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Peter J. Rabinowitz
Fanfare, July 2012

STRAUSS, R.: Salome (Baden-Baden, 2011) (NTSC) 101593
STRAUSS, R.: Salome (Baden-Baden, 2011) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) 108037

Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s updated staging of Salome is intelligent, thoughtful, and provocative…Lehnhoff choreographs the singers around Hans-Martin Scholder’s slightly off-kilter stage well, and Duane Schuler’s lighting is consistently excellent.

…in vocal terms, the performance is in reasonably good hands. Angela Denoke has tremendous vocal reserves, and sings evocatively throughout. She may be too much of a spoiled little girl at the beginning… but she grows as the opera continues, and she’s poignant in the final scene, creating an intense sympathy that transcends, as it should, the shock value of the transgressive kiss (quite bloody and quite realistic here). No hysterics here: rather, a deliciously condescending venom that makes her political power easy to understand. Kim Begley is an excellent Herod…Alan Held…sings with authoritative sonority.

…Stefan Soltesz draws out plenty of evocative color from the quieter sections…Good camerawork, on the whole; good video and sound quality, too, especially on Blu-ray, which as usual gives greater clarity to the objects in the distance.

…it’s certainly well worth experiencing. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Jim Zychowicz
Opera Today, April 2012

In contrast to stagings of Salome which present the work in costumes and sets that evoke images of first-century Judea, the stage design by Hans-Martin Scholder, with costumes by Bettina Walter, is a modern-dress production. Even without robes, sandals, and other accoutrements of costume drama, the presentation is effective in giving the work a timeless quality, which works well conceptually. The modern setting does not get in the way of narrative, and the intensity that stage director Nikolaus Lehnhoff brings to the work complementing the expressiveness Stefan Soltesz brings to the performance.

Angela Denoke is convincing in her portrayal of the title character. The intensity of Denoke’s performance is matched by her facile approach to the role, which is well within her technical and expressive abilities. As Herodias, Doris Soffel is believable as Herod’s wife…In the role of the prophet Jochanaan, Alan Held has a solid vocal and physical presence.

…Denoke makes a powerful musical transformation from the beginning of the work to its tragic conclusion.

In the role of Herodias, Doris Soffel is appropriate both vocally and dramatically. Soffel is exemplary in this role, as is Kim Begley, who creates an equally intensive characterization of Herod…Begley allows the music to emerge easily in characterizing the flawed and erring king. This is a passionate, full-voiced Herod, performed with the artistry this opera needs. Along these lines, Alan Held is powerful as Jochanaan, with a commanding presence when he is on stage. His resolute performance fits his character well.

As strong as the performances are, the staging merits attention for the way it allows the drama to unfold…the colors used in the production and reproduced in the DVD are evocative for the ways they suggest shifts in the drama.

The sound in this recording has a welcome presence in supporting the voices without overbalancing them…in orchestral interludes and the extended “Dance of Seven Veils” the orchestra is appropriately prominent, with the engineering supporting the fine performance at the core of the production. It allows the finesse of Stefan Soltesz to be heard well in this exemplary DVD. This staging of Salome merits attention, as does the excellent performance of the title role by Angela Denoke. © 2012 Opera Today Read complete review

Robert Levine, February 2012

Recorded in Baden-Baden in 2011, this Nicolas Lehnhoff-directed production draws vivid and valid characterizations and motivations.

Kim Begley’s big-voiced Herod is properly nasty, Doris Soffel’s aging movie-star-like Herodias is both shrill and menacing, and Alan Held’s Jochanaan is filled with scorn, piety, and grandeur. © 2012 Read complete review

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