Oscar Wilde's scandalous play set to equally outrageous music by Richard Strauss. It caused riots when it opened but has become one of the most-often performed operas around the world.
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Karita Mattila ...
Juha Uusitalo ...
Kim Begley ...
Ildikó Komlósi ...
Joseph Kaiser ...
Lucy Schaufer ...
Page
...
Jew
Mark Showalter ...
Jew
Adam Klein ...
Jew
John Easterlin ...
Jew
James Courtney ...
Jew
Morris Robinson ...
Nazarene
Donovan Singletary ...
Nazarene
Keith Miller ...
Soldier
Richard Bernstein ...
Soldier
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Storyline

Bubbie's Seder was never like this: Herod's wife is already drunk, so he asks his step-daughter Salome for a lap-dance. She'd rather kiss John the Baptist on the mouth, but all he does is shout Bible verses at her, which is really annoying. One of Herod's guards is crazy in love with Salome and gets so jealous, he just up and kills himself right there. In the background, some Jewish scholars argue about the Talmud, but Herod insists on that lap-dance. Salome plays along if it means she can get that kiss, and before you can say "Dayenu" or "silver platter," she ruins Seder for everyone. The whole thing is just sick, sick, sick, and is set to some of the most thrilling, luscious music you ever heard. Written by dnitzer

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classical | See All (1) »

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Release Date:

11 October 2008 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
Magnificent! Wonderful
8 September 2009 | by (Birmingham, England) – See all my reviews

Stage director Jürgen Flimm gives us an art deco Salome set, maybe, in 1930s Germany about 30 years after Richard Strauss's opera was composed. Both sets and costumes are heavily influenced by the paintings of Gustav Klimt. To this sumptuous setting is added, rather incongruously, a cistern or well at one side of the stage topped by a construction of planks and scaffolding.

Salome is sung by Karita Mattila who is perhaps the wrong side of 40 to be singing the role of a teenage girl. Mattila throws everything into this role to convince us that she is a maddeningly irritating, naughty little girl. But her voice is something else in a huge role that demands an almost unbearable intensity of singing throughout the opera's 100 minute length. In particular, the final scene as she rolls around the stage deliriously kissing the head of John the Babtist is one of unbridled savagery and a tour de force for the Finnish soprano. I am not generally in favour of standing ovations but, at the end, as Mattila appears alone in front of the curtain, it seems entirely natural that an astounded audience rise to their feet in one movement.

Mattila is ably supported by Kim Begley's lecherous Herod, Ildiko Komlosi's well-characterised Heroditas and Juha Uusitalo's sonorous Jochanaan. Uusitalo has to be sonorous because much of his role is sung from the bottom of a cistern.

Strauss's music for the dance of the seven veils is sumptuously erotic but Mattila performs the dance as a modern transvestite strip routine. She grinds her buttocks into the crotch of one of the spectators. Two other spectators remove her trousers with their teeth. At the end she apparently flashes her breasts at Herod but we only see Herod's reaction shot as he exclaims: "Magnificent! Wonderful!" Now, I've no particular desire to see Ms Mattila naked but I think that we at home should see the performance as it was viewed by the audience at the Met. If it is good enough for the sophisticates of New York, it is good enough for the citizens of Birmingham Alabama and Birmingham England


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