Friday, 28 October 2011
DVD: Mattila Met Salome
Jürgen Flimm´s extraordinarily successful Salome production takes place a fictional totalitarian environment on the verge of a desert. The technical wood and glass constructions of the sets leading to Jochanaan´s underearthly prison resembles the grotesque and meaningless world of Franz Kafka and this half-desert setting complete with orthodox Jews and semi-naked executioners resonates extraordinarily well with the eeriness and perversion of the piece.
When the production opened in 2003, Karita Mattila scored one of the biggest successes of the past decades at the Met as Salome.
Karita Mattila´s Salome is a spoiled child who gradually slips into insanity. In the end you cannot help feeling sorry for this sick girl, who has been raving around the sets increasingly drunk and desperate for attention. The childlike naivity of the character fits Karita Mattila´s general mix of naive and shy stage appearance uncannily well, probably a major contributing factor to her success in this role. I cannot remember having seen such a tour de force performance and with such committed acting and emotional nakedness on stage. Vocally, she hits all the notes despite of the staging requiring her to assume the most impossible physical positions. However, being around 50 years, and her voice is beginning to show strain and I believe she has retired the role from her repertoire.
As expected, the cameras closed in on Herodes face at the end of the Dance of the Seven Veils instead of filming the naked Karita Mattila on stage (as she indeed was at the Met). However, this turned out to be entirely unimportant - the emotional nakedness of her Salome was simply devastating and is without doubt one of the great operatic performances of the past decades. Though, I´d expect it to have been even better in 2003.
The rest of the cast was generally fine, Juha Uusitalo the traditional wild Jochanaan in his company debut,
Kim Begley a rather dry-voiced, but convincing Herodes, and Ildikó Komlosi a somewhat better-than-usual looking Herodias.
Patrick Summers didn´t ruin it in the pit, however some intensity and perhaps a couple of ideas would not have been way off target.
The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):
Karita Mattila: 5
Juha Uusitalo: 3-4
Kim Begley: 3
Ildiko Komlosi: 4
Jürgen Flimm´s production: 4
Patrick Summers: 3
Overall impression: 4