Friday, November 20, 2009

Fucked Up Moments In Opera #1: Salome by Richard Strauss

Salome, stepdaughter of Herod, recently did the Dance of the Seven Veils for her stepfather, which depending on the fitness of the star generally makes many in the audiences pray to God for something or nothing to be under the Seventh Veil. Many sopranos have in fact opted to have nothing under and pictures from the opera house have found their way around the internet.

As a reward for her dancing, Herod grants her one wish in which she may ask of him anything she wants. Salome had recently begun to lust after Herod's prize prisoner, John the Baptist. But the Baptist rebuffs her advances by calling her the 'Accursed Whore of Babylon.' And so Salome replies that she wants the severed head of John the Baptist, to which Herod complies and has brought to her on a silver platter. Salome proceeds to get it on with the severed head in full view of the Judean court. Herod is so disgusted by the sight that he orders her killed immediately. And thus ends what is still one of the most fucked up scenes in the history of art.

Theresa Stratas sings the titular role (extraordinarily well) and is accompanied by the Vienna Philharmonic and master Straussian Karl Bohm.

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