Elektra - Opera in Concert Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra Cultural Centre Concert Hall Reviewed: September 15 After last year's success with Richard Strauss' Salome, the Hong Kong Philharmonic started its new season with a concert version of Elektra, another one-act opera by Strauss. The first performance, on Thursday, was astounding, demonstrating the orchestra's progress under Edo de Waart's artistic directorship. In the opera, adapted from Sophocles' tragedy, Elektra and her brother, Orest, avenge the murder of their father, Agamemnon, by their mother, Klytaemnestra, and her lover, Aegisth. It's a stark, innovative work. So bent on vengeance is Elektra that, on hearing of Klytaemnestra and Aegisth's deaths, she also dies, after an eerily euphoric dance, with music to match. Susan Bullock (left), who played Salome last year, sang the fiendishly difficult title role with confidence. Klytaemnestra doesn't appear until near the middle of the opera, but in an important duet with Elektra that reveals her fear of retribution. Welsh soprano Gwyneth Jones poured forth 40 years of experience into the role, creating a larger-than-life figure oppressed by demons. Jones' singing revealed some ageing, but her interpretation ignited a frisson with Bullock and de Waart. De Waart mastered the score and the 100-strong orchestra with intelligence and clear rhythmic drive, pacing the explosive dramatic arguments with consummate skill. Of the other performers, Geraldine McGreevy's Chrysothemis (Elektra's sister) was suitably meek and good-natured, while Chris Merritt apparently enjoyed playing a clownish Aegisth. All in all, an auspicious start to the new season.