GP at The Met: Salome

Finnish soprano Karita Mattila caused a sensation when she sang Salome at the Met for the first time in 2004, stunning the opera world with her interpretation of Richard Strauss’ fabled biblical princess. Wonderful news for fans – musical and TV – is her return to the role Saturday, January 17 at noon (ET) on Great Performances at the Met (check local listings). Patrick Summers leads the orchestra and strong supporting cast in Jürgen Flimm’s provocative modern-dress production.

Watch a preview:

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Presented by THIRTEEN in 5.1 digital surround sound on PBS HD, Mattila’s portrayal proves both shattering and thrilling. “She is mesmerizing in her seductive Dance of the Seven Veils,” wrote The New York Times. “And her singing of the final scene is a tour de force of depraved eroticism and rapturous lyricism. A landmark for the Met.”

Based on Oscar Wilde’s notorious play about the wild-child royal who danced for Herod in return for the beheading of John the Baptist, Salome (1905) is the work that put its German composer on the operatic map. Strauss’ daring harmonic innovations, psychologically complex characters and shimmering orchestration set the tone for the stage masterworks to follow, including Elektra (1909), Der Rosenkavalier (1911), Die Frau Ohne Schatten (1919), and, to a degree, even his autumnal Capriccio (1942).

Joining Mattila in the telecast are fellow Finn, bass-baritone Juha Uusitalo, in the role of Jochanaan (John the Baptist), Hungarian mezzo-soprano Ildikó Komlósi as Salome’s treacherous mother, Herodias, and British tenor Kim Bagley as Herod, Salome’s step-father.

Great Performances at the Met: Salome, the second of 11 productions set for airing this season on the series, is sung in German with English surtitles. Hedwig Lachmann wrote the libretto, adapted from Wilde’s 1891 play. Barbara Willis Sweete directs for television; Jay Saks is audio producer.

Sets and costumes are by Santo Loquasto, with lighting by James F. Ingalls and choreography by Doug Varone. Salome was transmitted onstage as part of The Met: Live in HD series on October 11, 2008 and recorded for this telecast.

Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public television viewers, and PBS. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers.

  • Paul Hill

    Jan, I thought you’d like this info. Paul

  • Paul Hill

    Thanks for these terrific performances.

  • Alex Achával

    Ayer disfrutamos en Buenos Aires de una emisión en directo de La Rondine y nos pareció excelente.-
    Esperamos asistir a próximas emisiones.-

  • GtelloZ

    This anticipated Salome is such a disappoinment. The production sucks, Mattila is not a great Salome, her dance is so amateur, and the direction between characters very questionable. Juha UUsitalo not a great Jockanaan. Kim begley is good, but no Ildiko Komlosi. A very forgetable Salome.

  • Dan

    Some of what GtelloZ says is true, however I think Mattila’s portrayal of Salome is one of the most convincing opera portrayals I’ve ever seen. Given the difficulty in casting this role, you’re unlikely to find another artist who has the chops to pull off the singing, acting and physicality that Mattila delivers here.

  • howard green

    understand 13 / GP group can’t track ALL local PBS station scheduling, BUT something MUST be done to provide a central place to post “remote” schedules for those who may miss a ‘GP at the Met’ broadcast “locally”. As an example, multiple PBS stations in an area, repeats, overlapping satellite footprints, friends in other geographies, National PBS, etc. I have even traveled to adjacent cities with my recorder to catch an important event!

  • Alicia

    I have to disagree with GtelloZ. Mattila did a brilliant job, as did Juha. This is not “Broadway” and it was, actually, much better than I expected. As this is one of the more demanding operatic pieces, it was exciting to see that it was so wonderfully done. BRAVO

  • Tomomi Sasaki :: | 今シーズンのMETライブビューイング

    [...] 予告編(ビデオ) [...]

  • Lorna Brain

    salome was listed for Sunday night January 31 in the Toronto area and was not broadcast, perhaps because of some difficulty at your end. Will you broadcast it again, and when?

  • Met Opera Fan

    Opera is all about singing. If you want dancing, you’ve entered the wrong Lincoln Center building.

  • Carol Jennings

    My local channels never carry any of these broadcasts. Their idea of a great performance is The Police!

  • Lee

    A brilliant performance especially by Karita Matilla,Bravo to all

  • elvera coakley

    Brilliant performance by Karita Matilla, except for the dancing.

  • Allan V

    This production of Salome was very well done. Karita Matilla gave it all. Her acting and singing were great. I was a really shocked how at the end when she is kissing the head of Jokanaan she got blood all over her lips and she is still singing lying on her back. Her acting was a success. She gave it all. She was terrifying and beautiful at the same time. It is hard to explain. The music by Richard Strauss needs no explanation. You can hear everything if you pay attention. The wind, when the head of Jokanaan is being cut off, each veil that is supposed to come off, the Galile sea and a lot of beauty description in the musical score. No wonder they call this opera a Tone Poem. Richard Strauss once said that he could compose a fork in music I would have love to hear a fork in music.

  • Dan Calleja

    My local PBS station did not carry this broadcast. Would somebody who recorded it be willing to make me a copy? I have almost every MET telecast on DVD (recorded from TV of course) and I am open to trading videos. Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks!

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