Based on the play by Oscar Wilde, Strauss’ 1905 opera about the spurned biblical seductress, Salome and her obsession for John the Baptist, unleashed itself at the LA Opera on Saturday.
Soprano Patricia Racette as the namesake troublemaker, delivered a powerful and more mature incarnation of Salome that left the audience enthralled and on their feet for an extended ovation. John the Baptist is played by beefy, Icelandic baritone, Tómas Tómasson, making Salome’s fixation more believable, and Gabriele Schnaut as Salome’s mother, Herodias is delightfully evil. The set design is sparse, but appropriately morbid and dramatic, imbuing a sense of dread as a splash of red continues to sear across the cloudy sky as the drama unfolds.
“Salome created a sensation here in 1986, playing an important early role in bringing LA Opera to international attention,” said Placido Domingo. “This now-iconic production was subsequently revived here in 1986, 1989 and 1998, and it has been seen throughout the United States and Europe. For this season’s revival, with an all-new, world-class cast, we have refurbished John Bury’s original sets for a fresh look at this modern classic, with new costumes by Sara Jean Tosetti, new choreography by Peggy Hickey and a new director, David Paul.”
At just one hour and forty-minutes, the steamy production is a winner not only for opera fans, but especially for newbies who will easily relate to the eternal themes of unrequited love (or is it lust?) and revenge.
Salome runs through March 19th at the LA Opera. Find tickets here.