The Canadian Opera Company’s 2013 spring season marks the return of celebrated Canadian director Atom Egoyan with his searing, critically acclaimed COC production of Richard Strauss’s Salome. At the opera’s 1905 premiere, the audience and critics were shocked by its subject matter and erotic themes; Salome’s world of voyeurism and sexual abuse still elicits an equally visceral response today. In past presentations of this production, in 1996 and 2002, the COC’s Salome was described as a “brilliant modern day interpretation” (Classical 96 FM) that is “marvelously wicked and wickedly marvelous,” (The Globe and Mail) and “relevant to a 21st-century audience” (NOW Magazine). COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts his third opera of the season for the company when he leads the COC Orchestra through Strauss’s intoxicating music. Sung in German with English SURTITLES™, Salome runs for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on April 21, 27, May 1, 4, 7, 10, 16 and 22, 2013.
Adapted from Oscar Wilde’s play, the opera recounts the ancient story of Salome, who demands the head of Jochanaan (John the Baptist) in return for performing the Dance of the Seven Veils. Salome lives in a hedonistic royal court, with her perverse and shameless stepfather, Herod, and her imperious mother, Herodias. Salome’s desire for the imprisoned Jochanaan is mirrored by a soldier’s tortured infatuation for her, and Herod’s own lust for his stepdaughter. Consumed by passion, the family is inevitably torn apart by its destructive obsessions.
Renowned Canadian filmmaker (The Sweet Hereafter, Chloe) and director Atom Egoyan brings some of the original erotic shock value back to Strauss’s Salome. The setting of the opera is moved from a first-century palace in the Holy Land to a foreboding and abstract environment, stripping away the markers of an affluent environment to focus on the characters themselves. Multi-media elements, such as film and video, as well as shadow puppetry and lighting effects, further serve to heighten the opera’s impact and emphasize the perverse natures of Herod, Herodias and Salome.
Single tickets for Salome are $12 – $325 (includes applicable taxes). Tickets are available online here, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office, located at 145 Queen St. W., Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.