The Solti show

The recording of Richard Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten made at the Salzburg Festival in 1992 is very much Sir Georg Solti’s show.  The conducting is superb and the Vienna Philharmonic, of course, respond for Solti.  From the opening, shattering cords through the various orchestral interludes to the final ensemble and chorus Solti is utterly convincing in his command of tempi and dynamics.

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Salome – DVD of 2008 ROH production

Strauss’ Salome is not for the faint hearted. It contains perversions including, but not limited to, necrophilia, paedophilia and incest. I think this makes David McVicar an obvious choice as director. In fact, by McVicar standards, this 2008 Covent Garden production is fairly restrained and straightforward. McVicar gves the work a 1930s setting which works just fine. The action evolves on a rather elegant two level set; upstairs is Herod’s banquet and downstairs is a sort of guardroom including Jokanaan’s cistern. It’s all quite elegant in light blues and greys and essentially all the action takes place downstairs. There are a few supers including a naked woman and another not far off floating around for no apparent reason except perhaps to suggest that the Judean army is not the Brigade of Guards.

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