Opera & Musical Theater

The Bloody Tale Of Elektra

A conversation with soprano Tamara Wilson and a preview of her role in Richard Strauss’ Elektra, currently in production at Houston Grand Opera.

The early twentieth century was marked by some incredible changes, particularly in the world of the arts. Music up to that point had largely followed the same basic conventions, even with differing styles between periods like the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras. But come the turn of the century, composers were becoming significantly more daring and challenging their audiences with new sounds. 

One such work that stands out among this age of change is Richard Strauss’ intense, one-act opera Elektra, currently showing at Houston Grand Opera. The story is a dark one, following the vengeful Elektra after her father Agamemnon is murdered and she seeks retribution for those responsible. Her sister Chrysothemis, portrayed by soprano Tamara Wilson, is meek and nearly the complete opposite of Elektra. You can hear more about the story and how Tamara approaches her character in the sound portrait above.

Tamara also shared a little about herself as a singer and her experiences as a Houston Grand Opera Studio alumna.

On when she first began singing:

I was always kind of a ham and a performer, so probably since I was born…

On when she first became invested in her career:

That year I decided to do the [Metropolitan Opera] competition, and it was on a whim… I had no desire to actually win it or anything. I was like, you know, I’ll just try…

On an embarrassing moment on stage:

…and I basically just held it in my arms and ran off stage skirtless right before the Queen and the knights’ huge aria.

And on her time with the HGO Studio:

[Joyce DiDonato] was very gracious, and we actually talked a lot that first year, and she told me a lot about how singer’s careers work and how people should act in the business and what they really act like in the business…

You can hear the full interview with Tamara below, where we also discuss her favorite music outside of opera and advice she gives to young would-be opera singers:

Elektra runs at Houston Grand Opera Saturday, January 27th; Wednesday, January 31st; and Friday, February 2nd, all at 7:30 PM at the Resilience Theater in the George R. Brown Convention Center.

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