Saturday, October 26, 2013

Heads Roll At Edmonton Opera's Salome

Edmonton Opera opens its 50th season with a striking offering: Salome. It is a one-act, no intermission, Opera that runs less than two hours. The story centers around Salome's lunacy as she wants the one thing she cannot have which, in this case, happens to be the affections of prophet, St. John the Baptist. She stares into the fragmented moon and mirror, trying to piece herself together throughout the Opera. While there is an array of supporting characters: Herod, Narraboth, Priests, and Slaves... the story is truly about Salome.

The stage is striking. Chains are suspended from the ceiling, creating the walls of the cage on stage that surrounds the characters. The hollow metallic rustle introduces an eeriness to the entire stage feel, and depending on the lighting, the chains were able to look like rain in the moonlight or the dripping blood from a severed head. The set design is minimalist but effective for completing the story. One of my favorite moments was when the suspension of red fabric was severed from the ceiling and Salome cloaks herself in red.

Salome is not an easy Opera to stage. The erotic Dance of the 7 Veils has a controversial history. While some sopranos have gone entirely nude for the dance, others Salome's have been replaced with a dancer in order to perform this scene. Edmonton Opera decided to document the process from young girl to womanhood using 6 dancers, as her stepfather, Herod, lusts on as he watches her. However, it is hard to know who has the power.  Herod for treating her like entertainment and property or Salome for manipulating Herod with her sexuality in order to obtain St. John's head.

Regardless, Salome is a brave choice for the Edmonton Opera to launch its 50th season and it is perfectly timed for the arrival of Halloween.

Purchase Tickets Here

Saturday, October 26, 2013 » 8:00pm
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 » 7:30pm
Thursday, October 31, 2013 » 7:30pm

Photography by Nanc Price

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