Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Salome in Vilnius

No, I cannot be in two places at once, but this morning I came across this review in the International Herald Tribune of the Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theatre's new production of Strauss' 'Salome'.

I am a bit amazed that an American critic rushes all the way over to Vilnius to see an opera, but I have an idea of how this may have happened. It is a friendly enough review, though I agree with the critic that the casting of the main character was maybe not the most ideal - but who else do we have at the moment? The really good young singers all go abroad, and at least the singer in question is solidly based in Vilnius. And she does act well. I also heard her once do a sublime Verdi requiem.

I see that we have a new music director - the last one, Jonas Aleksa, having died suddenly last year. The new director is Jacek Kaspszuk of the Polish National Opera, who is reported to be a very nice person. That cannot always be taken as read in conductors. I wonder in which language he communicates in Vilnius? Quite a lot of people still speak or understand Polish...

The review describes quite a different, rather daring production of Salome, and I wonder how the Vilnius public took it? On the other hand, we are used to modern productions - there are no more cobwebs around the Vilnius opera and ballet theatre these days.