Strauss
Salome – Opera in one Act to a libretto by the composer based on Hedwig Lachmann's German translation of the French play Salomé by Oscar Wilde [sung in German, with English supertitles by Christopher Bergen, and Spanish supertitles by Fernando Mayans]

Narraboth / Second Jew– Benjamin Werley
Herodias’s Page – Mariya Kaganskaya
First Soldier – Benjamin Dickerson
Second Soldier – Simon Dyer
Jokanaan (John the Baptist) – Mark Delavan
A Cappadocian / Fifth Jew – William Lee Bryan
Salome – Melody Moore
A Slave – Evan Kardon
Herod – John Easterlin
Herodias – Elizabeth Bishop
First Jew – Edgar Miguel Abreu
Third Jew – Daniel Gerdes
Fourth Jew – Dominick Corbacio
First Nazarene – Rafael Porto
Second Nazarene – Orlando Valdes

Orchestra of Florida Grand Opera
Timothy Myers

Bernard Uzan – Director
Boyd Ostroff – Set Designer
Richard St. Clair – Costume Designer
Kevin G. Mynatt – Lighting Designer
Rosa Mercedes – Choreographer
Sue Schaefer – Wig & Make-up Designer

Florida Grand Opera – Richard Strauss's Salome
Photograph: FGO Florida Grand Opera assembled a fine cast for Richard Strauss’s Salome, and Timothy Myers conducted an excellent traversal of the score (in a reduced version for an orchestra of seventy-five).

In the title role Melody Moore surged powerfully and was outstanding dramatically. As Salome interacted Moore brought out diverse aspects of the princess’s personality: coquettish when wheedling Narraboth; aggressive in her encounter with Jokanaan; petulant when defying the invitations of her stepfather, Herod; driven while performing ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’; and utterly obsessed in her soliloquy to the Baptist’s severed head.

Mark Delavan was notable as Jokanaan, booming prophetic pronouncements from the cistern in which he is imprisoned, and forcefully rejecting Salome’s advances. John Easterlin made Herod a fully-developed persona: fearful and cowering, superstitious, flighty and indecisive, and prone to making irrational decisions – until he reaches breaking point and orders Salome put to death.

Elizabeth Bishop adds a terrific Herodias to her repertory: her majestic voice and imperious demeanor make her an ideal portrayer of Salome’s domineering mother. There were fine performances from Benjamin Werley as Narraboth and Mariya Kaganskaya as Herodias’s Page; and the contrapuntal quarreling of the five Jews was particularly well done.

Boyd Ostroff’s set is attractive but somewhat awkward, being dominated by a wide central staircase concealing Jokanaan’s cistern. Richard St. Clair’s costumes and Kevin G. Mynatt’s lighting are effective, and Sue Schaefer has helped create a highly realistic head of Jokanaan for the final scene.

 

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