photos courtesy of Philip Groshong

SALOME by Richard Strauss
Conductor: Stefan Lano
Cast: S. Friede, R. Johansen, J. Trussel, S. Parry, S. Piper, S. Novacek
Production: P. Werner (scenery/clothes), T. C. Hase (lighting), J. Geier (hair/make-up)

“Cincinnati Opera got its eightieth season and the new millennium off to a resounding start with artistic director Nicholas Muni’s Victorian-era Salome. Set in Herodes’s opulent observatory (designed by Peter Werner), the production was dominated by a giant telescope. Muni’s offbeat conceptions worked, though they troubled many in the audience. At Herodes’s international court, composed exclusively of male friends and sycophants, Herodias’ Page was a samurai, who doubled as messenger-slave and the executioner of Jochanaan. The Nazarenes were converts from Herodes’ soldiers, tortured and blinded for their beliefs.”

Charles Parsons, Opera News (November, 2000)

“Oscar Wilde put his own spin on the Bible in his psychotic-erotic play Salome and Strauss set Wilde to music in his 1905 opera of the same name. Cincinnati Opera artistic director Nicholas Muni and German designer Peter Werner have added another level of phantasmagoria by clothing it in the trappings of the Victorian era itself. Herod’s castle is a bizarre mansion. Outside the banquet hall where Herod is entertaining his guests, stands what appears to be a huge piece of optical equipment pointed at an overhanging moon. Costumes are a blend of East and West, turbaned guards mixed with fashionable Victorian gentlemen; Herodias’ page is a Japanese swordsman who slices off John’s head and then commits hara-kiri. All this was always intriguing and certainly eye-filling.
Mary Ellyn Hutton, The Cincinnati Post (June, 2000)

“There is no way to escape the decadence, the necrophilia, the bloodthirsty morbidness of Strauss’ opera Salome, but director Nicholas Muni added a layer of depravity with some surprise moves in the company’s new production. In this production, besides having her lustful stepfather to contend with, Salome must also contend with her mother, making the picture of the dysfunctional family complete. The chilling picture climaxed when it was Herodias, and not the guards, who killed Salome in the opera’s final moments, riveting the nearly sold-out audience. The story took place in Herod’s observatory—on a round, raked and tilted platform—where Herod had a huge telescope, which reflected the image of the moon onto a sphere. It strikingly showed his obsession with the moon; his other obsession, Jokanaan, was imprisoned in the gear works.”
Janelle Gelfand, The Cincinnati Enquirer (June, 2000)

© 2013 Nic Muni | Stage Director | Artistic Direction | Teaching | Dramaturgy | Design | Site by RC