Cher Public

The unanswered question

wobblies“Why is the needlessly naked executioner so coy about showing us his wobbly bits?” [The Telegraph]

  • To paraphrase Poe, Why are wobbbly bits like a mollusk?

    • manou

      Not Poe -- Lewis Carroll.

  • Constantine A. Papas

    The naked executioner is the utmost manifestation of Eurotrashing. No stage or artistic value added except cheap voyerism. How far some wil go for absolutely nothing!

    • WeillFan

      I saw this “Salome” live during its initial run (though not on DVD yet). Though there were voyeuristic element to having a naked muscle guy streaked with blood, I felt director David McVicar somewhat justified it.
      The executioner was onstage the whole time, keeping a constant watch over the cistern as if he awaiting the pending call to act at any moment. He also appeared to be having a not-so-secret affair with Herodias (she would come by and fondle him in his long military overcoat).
      Since John the Baptist keeps on shouting derogatory things about Herodias, he seemed to take great pleasure when he got the order to do the deed. I’m not sure exactly what the nakedness meant, but perhaps it came from Herodias whispering what she’d like to do with the executioner in bed once he gets to finally shut John the Baptist up. I also vaguely remember McVicar saying in interviews at the time that the nakedness was about a sort of ritual cleansing of sorts. Either way, the busker’s nudity did generate lots of publicity for the production.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    I think it’s safe to say that Anna Netrebko is now equal to Maria Callas in terms of celebrity.

    • Arianna a Nasso

      How interesting to replace Vilja with Manon’s Gavotte -- who knew Netrebko had taken on Hanna Glawari?

    • Sacrilege!

  • Henry Holland

    Considering how hot he is, it’s a shame that the wobbly bits aren’t shown.

    In other (rumored) news, Pierre Boulez to write an opera based on Waiting for Godot for La Scala, due to premiere in 2015. Not going to happen, of course; Boulez takes decades to write anything, he’s 85 now and he seems more interested in tinkering with existing scores than starting anything new. Oh well.

    • Henry Holland


      • Fixed that for you.

        • Henry Holland

          Thank you, La Cieca, that was really kind of you.

  • armerjacquino

    There are no wobbly bits in this revival because Nadja Michael isn’t in it any more.

    • Smartly done!

    • Good one, AJ.

    • Regina delle fate

      Haha ArmerJ -- as you suggesting that Angela Denoke, like Marie Wittich, the first Salome, is an “anständige Frau”?

  • DonCarloFanatic

    Back in the dim, dark past, I met some Wobblies. The real guys. Boring.

    • bhd

      My grandfather was one, and he was actually pretty interesting.

  • schweigundtanze

    I followed the link back to the original post and watched the video. I actually quite like the executioner naked, as it further shows Salome’s psycho fixation on the head, even in the face of a gorgeous, naked, living thing. In other news, holy shit that was some horrible singing. Seriously, shamefully inaccurate both rhythmically and in terms of pitch. Yeeeesh.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      I sort of agree with this -- there is a small extent to which it crosses one’s mind during the scene that she is so engrossed by the head that she doesn’t even notice the executioner’s splendid nakedness, but then again I think a freshly severed head always would be just that bit more attention grabbing, whether one has totally lost the plot or not. So actually, what one really thinks is just plainly and simply ‘why is this guy not wearing any clothes, how silly’, and the coyness of his strenuous efforts to conceal his willy by walking in a most unnatural fashion also strike one. That was my experience of it anyway.

      Such a shame this production has been so poorly cast in both outings so far. I haven’t bothered going to the revival because I saw Denoke attempt a Chrysothemis which was totally under-powered and unstylish.

      • schweigundtanze

        I certainly agree about the unnatural walking. If he were able to walk normally and convey power and authority rather than jerking around like an awkward robot, I think far fewer people would take issue with this.

        And don’t even get me started on the casting….

      • Regina delle fate

        Denoke -- while not a Behrens or a young Gwyneth -- is a good deal preferable to Frau Michael. Siegel’s Herod is as good as you will see and hear today and Reuter is an exciting if melodramatic Baptist. The production seemed more convincing as a result.

      • messa di voce

        “so engrossed by the head ”

        Been there, done that.

  • olddansker

    I think you’re all missing the point. The guy’s nude to distract audience attention from the absence of the clearly demanded silver charger. Perhaps the production ran out of money so had to improvise.

  • Santa di Patria

    The silver charger comes later -- Salome nabs it from a passing flunkey. Cocky -- I agree with you about Denoke’s Chrysothemis (assuming you were at the LSO Barbican performances a few months back….) but every singer was under-powered in that thanks to Gergiev and having that vast orchestra 3 feet behind them. I saw her Salome last night and I was impressed with it vocally (though as Christiansen says she played it too vampily) -- the silvery sound was just right for so much of it, and she sings well off the words. But it’s true she doesn’t have the power for the biggest moments, and she would tentatively swell into the high Bs rather than hitting them square. But it was being recorded for radio, so maybe she was being cautious…

    Irrespective of that she was light years better than Nadja Michael.

  • Harry

    I have seen the DVD of this Mac Vicar (excess for excess -- sake) Salome ‘screech and blood fest’ of that amateurish voiced Nadja Michel. At curtain call -- her dress looked like she had fell into a tomato paste vat. If you wonder why the ‘steroid Stella’ executioner is not showing his willy, put it down to the fact ‘its a English’ production.

    The only masterful moment the production came together was that whirling dance sequence between Herod and Salome, strongly suggesting she is not only his step-child’ but ‘also, who he had previously sex abused’. What follows then suggests,is not just some willfully petulant psychopath but an increasingly crazed creature ‘out for total revenge for past things’ against Herod.
    As for nakedness in Salome, I saw one production where Salome’s Dance of the Veils consisted of Salome and Herod crawling and cavorting around the floor while about a dozen fully naked dancers ran around and ‘clinched in tight frontal embraces’. It was the fully exposed in full view ‘Dance of the flopping willies’. And it was frankly boring!

    It is unfortunate when directors try to be too clever with nudity on stage.

    About 25 years ago one director did Saint Saens Samson & Delilah. He decided to have a mixed collection of naked extras climbing all over a big well lit spider web. Only trouble was, one night one of the males got terribly, involuntary ‘aroused’. A girl extra became alarmed as ‘it’ touched her leg and she started quickly scampering away from ‘it’.
    It became a audience case of…. f**k!… forget the opera….Look! Look! Up there….is it a bird?..A plane?…NAH…….(you all know what it was!)

    Probably the only notable thing people remember about the performance.

  • Harry

    Say what they like about Maria Ewing’s video of Salome but that scene where ‘like a feline doing her business’ crawling all around the cistern ,she suggests teasingly with John the Bapist: that ‘she is laying her scent’.
    Now THAT is powerful!!!!