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Strauss: Salome (Metropolitan Opera) [DVD] 
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Patrick Summers conducts the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for this live performance of Strauss's opera. Soprano Karita Mattila plays the title role with tenor Kim Begley as Herod, mezzo-soprano Ildikó Komlósi as Herodias and baritone Juha Uusitalo as Jochanaan.
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Then Mattila started singing and I was engrossed, she is to quote "absolutely fabulous" in this role. Incidently she cannot dance, but makes a valiant effort.
Begley as Herod is probably the best that I have heard in this role, and he acts the superbly, also Kaiser as Narraboth has a voice worthy of note. I am afraid that Komlosi as Herodias confuses shouting with singing as she shrieks her annoyance at almost everything, this helped with the four stars. Other roles are perfectly adequate, if not outstanding. This is worth adding to your collection for the performance of Mattila alone.
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If there is an earlier taping extant with the release of this later revival it is unlikely that the 2004 edition will see the light of day--a pity. I can only echo most of what Ivy Lin has already written. The camera is cruel in the close ups of Mattila. In the house this probably would not be a problem, but in HD it does no favors for the diva. She has retained her figure and is able to wear a dress that would not look out of place in a thirties movie. Vocally four years have robbed the voice of much of the freshness that was evident in 2004 and her low notes are almost growled.
The rest of the cast surely does not represent a major house at its best. The Jochannan, Juha Uusutalo, sounded underpowered and parched whether from the cistern (I assume electronic assistance was used) or on stage. Neither did he command the sort of charisma physically that one associates with this role. Herod has frequently been the home of aging heldentenors but Kim Begley (to the best of my knowledge) has not had a career in Wagner. Even so the sounds that he emits are not steady nor are they mellifluous. More egregious is the singing of Ildiko Komlosi. Painful is the only adjective that comes to mind.
Patrick Summers is not a name that I would have associated with Strauss but can I blame the recording engineers as well? As Ivy Lin has pointed out there is none of the sensuousness that one associates with Strauss. At a number of points I had to reduce the volume, only to increase it at a later point. Admittedly this is not the only DVD to be found guilty of this, but surely by now recording engineers should have resolved the problem. True the house erupted in cheers and bravos and I suspect being there made some difference as to how the sound was perceived.
I have resisted all the previous existing Salome DVD's for a variety of reasons. The Stratas is a film, but right now it is looking better all the time. Malfitano has two tapings and the supporting casts are clearly superior to this new entry; the diva not only has to deal with the camera as an enemy, she has a tendency to overact in the manner of the silent film era. The German Nadja Michael has also made two tapings but she has a voice that does not caress the ear and is willing to throw caution to the winds and go for broke dramatically. The results can be exciting on occasionn but one wonders for how long can she sing this music--any music? Maria Ewing created a mild sensation when she sang her first Salome in Los Angeles and then took it to London where it was taped. By that time the role had taken its toll on her voice and all that was left was a mannered performance. The void has yet to be filled.