Saturday morning I spent an engrossed two hours at the Century Cinemas 16 watching and listening to the Metropolitan Opera Live HD broadcast of Salome, starring Karita Mattila in the title role. I take first-rate singing voices as a given with the Met; she could also act and dance. She had extraordinary control of her facial expressions, from crafty satisfaction as she makes Herod swear that he will “give her anything” to the positively ugly look she assumes when Johanaan snubs her. I wouldn’t have believed that anyone could snarl and sing that way at the same time. No matter how good a seat you might have had at Lincoln Center, the cameraman’s close ups gave me a better one!

For me, the surreal staging was very effective. The costumes were sort of strange: most of the minor characters seemed appropriate to the historical period, but Herod and his court were all in modern formal attire. Salome’s shimmering silver evening gown seemed to fit her personality. About her famous dance: it would not be allowed at the half-time show at the Superbowl. Watching her, I was reminded of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes oft-quoted remark: “Ah, to be seventy again.”

It will be broadcast once more in the MetHD Encore series Wednesday evening, October 22. You can buy a ticket in advance by going to fandango (a popup menu near the top will let you look for a different theatre). If I didn’t already have a commitment that night, I’d be strongly tempted to go again.

For a complete list of the 9 remaining Live broadcasts, go to the MetHD events page and scroll down. Encore presentations will follow on a Wednesday evening, usually 11 days later.

I tentatively plan to go to all of the LIVE ones. If I’m impressed (one way or another) would you like me to tell you my impressions before the ENCORE plays?

Or have I already told you more than you want to hear? Let me know.

– – Philip


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