(Above: Dance of the Seven Veils from Robert Carsen's Salome @ Teatro Regio di Torino, photo credit Ramella & Giannese/Piva.)
*~*OC*~* passed this foggy, overcast Sunday afternoon in the borders of Torino, 1.5 hours northwest of Milan by car (depending on your respect for speed limits and your car's HP powah), to catch the last showing of director Robert Carsen's Salome at Teatro Regio. Lots of pictures and a review coming tomorrow (although we already previewed it here and here), but for now reports that Carsen was omg sick! Totally on point, his interpretation of Salome was insane, erotic, and merciless. His direction was so intense that even my seat broke out in a sweat of pure genius. The magic day has arrived and I'm carving "Carsen" into my arm with a raz0r.
As weird as it looked on preview photos, and as afraid as we were that boy genius Carsen had made another big mistake (such as his very lame modern-costume Manon Lescaut @ Rodeo Drive we endured last year in Vienna), we have to say this Salome's insane parts, when put together, worked like clockwork, like a super secksay Vacheron. A small preview before the full review: the girl gets away with murder -- the "kill that woman" order is meant to have her mother, not Salome, killed. And Herodias bites the dust as Salome disappears in the desert clutching her boyfriend's head as lovingly as OC holds her LV Speedy bag.
We'll just name check very quickly the great (Carsen's direction, Manfred Voss's genius lighting that ricocheted in priceless ways and with laser precision all over the stainless-steel walls of the vault where the one-act opera takes place -- honorary mention to the idea of bathing in a creepy, milky golden light the rain of gold dust from the highest safety deposit boxes), the really good (Dagmar Peckova's washed-up jealous monster of a Herodias -- with leZbian incestuous kiss bonus), the good (Nicola Beller Carbone's vocally correct if overall uninspiring, but dramatically and physically perfect Salome), the bad (Mark. S. Doss's uncharismatic, wooden, vocally uninteresting Jochanaan -- when his character reappears as a decapitated rubber head, the charisma factor remains basically the same), the atrociously bad conducting (Roberto Fores Veses, picking up Gianandrea Noseda's baton for the last two performances, offered a flat, heavy, tin-eared reading of the score without layers, without shaping, drowning out -- to add the proverbial insult to injury -- the poor singer's voices for most of the show under a deluge of harsh flattened strings and heavy-metal sounding brass; it is frankly a reading unbecoming a major international production in an important, if second-tier, opera house. This may very well have been the worst performance from a conductor OC has witnessed in a professional venue so far).
While your waiting for the firsthand account, German soprano Nicola Beller Carbone, who sang the lead and seduced the theater, had a small write-up in a recent edition of Io Donna. The Carsen/Teatro Regio run of Salome marked her first time on the Italian stage, but she has been singing the troubled teen since 2003, where she premiered the role in Germany. Since Carsen had her kissing the decapitated saint's head set in a Las Vegas casino's pristine, sterile vault, the only kewl thing she said was that he copied almost exactly a famous Las Vegas casino vault, but doesn't name names. wtf? Ted Binion's? Who hangs out in Las Vegas vaults? Carsen's been watching too much Ocean's Eleven, but this time his muse paid off.