I was there in the house and it was a good night.  I still think that Mattila and the production were fresher in 2004 with a wider range of colors and dynamics.  However, she didn’t sound frayed or at the end of her rope.  Some of the louder high notes can get a blanched quality but they were dead on pitch and held for a good while with no wavering.  She looks good but definitely a woman of a certain age and the girlish, kittenish business looks calculated now.  Its a well kept body but definitely spreading a bit in places.   Supposedly Mattila was the one suppressing the 2004 taping since she disapproved of some of Flimm‘s choices (Salome being drunk was one).  Well she was still doing some drinking (perhaps less this time) and really there weren’t that many changes from the last time that were crucial.  The Dance of the Seven Veils is like an outtake from the Showgirls pole dance scene.  I don’t think that kind of obvious tackiness was what Strauss had in mind.  They need to put out the 2004 filming which is really superior on DVD and bypass Mattila’s objection.  However, Gelb will probably want his product, his HD filming on the market so that will never see the light of day like the Ariadne with Voigt and the Wozzeck with Struckmann and Dalayman.

Joe Kaiser sounded fine and looked like he took off some pounds from last season.  German suits him better than French to my ears.  Begley and Komlosi were good as the Herods.  Big letdown: Juha Usitalo – ordinary timbre, hollow small tone – when he was amplified in the cistern he wasn’t impressive and he was definitely underwhelming when he emerged.  Fat man with little stage charisma – basically made a hole on the stage.  Morris Robinson came out as the first Nazarene and that sounded like the voice of God.

BTW: I am coming to the conclusion that there is less to “Salome” than meets the eye.  It all is very effect driven without great profundity underneath and all the characters are basically monsters or concepts without a core of humanity underneath.  I like Elektra so much better.  Elektra seems to get better every time I see it whereas I really find Salome silly and meretricious in some ways. — Gualtier Maldè