Opera Review: Salome

Salome is not like those gay Italian (soap) operas, nor those dramatic Wagnerian pieces. A short 1 hour and 40 minutes, this Biblical tragedy told in a Modern way has a minimalist score that evokes a single consciousness, Salome’s. Salome dances for Herod to obtain Joachanon’s head on a silver platter.
Salome as a character really came through in this production, as the soprano Karita Mattila infused her gesture with a childish impatience and a spoiled teenager’s demanding attitude. Altogether, an interesting and odd piece, maybe a bit limited in scope. It becomes whatever the soprano can make of it, most likely. An fascinating story psycholigically and one containing great extremes, it lends itself to opera.
Let me just say for my part–I had been up since 5 AM. I wanted to listen to every second, but–to the amusement of my boyfriend–I did not catch some of the middle. I was, however, completely awake when Salome was singing to the head. That part held some of the most beautiful moments, if a little twisted due to the perversity of the plot. Overall, Wilde would have appreciated the modern and functional stage design.


  • The black-winged creatures on the far right of the stage were a little hokey.
  • Opera singers are not burlesque dancers. Although I imagine that Mattila’s young and energetic performance would bedazzle most, and the flash of full nudity was nicely done, it was the clumsiest striptease I’ve ever seen. The only one I’ve ever seen to Strauss though.
  • The Dance of the Seven Veils is not a misnomer. Use veils!
  • The end, where Herod orders Salome’s execution, was underwhelming. I was hoping she would be rushed by the black monkey creatures, like in The Wizard of Oz.

Overall, I love going to the Met. It feels like such an event every time. I liked, but did not love, Salome.

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