Desire. Brutality. Lust. Slyness. Anxiety. What a fascinatingly menacing thematic melange is seething in this Salome. Richard Strauss, the “nervous contrapuntalist,” had immediately recognized the potential of Oscar Wilde’s play, and had proceeded to add to it a musical meta-plane, which resulted in Salome becoming the scandalous new point of departure for opera in the 20th century. In its vivid psychological depiction of a corrupt world, Salome is, at the same time, both child of and witness to the dawning of the 20th century – a reflection of a moribund late-bourgeois era, captivated by its own putrefaction. The opera hit the nerve of the times. Strauss poured theRead more Salome catastrophe into a one-act opera lasting a mere 100 minutes. However, these are 100 highly condensed minutes, which demand the listener’s full and uninterrupted attention without any break; first torturing him emotionally and then trickling the venom of sweet, seductive music into his ears and mind; laying his nerves bare, then making him tremble in aroused expectation. The new Pentatone album featuring the young, up-and-coming conductor Andres Orozco-Estrada leading the hr Symphony Orchestra (formerly Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra) is a live recording of a concert given on September 10, 2016 in Frankfurt.
Orozco-Estrada’s approach is unrushed and often expansive. Magee’s Salome spits out her words as part of a characterization of the Judean princess that’s compellingly real and convincing. An unusually persuasive aural drama and a deeply musical account of the score – a compelling listen featuring a fine cast and expertly conducted. It’s a set that can be warmly recommended.