‘Hooligans’ at Vienna Elektra, boos for Berlin Parsifal

‘Hooligans’ at Vienna Elektra, boos for Berlin Parsifal


norman lebrecht

March 30, 2015

The weekend’s big openings were greeted with all the maturity we have come to expect from elements in the opera audience of Vienna and Berlin, divided as they are between traditionalists and progressives.

There were cries of ‘hooligan’ at the Vienna State Opera’s new production of Elektra, director Uwe Eric Laufenberg.

vienna Elektra_75779_Bankl-Ernst-Mord-im-Pater-Noster1

It opened with a group of young women naked in the shower, spattered with blood, and their maids behaving like concentration camp guards (original, huh?)

Berlin’s Parsifal, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, directed by  Dmitri Tcherniakov, was likewise over-endowed with sexual imagery and hints of incest.

berlin parsifal

Not to mention men with beards.

berlin parsifal2

press photos from Vienna and Berlin state operas


  • John Borstlap says:

    Especially the beards are quite shocking.

  • DLowe says:

    Snobbish, Norman. And not everyone is “traditional” v “progressive”. Audiences have every right to boo at a ridiculous production. I certainly would at that appalling description you gave of the Elektra.

  • Gonout Backson says:

    The photo looks like the wedding scene from Fiddler on the Roof.

  • Stephen says:

    Not having seen the “Electra”, I’m not really in a position to judge but remembering how the strings slither thickly when Aegisthus is murdered and how the whole opera is violent and bloodthirsty and sexual in the extreme the Vienna production would seem to be perfectly apt.