[Met Performance] CID:323540
Salome {135} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/7/1996.

(Debuts: Charlotte Hellekant, Dean Elzinga, LeRoi Freeman, Lucinda Childs
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 7, 1996


SALOME {135}
R. Strauss-O. Wilde/Lachmann

Salome..................Catherine Malfitano
Herod...................Kenneth Riegel
Herodias................Hanna Schwarz
Jochanaan...............Bernd Weikl
Narraboth...............Mark (W.) Baker
Page....................Charlotte Hellekant [Debut]
Jew.....................Philip Creech
Jew.....................Dean Elzinga [Debut]
Jew.....................Bernard Fitch
Jew.....................Anthony Laciura
Jew.....................John Horton Murray
Nazarene................John Fiorito
Nazarene................Jeffrey Wells
Soldier.................Raymond Aceto
Soldier.................James Courtney
Cappadocian.............LeRoy Lehr
Slave...................Tony Stevenson
Executioner.............LeRoi Freeman [Debut]

Conductor...............Donald Runnicles

Production..............Nikolaus Lehnhoff
Designer................Jürgen Rose
Lighting designer.......Gil Wechsler
Choreographer...........Lucinda Childs [Debut]

Salome received eight performances this season.

Review of Shirley Fleming in the Post

Cruel Salome's chilly strip-tease

It is five years since the unappetizing characters of Richard Strauss' "Salome" were last on the Met stage, but they were back in force on Thursday, occupying the dank black basement of Nikolaus Lehnhoff's modern-day set, surrounded by their leather-clad, Nazi-like retainers and by their dozens of dinner guests in peculiar varieties of costume.

Catherine Malfitano took the title role for the first time here, and gave it plenty of vocal power and dramatic venom, if not the ultimate touch of feline depravity that some past Salomes have exhibited. Strauss' most cruel stroke - that 15 minutes of the "Dance of the Seven Veils" that must be the nightmare of many a soprano (and sometimes of an audience as well) - got by without embarrassment (Malfitano is light on her feet), in new choreography by Lucinda Childs. It was not a particularly sensual affair and no clothes were shed until the abrupt end, when Malfitano somewhat awkwardly takes off her dress to reveal a very conservative white slip.

Bernd Weikl came up out of the cistern with appropriate weight and presence, and sang Jochanaan's doom-laden pronouncements with fine authority. Kenneth Riegel, as Herod, had a bad night: after a strong start, with plenty of incisive vocal thrust, his voice simply deserted him following the dance and he made it through the rest of the evening mostly mouthing the lines.

Mark Baker, as Narraboth, got the opera off to a good and resonant start, and one was sorry when he did away with himself. Hanna Schwarz, looking like the matriarch of the Charles Addams family, was a striking Herodias and vocally on the mark. Donald Runnicles conducted a vivid, supercharged performance that also gave due attention to Strauss' quiet, lithe woodwind writing.



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