Monday, October 6, 2008

Karita Mattila in "Salome"

1st\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

(Richard Termine for The New York Times)

Salome the Daughter of Herodias (c AD 14 - between 62 and 71), is known from the New Testament in connection with the death of John the Baptist.

Christian traditions depict her as an icon of dangerous female seductiveness, for instance depicting as erotic her dance mentioned in the New Testament (in some later transformations further iconised to the dance of the seven veils), or concentrate on her lighthearted and cold foolishness that, according to the gospels, led to John the Baptist's death.

A new ramification was added by Oscar Wilde, who in his play Salome let her devolve into a necrophiliac, killed the same day as the man whose death she had requested. This last interpretation, made even more memorable by Richard Strauss's opera based on Wilde, is not consistent with Josephus' account; according to the Romanized Jewish historian, she lived long enough to marry twice and raise several children. Few literary accounts elaborate the biographical data given by Josephus.

-- Source: Wikipedia


As before, her [Karita Mattila] portrayal culminates in a fleeting moment of real nudity, during her gender-bending performance of the 10-minute “Dance of the Seven Veils,” ... she vamped and shimmied along with two male dancers who twisted and lifted her. Toying with King Herod, her lecherous stepfather, she removed item after item of her costume until in a moment of delirious triumph she stood, arms aloft, completely naked.

Vocally Ms. Mattila is born to this daunting role, singing with an eerie combination of cool Nordic colorings and raw power. She can spin a Straussian melodic line with sumptuous lyricism. But when Salome erupts in a spasm of twisted desire or childish petulance, Ms. Mattila unleashes chilling, hard-edged top notes that slice through Strauss’s king-size orchestra.

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