The evening belonged to Angela Denoke in the title role, and Hartmut Haenchen in the pit, who drew a mixture of gentle lyricism and immense power from the orchestra. When Salome sings of kissing the lips on the severed head of the Baptist, the orchestra roars forth, and Ms. Denoke shows a sense of triumphalism rather than necrophilia in her tone and body language.
The performance however was excellent. Johan Reuter sang the Baptist with emotional sincerity, grappling physically with Salome, and in this revival staying upright more than Michael Volle was permitted to do in the 2008 original. Gerhard Siegel was a fine Herod, showing impotence in the face of Salome, the same characteristic he showed as Mime in the face of Siegfried during his performances in the Ring three years ago. Irina Mishura looked gorgeous and sounded suitably imperious as Herodias, and I was particularly impressed by the bass power of Michael Courjal as the First Soldier. But it was Angela Denoke whose singing I found so strikingly good, and though I prefer a little more sexiness in the portrayal of Salome, particularly in the dance, this was a powerfully convincing performance. And then of course there was the huge orchestra, so brilliantly conducted by Hartmut Haenchen.