Salome

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unknownI very rarely go to the opera, so “Salome” at the Metropolitan Opera was a great treat.

I saw a 2003 reading of Oscar Wilde’s play on Broadway, so I knew the story of Salome’s boredom with her life in general, which fuels her insatiable desires. This production was a startling reminder of the madness and cruelty in her family.

Standing in for Patricia Racette, who was ill, was Kirsten Chambers, making her Met Opera debut. And what a debut! Her command of the role was striking, both vocally and with her presence. She was a good match for a forceful Gerhard Siegel, as Herod.

But I did not understand why it was set in the 1930s, as that had little bearing on the story. The elevator that carried Johanaan up and down from his cell was a good idea, if not a bit clunky in its function.

The growing chorus of angels of death high up on the sand dunes added even more tension to the climax, and effectively mimicked Salome’s heavy black robes.

Johannes Debus of the Canadian Opera conducted the excellent Met Orchestra.

Julia Benedict

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