Monday, October 13, 2008


There has been much written about nudity in SALOME. At the end of the Dance of the Seven Veils in the current Met production Salome is staged to strip to nothing. Nudity does not a Salome make. And if any singer doing this role doesn't feel comfortable doing this there are suitable alternatives. It's something that should be discussed before a production reaches the stage. Certainly movie stars have been known to balk when asked to do nude scenes.

I have been lucky to have heard and seen brilliant Salomes all of whom were sexy as could be and kept their clothes on. They used their voices to conjure up this willful, spoiled, obsessed female. And when it came time for the dance they used their legs. But mostly the characterizations were vocal,.. mesmerizing, sending chills up your spine.

I prefer a true biblical setting where the interaction between Salome and Herod is clear cut with both performers working face to audience. You can not have Herod with his back to the audience. In fact both Herod and Herodias must show their facial expressions clear for the audience. That's half the fun. Salome is nuts. She didn't get that way accidentally.

The words and action are so spine-tingling that the work could be done on a blank stage. I saw the Oscar Wilde play once in a stark room and was totally gripped by the drama. The only props were a knife, some fruit, a goblet, a silver tray and the head. Nothing else was needed.

Nudity is a gimmick, unnecessary if the performers have it in their voices and being to encompass the roles. Try a lacy skin costume if necessary. Very sexy and alluring.
This is Birgit Nilsson, SALOME Jan. 19, 1966. The head was William Dooley.

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