghita (Der Zwerg). Recently, she has been heard in Leipzig, Zurich and at the Salzburger Festspielen. She gave her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2013 as Ellen Orford (Peter Grimes) and has also sung Salome and Sieglinde.

Norbert Ernst | Aegisth

NORBERT ERNST studied in Wiener Neustadt under Gerd Fussi and in Vienna under KS Robert Holl. He also recieved important impulses through masterclasses with Kurt Equiluz and Walter Berry. He received his first engagement in 2002 as an ensemble member of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein –Düsseldorf, where he among others, gave a successful debut as David. Guest performances have led the young Austrian tenor to the Wiener Volksoper, Geneva, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, the Bay­erische Staatsoper, Monte Carlo, the Opéra National Paris, the Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam, and the Liceu in Barcelona. Since 2004, he receives regular invitations to the Bayreuther Festspielen. In 2013, he worked among others in a new production of the Ring des Nibelungen as Loge. He gave his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2008 as David. Since 2010, he is an ensemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper and has sung here, among others, Steuermann, Kudrjáš, Tamino, Elemér, Jack O’Brien, Triquet, Tanzmeister, Narraboth, Aegisth, Alfred, Jaquino, Andres and Loge. 

Ryan Speedo Green | Pfleger des Orest

Ryan Speedo Green comes from Suffolk (Virginia) in the USA, and studied at the Florida State University and the Hartt School of Music. He has won several prizes from singing competitions and recently completed the coveted Lindemann Young Artists Development Program of the New York Metropolitan Opera. In the 2013/2014 season, he sang the roles of Onkel Bonzo in Madama Butterfly and the Schließer in Tosca at the New York Met. In the years leading to that in the Met, he also sang in Mandarin in Turandot as well as in Parsifal. Further works in his repertoire include Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Don Profondo (Il viaggio a Reims), Commendatore (Don Giovanni), Colline (La Bohème), and Don Magnifico (La cenerentola). On the concert stage, Ryan Speedo Green has sung in Händels Messias, in Mozarts Requiem, in Beethovens 9. Symphonie, in Verdis Requiem, and in Mozarts Coronationmass. In the 2014/2015 season, he will be Rambo in Death of Klinghoffer in the New York Met. From September 2014, he will be an ensemblemember of the Wiener Staatsoper and sang here, among others,  Fouquier Tinville (Andrea Chénier), Mönch (Don Carlo), Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Pope (Lady Macbeth von Mzensk), Sparafucile (Rigoletto), Titurel, Angelotti (Tosca), König (Aida).

Zoryana Kushpler | Schleppträgerin

Zoryana Kushpler was born in Lviv (Ukraine). At the age of five she took piano lessons with her mother, later she changed to the violin. From 1993 on she studied vocal arts in her father´s class at the University of Music in Lviv. In 1998 she changed to the University of Music in Hamburg. Performances have led her for example to Zurich, Geneva, Venice, Milan, Florence, Hamburg, Berlin, London and to Bern, where she was member of the ensemble of the Stadttheater Bern from 2004 to 2006. There, she interpreted roles like Sesto (Giulio Cesare) or Preziosilla (Forza del destino). She sang Adelaide (Arabella) at the Oper Graz and Carmen, Giulietta (Contes d’Hoffmann), Maddalena (Rigoletto) and Prinz Orlofsky at the Volksoper.

She made her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2007 as Adelaide. Here, she also performed (selection) Polina and Daphnis (Pique Dame), Olga (Eugen Onegin), Giulietta (Les Contes d'Hoffmann), Fenena (Nabucco), Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), Ulrica (Un ballo in maschera), Prinz Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus) and Preziosilla (La forza del destino).

Roles at the Wiener Staatsoper 2013/ 2014: e.g. Smeton, Orlofsky, Lola, Marthe, Fenena.

Benedikt Kobel | Junger Diener

Benedikt Kobel comes from Vienna and studied at the Hochschule for Music and performing Arts there. Guest performances have led him to the Semperoper, to Leipzig, Cologne, Frankfurt, the Gärtnerplatztheater, the Zurich Opera, the Graz Oper, the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, the Arena di Verona and the Vienna Volksoper. In 1986, Benedikt Kobel gave his debut at the Vienna State Opera as 1st Gondoliere (La Gioconda). This was followed, among other, by Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Kunz Vogel­gesang (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Raffaele (Stiffelio), Narraboth (Salome), Steuermann (Fliegender Holländer), Malcolm (Macbeth), Don Curzio (Le nozze di Figaro), Valzacchi (Der Rosenkavalier), Henry (Die schweigsame Frau), Don Gaspar (La Favorite), Oloferno (Lucrezia Borgia), Spoletta (Tosca), Andres (Wozzeck), Dr. Blind (Die Fledermaus), Abdallo (Nabucco), Monostatos und 1st Priest (Zauberflöte), Goro (Madama Butterfly), Rodrigo (Otello), Tschaplitzki (Pique Dame), Jaquino (Fidelio), Ed­mondo (Manon Lescaut), Missail (Boris Godunow), Cajus (Falstaff) and Schmidt (Werther). 

Margarita Gritskova | 2. Magd

Margarita Gritskova was born in 1987 in St. Petersburg. Aside from singing, she also learned piano in her homwtown, and later studied in the St. Petersburg Conservatoire. She is a prizewinner of numerous competitions, among others the Luciano Pavarotti-Competiton in Modena and the Concurso Internacional de Canto Villa de Colmenar in Spain. In 2010, she was a finalist at the Operalia Competition. Margarita Gritskova washeard among others singing under the direction of Mariss Janson in St. Petersburg; as well as at the Festival de Ópera de Tenerife in Salome and Cherubino at the Sommerfestival in St. Moritz, as well as Rosina at the Hungarian Staatsoper and Olga at the Opera de Quebec. In 2009/2010, Margarita Gritskova was a member of the ensemble of the National Theatre Weimar, where she sang parts like Cherubino, Flora, Maddalena, Ottone, Bradamante, Marthe, Carmen and Olga. At the Wiener Staatsoper, where she is an ensemblemember, she made her debut in 2012 as Tebaldo (Don Carlo) and has also sung among others Fjodor, Cherubino (Japan-Guest performance of the Wiener Staatsoper), Dry­ade, Tisbe, Bersi, Rosina, Dorabella and Angelina.


Portrait Margarita Gritskova

Ulrike Helzel | 3. Magd

Mezzo-soprano Ulrike Helzel was born in Magdeburg and completed her vocal arts studies at the University of Music in Leipzig. She was member of the ensemble at the Deutsche Oper Berlin for many years, where she sang Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Fuchs in Das schlaue Füchslein, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Siébel in Gounod´s Faust, Orpheus in Orpheus und Euridice and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier.

Since autumn 2012 she is member of the ensemble at the Wiener Staatsoper. Since 2006 she appears as a guest at the Bayreuther Festspiele, first as Wellgunde in the Ring and since 2008 as Blumenmädchen and Knappe in Parsifal. Ulrike Helzel has appeared as a guest for example at the Theater Basel, the Komische Oper, the Semperoper (title role Carmen), the Nationaltheater Weimar, the Opernhaus Halle, the Opéra de Lyon, the Opéra La Monnaie Brüssel, the Bayerische Staatsoper München, the Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam, at the Festival de Canarias, at the Dresdner Musikfestspiele.

She made her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2011 and sang Wellgunde (Rheingold, Götterdämmerung), Zweite Norn (Götterdämmerung), Siegrune (Walküre) here.


Marcus Pelz | Alter Diener

MARCUS PELZ was born in Stuttgart, studied solo vocals, lied and oratorio, classical operetta as well as the fach Old Music at the Conservatory of Vienna and graduated from the opera school of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. First engagements at the Landestheater St. Pölten, the Wiener Kammeroper (1995-1997) and the Neue Oper Wien were the basis for his engagement at the Wiener Staatsoper (member of the ensemble since 1999). Guest engagements for example led him to the Teatro Avenida in Buenos Aires in the leading role of Wozzeck, and to the Maggio Musicale in Florence with the Rosenkavalier. His repertoire in the House on the Ring includes more than eighty parts, e.g. Hermann, Gregorio, Schaunard, Notar and Polizeikommissar, Kothner and Konrad Nachtigall, Sprecher and 2. Priester, Antonio, Phorbas, Angelotti, Donald, Gualtiero Raleigh, Alessio, Masetto, Haly, Johann, 1. Schäfer, Albert, Altgesell and Saretzki. His appearances in children´s operas on the roof of the Wiener Staatsoper are very popular among the young audience. 

Simina Ivan | Vertraute

Simina Ivan was born in Temesvar, Romania and completed a vocal degree at the University of Bukarest. She was supervised among others, by Magda Ianculescu, KS Ileana Cotru­bas, and in the last 18 years by KS Margarita Lilowa. Already during her studies, she sang numerous roles at the Bukarest Operetten Theatre and won several prizes at international competitions in Paris, Toulouse, Coburg, Nantes and Bukarest. From 1990 to 1994, she sang at the Romanian National Opera in Bukarest. In September 1994, she gave her debut at the Vienna Volksoper as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, where she also sang roles like Pamina, Marguerite, Ophélie, Leila, Norina and Gretel. In addition to her concert performances, she has also made guest appearances in opera houses in Hamburg, Dresden, Zurich, Berlin and London. In 2003, the Romanian president appointed her an officer of the Order of Meritul Cultural. In December 1994, she gave her debut at the house on the Ring as Olga in Fedora. Since then, roles like Oscar (Un ballo in maschera), Najade (Ariadne auf Naxos), Rosina, Musetta, Konstanze, Aminta, Adele and Rosalinde, Adina, Eudoxie, Antonia, Despina, Pamina and Lisa (La sonnam­bula) have followed. 

Caroline Wenborne | 4. Magd

CAROLINE WENBORNE was born in Sydney and studied vocal arts at the Conservatory in Sydney. She won numerous singing competitions and was a member of the opera studio Cologne in 2005/2006. Her repertoire comprises parts such as Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Antonia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Desdemona (Otello), Alice Ford (Falstaff) and Ru­salka. In 2006/2007 she was scholarship holder of the Opera Foundation Australia at the Wiener Staatsoper, where she debuted as Giannetta (L’elisir d’amore) in 2007. That same year she was awarded the Eberhard Wachter Medal. Since the season 2007/2008 Caroline Wenborne is a member of the ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper. She sang (exerpt) Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Javotte (Manon), Mascha and Chloë (Pique Dame), Gerhilde (Walküre), Freia (Das Rheingold), Gutrune and Dritte Norn (Götterdämmerung), Freia (Das Rheingold), Isotta (Die schweigsame Frau) here. Further engagements for example led the singer to the Victoria Opera Australia, where she sang Donna Anna.  


Donna Ellen | Aufseherin

DONNA ELLEN comes from Canada and studied singing at the Wilfrid Laurier University of her hometown. For two seasons, she sang at the Canada Opera Piccola under the care of Leopold Simoneau and Pierette Alarie, before she changed to the Opernstudio in Zurich. In1987, she became engaged with the Landestheater Linz, where she sang roles like the Queen of the Night, Blonde, and Zer­lina and sang in the premiere of Balduin Sulzers Proteus. Previous performances include among others, in Stuttgart, Geneva, Berlin, Bad Ischl, in the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus in Vienna. In 2004, she gave her debut at the Volksoper. Her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper, where she is an honorary ensemble member, was in 2003 as Helmwige. Since then, she has sang among others, Marzellina (Barbiere di Siviglia), Axinja (Lady Macbeth von Mzensk), Leitmetzerin (Rosenkavalier), Annina (Traviata), Curra (Forza del destino), Brünnhilde (Nibelungenring for children), Königin (Traumfresserchen), Berta (Pünktchen und Anton), Marcellina (Nozze di Figaro), Fekluša (Kátja Kabanová), Kar­tenaufschlägerin (Arabella), Aufseherin (Elektra), and Dirne (Aus einem Totenhaus), Giovanna (Rigoletto).  

Ildikó Raimondi | 5. Magd

KS Ildiko Raimondi was born in Arad, Rumania, where she began her music education and completed her vocal studies in Italy with Flaviano Labo and Carlo Bergonzi. She has performed in Dresden, Munich, Berlin, Valencia, Zurich, Helsinki as well as at Festivals in Salzburg, Edinburgh, Ludwigsburg, Bregenz and the Wiener Festwochen. Since 1991 she is member of the ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper. She made her debut here in November 1991 as Sophie (Rosenkavalier). After that she performed as Marzelline (Fidelio), Zdenka (Arabella), Pamina (Zauberflöte), Antonia (Contes d’Hoffmann), Micaela (Carmen), Susanna (Nozze di Figaro), Adele and Rosalinde (Fledermaus), Hanna Glawari (Lustige Witwe), Nedda (Pagliacci), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Mimi and Musetta (Bohème), Alice (Falstaff), Dame (Cardillac), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni). She performed in the gala concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of the reopening of the Wiener Staatsoper, as well as at guest appearances in Asia (2007), Japan (2008), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (2009). In 2004 she became Österreichische Kammersängerin.

Roles at Wiener Staatsoper 2014/2015: for example Rosalinde, 3. Norn, Gerhilde.

Background Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, and his wife Clytemnestra have four children: Iphigenia, Electra, Chrysothemis and Orestes. When the Greek fleet is ready to set sail for Troy, a calm keeps the ships in port. Agamemnon must sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to appease the goddess Artemis so that she will create favourable winds for his journey. Clytemnestra will never forgive her husband for this. During Agamemnon's absence fighting for Troy, Clytemnestra enters into a relationship with Aegisthus. When Agamemnon returns home, Clytemnestra and Aegisthus feign a joyous welcome. They then murder the defenceless man with an axe as he sits in his bath. After her father is murdered, Electra succeeds in bringing her young brother to safety. She herself nurses one thought: to avenge the murder. Plot Electra has dissociated herself from society and above all from Aegisthus and Clytemnestra; she lives in isolation, bound in her thoughts to Agamemnon. She unrelentingly nurtures her hate, counting on Orestes' return to avenge the murder. The five maid servants, supervised by the overseer, comment on Electra's behaviour: spiteful, pretentious, fearful. Only the youngest maid servant stands up for Electra and is chastened for doing so. Electra invokes Agamemnon and goes into raptures over her bloody vision. Chrysothemis interrupts Electra's monologue and warns her sister: Aegisthus and Clytemnestra are planning to incarcerate her in a tower. When Chrysothemis implies that she will come to terms with them in order to realize her desire to be a mother, Electra scornfully puts her in her place. Plagued by memories and anxiety dreams, the restless Clytemnestra tries to talk to Electra, hoping to find out from her what blood sacrifice or rites would bring her relief. Electra responds tantalizingly, enigmatically, cryptically, and frightens her mother with questions about Orestes. However, when Clytemnestra is brought news by her confidante, her dread gives way to an obvious sense of triumph. Electra is annoyed, until she learns the news from Chrysothemis – their brother Orestes is dead. Electra refuses to believe it, but must then give credence to the messenger's report. She decides to wreak vengeance herself, and determines that Chrysothemis should help her. With tenderness and outward affection, Electra tries to win her sister's support for her plan to murder Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. However, Chrysothemis evades her sister, who curses her. Now Electra is resolved to perform the deed herself. A stranger arrives, passing himself off as a messenger who has come to tell Clytemnestra of the death of Orestes. Electra's despair moves him to ask her name. Only then does he reveal that he is her brother – Orestes! Electra urges him to murder the couple to avenge his father, a deed Orestes pledges to carry out swiftly. Left alone, Elektra awaits further events ... Clytemnestra's death screams and the confusion of the maid servants assure her that revenge has in part been exacted. Aegisthus, fetched by the servants, wants to hear the news of Orestes' death himself. With flattering words, Electra guides him to the place where she knows the avenger to be, who kills him shortly thereafter. Consumed with joy that revenge has been exacted, Electra begins a last ecstatic dance ...