Sunday, September 25, 2011

Salome in Opera National de Paris ...

During my last stay in Paris I went to Opera National de Paris at Bastille to watch the performance of Richard StraussSalome”. It was very interesting experience for many reasons.


Richard's Strauss music is that specific kind of music to which one could attach a label „German” — however, unlike for some other composers of the late romantic period and the tragic first half of XX century, Strauss's Germanic style is not frightening... Maybe it is reflection of his attitude do Nazism....

The another reason was in, let me express it so, „lingual” aspect of the performance. It was played in the heart of France by mostly French singers ... in German !!!
As I humbly admit to know not both these beautiful languages :-) I decided to focus completely on the music, dance and specific body language of the Opera. The result was astonishing!
First and foremost, is was very easy for me to follow the action and the turns of the plot (I did not read the libretto before). Second, the interpretation of the Opera without clear perception of its libretto is surprising!

Contrary to almost all typical interpretations — I did not find Salome (beautifully played by beautiful German Angela Denoke) as an epitome of a kind of „femme fatale”! Of course, she was depicted as strange and almost perverse women, but what Denoke tried, and to me, succeeded in, was to show that her perverseness was somehow provoked by her step-father, Herod, who driven by his lust and desire to her body, somehow accepts her demands, when is satisfied by her sensual dance (and, needless to say, the Dance of Seven Veils was danced fantastic by Denoke). Herod was depicted as a cowardly, perverse old man, who, on the surface tries to dissuade her daughter from the crime, but in fact does what she wants — just because he first got what he wanted ...

So in some sense, not understanding the words, I found this performance of Salome quite different in its meaning. Less focused on the proverbial fatality of a woman, more on false meekness and cowardliness and lust of a man... When I read libretto of the Opera the day after - I was surprised by the text painting a bit different picture of the story ...

Written in Zurich, Sunday, September 25, 2011

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