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“We have to re-create the thrill of the myth,” wrote Hugo von Hofmannsthal in 1903, "and let shadows rise again from those who have shed blood.” Hofmannsthal's tragedy Elektra premiered in 1903 and was based on the ancient Greek story previously written by Sophocles. Hofmannsthal's slightly reinterpreted play incorporated modern techniques so as to display the groundbreaking psychological studies shared by Sigmund Freud and Josef Breuer. With Richard Strauss as the composer, who at the time still enjoyed a reputation as a thrilling pioneer, the “one-act tragedy” was created on the basis of this theatrical technique. Having premiered in 1909, this marked the beginning of the long-standing collaboration between the two artists. The story portrays Elektra’s identity as one that is shattered by the trauma of the murder of her father, Agamemnon. She becomes manic in recounting a memory of how her father was murdered and cannot stop herself from compulsively thinking about this act. To further emphasize the murder, Hans Schavernoch’s stage design borrows from Harry Kupfer's haunting 1989 production and displays an oversized statue of the father on stage, dominating the story that unfolds below: decapitated but not entirely toppled, with a globe resting under foot. Harry Kupfer created this destructive image while providing artistic direction to the manipulated Elektra and all additional cast-members by having each stretch out their artistic roles, a constellation of figures, avoiding a stencil-like categorization of good and evil, and showing the desperation, loneliness and drive of the perpetrators. Taking over the 2020-21 season, Franz Welser-Möst is back at the conductor's podium of the Vienna State Opera for the first time since 2014.