The fiendishly difficult title role of Elektra demands an exceptional dramatic soprano, and Victorian Opera found her in Catherine Foster. The British singer, whose triumphs include Brünnhilde in the Bayreuth Festival’s 2013-2019 centenary Ring Cycle, finally made her Australian debut in Richard Strauss’ take on Greek tragedy – but only in concert, and for just one scintillating performance. The excellence of the supporting cast and orchestra added to the sense that this was a triumph but also a tragedy for a city crying out for big operatic experiences.

Catherine Foster

Catherine Foster, Elektra, Victorian Opera, 2022. Photo Charlie Kinross

Premiering in Dresden in 1909, Elektra was adapted from Sophocles via a contemporary play by the opera’s librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It focuses on the ostracised title character, obsessed with vengeance for her father, Agamemnon, who was murdered by her mother, Klytemnestra. Elektra’s sister, Chrysothemis, though sympathetic, yearns for life’s joys rather than revenge. The return of their exiled brother, Orest, soon brings this family feud to its bloody conclusion.

Plenty of this story’s detail is left to the imagination...