I may prefer Strauss' Salome, but Herodiade by Massenet, while not quite as good as Manon and Werther, is still a compelling opera with wonderful music. While the lighting is too dark at times, this is a great production from Liceu, Barcelona. The costume and set design are appropriately regal, while the orchestral playing is stirring yet allows the nuances of the score to come out and the conducting never rushes or drags. The staging bursts with passion and poignancy, the final scene is very edge-of-your-seat stuff. The performances are superb. Montserrat Caballe may not be at her very best, but her beautiful tone, musicality and sensitivity to music are still exceptional and she is very successful in conveying Salome's rage in the final scene. Jose Carreras is equally wonderful, his Jean is very compelling and moving, his voice is still beautiful, his singing is very musical and exquisitely phrased and he for me has the best French diction of the cast. Dunja Vejzović is entrancingly beautiful and magnetically icy in the title role of Herodiade, and shows a rich and beautifully produced mezzo-soprano voice. Juan Pons is perhaps the least effective dramatically of the leads, but he is still convincing and he has a lot of power in his vocal production, not as blustery or heavy on the vibrato as it would be later on. All in all, very well done production and worth seeing for the leads. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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