Sunday, 23 November 2008

Paris: The 2003 Salome with Karita Mattila

Salome. Paris Bastille Opera 2003. Director: Lev Dodin. Cast: Karita Mattila (Salome), Falk Struckmann (Jochanaan), Chris Meritt (Herodes), Anja Silja (Herodias), William Burden (Narraboth). Conductor: James Conlon.

As it seems uncertain whether the Metropolitan Opera will release Karita Mattila´s recent Salome on DVD, what about releasing the 2003 Paris Bastille Opera production, the only other production in which Karita Mattila has sung Salome, and the production in which she made her role debut?

The production is certainly stylish, though perhaps not as inventive as Jürgen Flimm´s, which some may undoubtedly find an advantage. Admittedly, Lev Dodin doesn´t seem to contribute an excessive numbers of ideas to this Salome: The single set is pictured above and consists of a blue-yellow-reddish courtyard with a sideways moving moon in the background and Jochanaan located in a floor-level cage, sliding in and out of view.

Any drama in this production thus relies on the protagonist and needless to say Karita Mattila did not disappoint, with captivating acting on par with her MET performances and arguably in better vocal shape, though she is clearly approaching her vocal limit. And she does undress as well, except for a transparent black top..

Basically a one-woman show, however neither of the accompanying artistst (particularly Falk Struckmann in rather fine shape and Anja Silja with her usual presence) disappointed. And James Conlon presented a much more interesting reading of the score than any of the recent MET Salome conductors (Patrick Sumners and Valery Gergiev).

Karita Mattila - confrontation with Jochanaan:

Karita Mattila - final scene:

Posted by Operalou on YouTube

The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):

Karita Mattila: 5
Falk Struckmann: 4
Anja Silja: 4
Chris Merritt: 4

Lev Dodin´s production: 4

James Conlon: 4

Overall impression: 4-5

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