Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Strauss - Salome / Malfitano Rysanek Hiestermann Estes Sinopoli Berlin Opera|
Actor: Horst Hiestermann
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
In Petr Weigl's production of Richard Strauss's powerful and erotic one-act opera, Catherine Malfitano produces a spellbinding performance as Salome, a role which demands the utmost physical and emotional commitment throug... more »
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Flying Mouse | Atlanta, Georgia | 12/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anything is possible. But Pluto will start rotating around Venus before there will ever be a better or equal performance of Salome than this performance by Cathy Malfitano with Deutsche Oper Berlin. There may be better voices but she is one of the best dramatic actresses to ever grace an opera stage. She totally mesmerizes the viewer with a range of facial expressions that perfectly conveys Salome's journey from curiosity to infatuation and finally total insanity in her amorous pursuit of John the Baptist.
Cathy was born on April 18, 1948, and the date listed for this performance is 1990 which would put her in her early forties for this performance. But at the end of the Dance of the Seven Veils when she drops the final veil and is totally nude on the screen for around a second, if you are a heterosexual male from nine to ninety, your top priority in life at that particular instant of time will be to find the pause button on your remote control. The full frontal nudity wasn't choreographed for titillation but to enforce Salome's total commitment to possessing the unfortunate prophet. However, her most alluring physical feature isn't her statuesque body but her eyes-huge luminous brown orbs which she uses to penetrate your soul. At the end when she is kissing the head of the holy man on the lips she has a look of total insanity that I haven't seen since Jimmy Cagney found out his ma died in the movie White Heat.
The supporting performers are also superb. Simon Estes is a regal, stoic John the Baptist who rejects each of Salome's advances with a stern Niemals. Horst Hiestermann as Herod delivers his lines with the rapid fire staccato of a machine gun. Leonie Rysanek plays Herodias with the usual trailer park trash touch. But Cathy's performance soars above all others.
In addition to this performance I also have the DVD of the divine Ms. Malfitano's other performance with Covent Garden, sultry Maria Ewing's, and the laser disk of petite Teresa Stratas. All are interesting and entertaining performances of Salome but this Deutsche Oper belongs in a separate category and is easily one of the best performances of any opera of any kind ever recorded.
So I award 5 stars each to Oscar Wilde for his poem which provides the mellifluous phrases, composer Richard Strauss for one of his best scores, conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli for being the glue that holds it all together, and all the secondary singers for support and the supernumeraries for just standing there. And to Cathy I award the Andromeda Nebulae.
Being a Kultur disk all you get is plain vanilla stereo and no extras. But, in this case, that is more than enough. I do wish someone would put Cathy's performance of Tosca on DVD as well.
Outstanding Performance in the Magnificent Opera
Galina | Virginia, USA | 08/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Petr Weigl's production in Deutshe Oper Berlin is remarkable and memorable event thanks to a spellbounding performance by Catherine Malfitano, as Salome. Who would think that one of the greatest dramatic performances belongs to opera? In the course of 109 minutes, Salome goes from a young curious girl to a skillful but unsuccessful seductress to a scorned infuriated woman (Hell hath no fury, etc) to the most sensuous and sexy dancer determined to get whatever she wants from her step-father who is obsessed by her. All these steps lead her to the complete insanity and eventually, self-destruction. Malfitano acts, sings, and dances the infamous Dance of the Seven Veils with such level of passionate physical and emotional commitment that it is easy to forget her age (she was 42 when she sang Salome at Deutshe Oper Berlin) and simply enjoy and admire the outstanding performance in the magnificent opera composed by Richard Strauss and based on the play by Oscar Wilde.
Malfitano portrays Salome in Berlin-Berlin portrays Strauss'
Dieter Karamann | Heidelberg, Germany | 06/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Five stars because Mrs. Malfitano's fantastic performance can be experienced in this esthetically (and sensually) pleasing production. This is more Wild(e)! I was thrilled by this Berlin production since I saw it years ago on German television and was since then waiting for it to come out on DVD. In the mean time I tried to get along with the covent Garden production that came out on DVD much earlier in Germany, but I did not manage. I am more pleased with the more holistic approach of this Berlin production. All the arts intended to cooperate here in the sense of "Gesamtkunstwerk". After this, you are most likely to know exactly and without any doubt that you have witnessed something extraordinarily unique."
Wilde would have loved it.
Teacup | Assam, India | 03/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Other reviewers have spoken about Ms Malfitano's excellent performance. I would like to highlight the superb acting of Horst Hiesterman as a lecherous, decadent Herod, and that of Leonie Ryseneck, herself a great Salome at one time, as a nymphomaniac and equally decandent Herodias. Like a previous reviewer, I was disappointed with the dance of the seven veils. The fault lies with the choreography, not Ms. Malfitano's dancing. Nobody expects her to perform like a prima ballerina, but surely a more sensous and graceful dance could have been choreographed for her?
I also agree with the reviewer who discussed the dissonance between Simon Estes' looks and the story. He sings magnificently and he looks a bit too good to have been locked up all that time. Salome's attraction to him is logical, I would have been right there behind her if I thought I had a chance! However, the libretto has her yearning for his white skin and red lips. If white actors have their skins darkened for the title roles of Otello and Aida, I don't see why a black actor cannot be made up suitably for this role. It did not have to be complete, some whitish splotches would have reinforced the "I do not like your skin, Jochanaan, it is hideous, like a leper."
However, overall it is a stunning performance. I felt annoyed with the first spectator who yelled "Bravo" when silence would have been the greatest appreciation. Wilde would have loved it.