William Friedkin, best known for his films The Exorcist and 12 Angry Men, recently made a mess out of Bavarian Staatsoper's early November production of Richard Strauss's Salome. Andante's Shirley Apthorp gleefully tears it apart, calling it (in one of her nicer sentiments) both "inept and ugly".
Unfortunately, this Salome had big expectations, with Kent Nagano at the helm, and situated as the second half of a double bill, preceded by the world premiere of Wolfgang Rihm's Das Gehege. But Friedkin's production apparently suffused too much nudity and eroticism into the screenplay, and it appeared quite lazy, unimaginative, and unwatchable.
"Unable to create any plausible erotic tension between Alan Titus's musty, uncharismatic Jochanaan and Angela Denoke's neurotic Salome, Friedkin had his soprano simply strip. She danced her own Dance of the Seven Veils, just as embarrassingly as any less slender and lissome singer might have done, and then let Herodes (sung like a Disney caricature by Wolfgang Schmidt) tear off her top and lick her nipples."
...and of Angela Denoke's singing? Even more brutal, "She swoops up to her high notes and hoots when the going gets tough. The range of expressive color is narrow, and the basic sound is unlovely." MEE-OW.
Anyway, get your butts over to the Opera Chic flickr stream, where I uploaded four Hi-Resolution photos from the production. With less nipple-licking.