Magazine article Opera Canada

St. Paul

Magazine article Opera Canada

St. Paul

Article excerpt

Minnesota Opera's new production of Richard Strauss's Salome, featuring Russian soprano Mlada Khudoley in the title role, opened Apr. 10, with conductor Emmanuel Joel-Hornak using the reduced orchestration Strauss later provided. Staged and choreographed by David Lefkowich, with costumes by Jennifer Caprio and sets and lighting by Steve TenEyck, the production has an attractively polished and sleek look: classical columns and arches that stretch into infinity, along with vistas of oceans and clouds, and a surprising--and jarring--tableau at the start that imitates Da Vinci's The Last Supper, with crazy old Herod as Jesus Christ.

In vocal terms, Khudoley almost totally possessed the role, easily cutting through the thick orchestral textures, especially in the final scene. As for Jokanaan, Jason Howard--who, with his sculpted physique, made the prophet look more like Tarzan--sang his flowing utterances with rich, stentorian tone. Dennis Petersen's Herod, on the other hand, was not just excitingly sung, but was also the evening's strongest characterization: a depraved, superstitious, borderline psychotic whose frenzy and lust became barely manageable as the story unfolded (though it was hard to believe that Khudoley's silly Dance of the Seven Veils would satisfy him--or anyone else). …

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