• British soprano Catherine Foster makes an anticipated return to the UK stage
  • Susan Bullock, Allison Oakes and Andreas Bauer Kanabas in leading roles


Kirill Karabits, the Chief Conductor of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, has assembled some of the most celebrated names in opera to present a concert staging of R Strauss’ mighty work, Elektra, this spring.

Scored for 16 soloists, chorus and large symphony orchestra, the performances will take place at Lighthouse, Poole (Wed 18 Mar) and Symphony Hall, Birmingham (Sat 21 Mar).

The opera charts the story of a central character, Elektra, and the cycle of revenge killings that motivate her highly-dysfunctional family. Based on a Greek myth R Strauss’ interpretation is based on a revision influenced by early 20th century psychology.

British soprano Catherine Foster has enjoyed several years of ovations for her performances of Brünnhilde at the nucleus of dramatic opera, the Bayreuth Festival. A former NHS midwife her career has been as extraordinarily dramatic as the roles she sings; these performances of Elektra will mark her return to the UK stage after a break of 20 years.

Foster says, “I’m absolutely thrilled to have been invited by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to sing, not only a favourite role of mine, on returning to the UK, but combining that with the city and stunning Symphony Hall where it all began for me as a BMus student at the Royal Birmingham conservatoire makes this something very special.”

The cast of soloists features some of the most sought-after names in opera. Soprano Susan Bullock established her name with performances of Elektra at La Scala, Milan and the Metropolitan Opera, New York; she will sing the role of Klytämnestra. Allison Oakes makes her UK operatic debut; she has given recent performances at the Bayreuth Festival, the Metropolitan Opera and with the Berlin Philharmonie. German bass Andreas Bauer Kanabas has appeared this season at the Royal Opera House, London and in Frankfurt Opera; his rich bass voice has won him a global following. Director Geertje Boeden has directed recent productions with Deutsches Nationaltheater and Staatskapelle Weimar. Vocal students from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Trinity Laban Conservatoire will form the Chorus.

Kirill Karabits brings a crop of the world’s leading operatic talent to Poole and Birmingham

[From L-R: Kirill Karabits, Catherine Foster, Andreas Bauer Kanabas]

Kirill Karabits says of the project, “In order to perform this complex and visceral score you need an orchestra at the top of its game, and I have no doubt that the BSO will be able to deliver. After our huge success with Salome two years ago, Elektra will be a highlight of the season!”

Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive of the BSO, will present a pre-concert talk ahead of the Birmingham performance. He says, “The casting of these outstanding and experienced singers, each singing their particular roles in the UK for the first time demonstrates the high ambition of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to perform Elektra at the very highest level. The BSO is proud that these performances of Elektra will be the first ever given at Lighthouse, Poole in its 40 years and Symphony Hall Birmingham in the 29 years since it opened.”

The performances are made possible with support from the BSO Elektra Syndicate.

Kirill Karabits conducts Richard Strauss’ Elektra in Poole (18 Mar) and Birmingham (21 Mar). For tickets and further details visit bsolive.com


Click here for Lighthouse, Poole event details.

Click here for Symphony Hall, Birmingham event details.