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Subject: 'Salome' with Racette at the Met / FT review
From: janosG <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:janosG <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 6 Dec 2016 08:48:59 -0800

text/plain (59 lines)

Metropolitan Opera, New York

	Strauss' "Salome" came back to the Met on Monday, unfortunately in
Jürgen Flimm's silly production, introduced back in 2004. Santo Loquasto's
incongruously modern costumes added nothing to narrative comprehension, and
his awkward set remained an obstacle course for the agitated participants.
Weird, winged, black-robed figures observed the show silently from a
side-stage mountain, and John the Baptist used a clunky yet convenient
elevator to ascend from his cistern. Ask not why.

	A new cast did what it could under the circumstances, and the great
Met orchestra, led by Johannes Debus of the Canadian Opera, made a mighty if
sometimes raucous noise. Subtle instrumental nuances proved scarce.

	Still, one could savour vital individual compensations. The evening
belonged, rightly, to Patricia Racette, who portrayed the princess of Judea
in place of Catherine Naglestad, reportedly unwell in Europe. Racette, now
51, rose to the challenge with gutsy abandon, singing with almost unflagging
power and inflecting the text with illuminating stresses. She maneuvered the
cluttered stage with grace, and, yes, bared all for a brief moment as she
discarded her seventh veil.	

	Željko Lučić, her forceful Jochanaan, sounded a bit gruff when
onstage and suffered bad miking when off. Despite modest vocal means, Kang
Wang exuded sympathy as the lovesick Narraboth, and Nancy Fabiola Herrera
flounced neatly as a giddy Herodias.

	Most remarkable was Gerhard Siegel, who exulted in the desperate
pomposity of Herod. A uniquely versatile artist, he dominated the stage with
contradictory qualifications: the persona of a busy buffo and the tone of an
authentic Heldentenor. It is intriguing, if not surprising, to read in the
programme booklet that his +Ring+ repertory includes both the heroic
Siegfried and the pathetic Mime.
	Personal nostalgia: In the bad old days, the Met felt Straus'
100-minute depiction of love, horror and climactic lust was insufficient for
a night at the opera. While still a precocious youth, this incipient
aficionado witnessed "Salome" for the first time, in Boston, coupled with
Puccini's comical "Gianni Schicchi." Strange billfellows indeed.


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