www.opera-britannia.com, 05. Juli 2010
The glory of all Straussian scores is not just the female voice, but the orchestra. This mighty score was given a superb and beautifully judged account by the Royal Opera House Orchestra under the direction of Hartmut Haenchen. It never ceases to surprise you just how much of this score is decidedly lighter in texture than one would imagine, with Strauss often cosseting the singers, rather than swallowing them in a huge inferno of sound. From the exquisitely brief clarinet introduction, this exotic and middle-eastern tinged score bristled throughout the evening. The heavier passages were semi-blistering and the finale a nervous, twitching pastiche of screaming woodwind. It was a near faultless performance, which made you admire all the more the deft precision of the orchestral players, from the pinched high Bs of the double basses as Salome nervously awaits the execution of Jochanaan, to the virtuoso xylophone played during the “Dance of the Seven Veils”.