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A glorious dip in the grotesque

Welsh National Opera's revival of 'Salome'


If the only disappointment of Welsh National Opera's revival of Salome, directed by André Engel -- who also produced WNO's memorable Carmen and Der Freischütz, featuring as its Kaspar the superb young American baritone (now a Met regular), Richard Paul Fink -- was that the young lady declined to disrobe, we should count our other blessings. This was a superb staging, whose brooding set alone, by Nick Rieti -- a dour Alhambra laced with the look of the Victorian orientalists -- of whom the painter John Frederick Lewis is a classic example -- deserved the operatic equivalent of an Oscar.

Eliane Coelho as Salome. Photo: Bill Cooper

True, WNO's outgoing music director, Carlo Rizzi (who is presently conducting Verdi's Il Trovatore at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden) never quite caught the music's shimmering detail and crystalline subtleties, tending at times to a slightly monochrome overloading.

Narraboth (Peter Hoare) with Salome (Eliane Coelho) in the WNO revival of 'Salome'. Photo: Bill Cooper

But Narraboth's riveting solo at the outset (Peter Hoare, hitherto WNO's Tchekalinsky, Tito and Simpleton) was alone worth the price of a ticket.

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Copyright © 5 May 2002 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK





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