Strauss’ Salome – Share Your Review!

Strauss’ Salome – Share Your Review!

Posted by Opera Gal in Program Notes 18 Oct 2013

Utah Opera's 2013 Production of Strauss' Salome


We want to know what you thought of our production of Strauss’ Salome. Please share your review with us on Twitter using the hashtag #utahopera

Your thoughts can’t be contained in 140 characters? No problem! Please add your review in the comments below.

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  • Alice Edvalson October 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm / Reply

    I enjoyed Salome. I’m amazed at what you could do using symphony hall. I wasn’t able to see the supertitles very well a lot of the time and sometimes they went away so fast I couldn’t read them when I could see them. That didn’t really bother me much because I really enjoy the music the most and can pretty well get what is going on without them. I’m just happy to see that you were able to do a great job with such different conditions. Keep up the good work.

  • Alexis Baigue October 19, 2013 at 2:31 pm / Reply

    I knew almost nothing about “Salome”, but after playwright Oscar Wilde and composer Richard Strauss ravished me last night, I crave more.
    Conversely, I have never spent so much time at an opera trying to decipher supertitles; both screens were barely legible; plus, the words often flashed on and off before I had the chance to read them. After “Dance of the Seven Veils”, the stage-right screen was obstructed by one of Vita Tzykun’s spheres, making reading even more arduous. I love Utah Opera, but do not understand why neither “Salome”‘s designer, director, nor artistic director noticed the need to remedy this problem. When I catch “Salome” at the the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, I will not expect English Supertitles. Do Tzykun, Newbury, and McBeth expect Utah Opera’s audience to learn German before attending “Salome” and “The Abduction from the Seraglio”?

  • Frederick Liu October 20, 2013 at 1:01 pm / Reply

    It was so toned down, it lost all it’s operatic purpose and meaning.
    Salome was meant to be shocking or at least challenging to the audience. As it was, it almost insulted the capacity of the audience.
    She was completely unconvincing, her gestures and movements were awkward. The dance scene had no hint of appeal. The final scene was bloodless and sterile.
    Herod was also poorly presented.

    On the other hand, the music was beautifully done, and, as an orchestral piece, I enjoyed the package.

    • Rob October 21, 2013 at 10:59 am / Reply

      I agree! The first time I saw this was so shocking and amazing that I became an opera fan. I was waiting for the shock value the entire show. The first one got me into this Opera, this one has disappointed me enough to get me out of it. Especially if this is now the Utah norm. (toned down, poorly represented acting). So does Utah Opera gear itself to the uneducated masses or to those that know things? This time I could not tell.

  • Brooke Jennings October 20, 2013 at 5:56 pm / Reply

    Marcy Stonikas has a fine voice, but opera also requires acting, and in this case, dancing. I found her Salome completely unconvincing. I saw no sensuality, let alone overt sexuality, which I understand to be the essence of this character. The dance was a complete bust. If you could not find a singer who could dance, could you not have slipped a dancer in to perform this scene? If Salome is not sensual, let alone sexual, what is the rest of the opera about?

    Utah Opera usually does better than this.

  • Rob October 21, 2013 at 10:56 am / Reply

    I must say that I was disappointed. I have seen this opera before at the Capital Theatre and thought this performance lacked for a few reasons. First, and foremost, is the orchestra was too loud. I sat center seats 8th row, so I was well within hearing range. The orchestra drowned out the singers except for when they played very softly. That was disappointing. Second, I do not think the symphony hall is a location that can do most operas justice, especially this one where the sets have been much more elaborate. I was so disappointed that I do not think I will do opera again, especially at Abravanel Hall. It was not worth the 170 I paid for my tix. I may have been more accepting if I’d paid the 30 others had.

  • Peggy Stuart October 21, 2013 at 2:04 pm / Reply

    For the first time since I’ve been going to Utah Opera I have to say I was disappointed in Salome. Most of the problem was the venue. Abravanel Hall isn’t really suited to staged productions. The Capitol Theater is much better, and we will be happy to be back there for the next production. We couldn’t see most of the stage because of people’s heads. We couldn’t hear the singers over the orchestra (which played beautifully, BTW). The supertitles were difficult to read because of ambient light on the stage and a poor selection of font. I couldn’t figure out what the costumes were. (Mongolian? Balinese? science fiction? Whatever they could find in the wardrobe room? Herodias appeared to be wearing a lampshade around her shoulders.) The “dance of the seven veils” really should be a dance, even if she doesn’t stip naked or have seven veils. John the Baptist’s head really looked more like a pudding than a head. (Maybe Marcy Stonikas refused to kiss a more realistic severed head.) It didn’t help that we were so far from the action that it was hard to stay involved (our seats at the Capitol are fairly close) or that the people behind us talked throughout the performance. Since the opera had to be performed at Abravanel because of renovations to the Capitol, it might have been better to have performed it as a concert, the way an oratorio would be performed. All of the attempts at staging distracted us from the music and what we could hear of the singing. I look forward to being back at the Capitol Theater in January.

  • Dick Wunder October 21, 2013 at 6:59 pm / Reply

    Thanks for the invitation to comment on the production. I thought the costumes, singing and acting, and especially the staging were excellent, perhaps the best I have seen at making clear the interactions between the characters. It was a good idea to take people offstage when they were not involved in the conversations as that focused the action. The one exception was the notorius dance of the seven veils, which was simply silly.
    However, the production was ruined by the incompetent supertitles. Our party was seated in row 23, and even that close they were too tiny to read. Strauss is one of my top ten favorite opera composers, but even with my knowledge of the general direction of the action of the plot, and the experience of having seen several previous performances, I was often bored. Without being able to follow the dialogue, the conversations at times seemed interminable. One member of our group (who have had season tickets for decades) said with some heat that if this were his introduction to opera, he would never have gone back

  • Opera Gal October 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm / Reply

    Thanks so much for your opinions! It’s great to have the opportunity to hear both the positives and the negatives of the performance – it definitely gives us much to talk about when thinking of future performances.

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