7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Starts off badly but what a finish!,
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This review is from: Richard Strauss: Salome (Arthaus: 108037) [Blu-ray]  [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Having given the big thumbs down to the lamentable Göring Reichspalatz setting by McVicar, I thought at first we were in for more of the same, updated perhaps to a Ceausescu villa in Bucharest or more likely an earthquake wrecked palace of the Albanian tyrant Enver Hoxha! The opening scene and Salome's performance with squally highs and a definite wobble gave me bad feelings but this time the executioner had a jock! When Doris Soffel and then Kim Begley appeared however things changed dramatically. It hardly seemed like the same production. I have always hankered after Astrid Varnay as Herodias and fantastic as she was, Soffel turns on what must be the Herodias of all time. Herod is not far behind and inspired by them and the excellent band of Jews and Nazarenes, Salome moves up several gears and we get an absolutely thrilling second half with one of the most original dances and endings I have ever seen. For a lady into her fifties Angela Denoke does pretty well and certainly has kept herself in good shape. Her voice is not the best but all-in-all her performance was more than acceptable. Alan Held as Jokanaan sang brilliantly but I felt his make-up and acting was misdirected. There are no extras and no curtain calls, the right decision for this opera. I doubt I will watch my McVicar disc again but depite some reservations over the setting and Angela Denoke, this is a performance that deserves many repeats. It could have been better with a different staging and perhaps a different Salome but as of today this is by far the best overall Salome available on disc.
I am a traditionalist and that explains my reservations over the opening but when we got to the second half, nothing mattered anymore and I was bowled over by the performance.