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Salome, Metropolitan Opera, 19 March 2004

Last night was the second performance of the new production of Salome at the Metropolitan Opera. As widely reported, soprano Karita Mattila bares all in the Dance of the Seven Veils, but if you blink you'll miss it: she's au naturel for just a second. Vocally, Mattila doesn't quite have all the chops for this role. Still, it's a courageous total performance, by an artist at the top of her game.

I didn't mind the idea of an updated production, but the set design just didn't work for me. Jochanaan's cistern was crammed into a small space downstage left-center. Although there was plenty of open and little-used space elsewhere on the Met's cavernous stage, too much of the action seemed handcuffed by the bulky, ugly scaffolding that surrounded the cistern.

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