Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Richard Strauss - Salome / Dohnanyi Malfitano Terfel Royal Opera House Covent Garden|
Actors: Catherine Malfitano, Bryn Terfel, Kenneth Riegel, Anja Silja, Robert Gambill
Director: Hans Hulscher
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
Keep the Laser Disk
Flying Mouse | Atlanta, Georgia | 09/21/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Gorgeous soprano Cathy Malfitano delivers a tour de force performance of Salome which graphically depicts the Hebrew princess's journey from curiosity, through infatuation, and culminating in insanity in her amorous pursuit of the ultimate party pooper John the Baptist. Her Dance of the Seven Veils was sensual, erotic, revealing, and mesmerizing. But, unfortunately, that's not the performance on this DVD. Her stellar performance was with Deutsche Oper Berlin and that is available only on VHS and Laser Disk. This DVD recording of a Covent Garden performance has some artistic merit but just isn't in the same league.The Dance of the Seven Veils in this London performance is simply called Salome's Dance which was appropriate since we are shortchanged about 5 veils. Cathy spends a great deal of time running on and off the stage reminiscent of the Peter Sellers movie After the Fox in which Sellers directs Britt Ekland and Victor Mature to run aimlessly up and down the beach in a search for the meaning of life. At one point she was writhing on her back like a bug that had just been hit with insecticide. Not content to just watch, King Herod decided to join in and attempt to help her remove a veil. This pointless experiment with modern dance was tepid and lackluster compared with her Berlin performance. I have no regrets about purchasing this DVD. First, the audio is excellent. Second, Bryl Terfel is superb as John the Baptist. And, I adore the delectable Ms. Malfitano and would gladly purchase a recording of her singing the phone book. The regret is that since this version is on DVD her real gem probably won't make it and it's worth whatever it costs.If you want to see a first rate Salome on DVD get the one with Maria Ewing. When she drops the seventh veil you will join with King Herod and shout Wundervoil!"
A worthwhile Salome
J. Anderson | Monterey, CA USA | 12/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"5star highlights of this Covent Garden production are the closing twenty minutes of American Catherine Malfitano's singing of the title role -merciless intensity and voracious singing! - and the magnificent performance of Bryn Terfel as Jokanaan. We enjoyed seeing Malfitano's Cio-Cio San in Butterfly in San Francisco in the late nineties, and her singing here is even more engaged, more opened - a real success. There are aspects to her singing that can be bothersome at times; a lack of extravagant vocal reserves creates a sometimes monotonous approach to color, a feeling that she is always using everything she has, although she finds vocal color and drama aplenty in the closing scene. In general, however, It's hard to fault her Salome in this production - she's up to the task vocally and is a superb singing actor, one of the best around. Made for the camera (and the camera work here is unfailingly fine), Malfitano delivers a non-stop performance that exposes every nerve of Strauss' insane Princess. Terfel is as compelling a Jokanaan as I've ever heard - wild and devout and determined, plenty of physical braun and as musically committed a John the Baptist as might be possible. His singing is perfect, and his presence compelling. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Dohnanyi's disengaged conducting and the formulaic blandness of the Covent Garden orchestra leaves a lot to be desired. Some of it seems to be the recorded sound which never rises to compete with the stage action, but I sense a lack of direction on Dohnanyi's part, surprising since I'm an admirer of his orchestral conducting in general. The evocative tension of Strauss' orchestral writing of the last half hour never materializes. Can't explain this misstep, but it noticably diminishes the vibrancy of the production. In contrast to some reviews on this page, Riegel's Herod is ardently sung - the arrogance of Herod's cravenness is striking and convincing, indicating not only acting chops but a bountiful, solid singing technique. If only the orchestra didnt sound as if it were on vacation! All in all, one of the best filmed Salomes available, superior by leagues to the redoubtable Maria Ewing's shouted version at the same house, and in my view, better than the Malfitano/Estes Berlin version, especially in the art design department. Here, the focus is completely on the singing drama, and is the better for it. After Deborah Voigt's very recent Chicago triumph in her first staged Salome, we can hope she will commit a performance to video disc. Don't hesitate with this one, however. It delivers the goods."
My favourite opera
Robert Petersen | Durban, South Africa | 06/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I own this DVD of Salome, along with the rival version from ROH with Maria Ewing. They are both excellent in their own way. Let's hope that Malfitano's earlier attempt of Salome from Berlin will be released soon by NVC Arts"
Donald M. Clement | Slidell, Louisiana | 09/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A very remarkable performance........I have just finished enjoying it for the third time in just two weeks......will treasure it."