‘Salome’ at the Israel Opera
Murder. Lust. Incest. Prophecy. Savagery. What more could anyone want? It’s all there in Salome by Richard Strauss at the Israel Opera from January 8 to 24 in a wholly new cutting-edge Israeli production directed by Itay Tiran.
Tyrannical Herod (tenors Chris Merrit, Hubert Francis) lusts after the luscious Salome (sopranos Elisabeth Strid, Meyrav Barnea), who lusts after the imprisoned prophet Jokanaan – aka John the Baptist (baritones Danile Sumegi, Sebastian Holecek), who rejects her. When Herod promises Salome anything if she will dance for him, she dances the erotic “Dance of the Seven Veils,” requesting in return – to the delight of her mother Herodias (sopranos Edna Prochnik, Edit Zamir), the head of John. She gets it, caresses, kisses it – and pays the price.
Strauss based his opera on the play by Oscar Wilde, who took the bare bones of the story from the Christian Bible. Both play and opera were censored for years as being too shocking. Indeed, the Wild play was given in the UK only in 1934.
Apart from Tiran, the production team includes set desiger Eran Atzmon and video art designer Yoav Cohen. On the poster, a woman holds a huge sunflower behind her back. Intriguing, no?