Antoine Mariotte, Salomé - Landestheater Linz, BlackBox
Premiere performance 30th DecemberThe final opera performance of 2016 was the second production of the new series Oper am Klavier at the Landestheater Linz. This opera was composed at the same time as Strauss' famous opera and is also based on the play by Wilde (actually even on the French original), but never reached such big audiences as the Strauss version. However the Landestheater Linz decided to present this piece in a cut version accompanied by piano. The music is totally different from Strauss' opulent score, but treats the plot in a very similar way. Sometimes the structure reminded me very much of the other score even though it is a totally independent work.
After a very detailed introduction to the piece and its composer by Christoph Blitt the few musicians started to play the music which shows a strong influence by Debussy. The musical lead was taken by Daniel Spaw who also passionately played the piano part and supported the singers with cues everynow and then. You could tell that he as very devoted to Mariotte's music because quite often you could see him form the words of the lyrics silently himself.
First of all I have to say that the French of all singers was very clear and you were actually able to understand every single word. In his very short role of the young Syrian Sven Hjörleifsson still gave a refined impression with a slender bright tenor voice. He also supported the performance as part of the choir in the end. Yasuyo Asano was singing the soprano part of the choir.
Same is valid for Cheryl Lichter who also sang the role of Herodias with a edgy mezzo voice. She definitely filled the role of this nagging woman with life and gave a solid performance.
Michael Wagner's dark and bossy bass voice is a strong contrast to Strauss' view on the character of Herodes, but also worked very well. Wagner knew how to convey the different shades of his character during his performance and showed refined musicality. Wagner also was part of the final choir.
Martin Achrainer sang the role of Iokanaan and also did a good job. His elegant sonorous baritone voice suited the role very well and he gave a very intensive interpretation with great contrasts and a very solemn timbre.
The title role of the evening was sung by young singer Isabell Czarnecki who did a wonderful job with it. Her mellow soft voice has a very sensual timbre and a well focused top. She sang her role with intensive passion and was able to convey the seductive erotism and the desire of this character perfectly.
Alltogether a really interesting work that is definitely worth being rediscovered and therefor I can just recommend theatres to stage this opera. For everyone who did not see the production yet I recommend the second performance on the 18th of february: 9 stars.
Reviewed by Daniel Url