Magazine September 10, 2018, Issue

A Three-Ring Circus

Curtain call for Salome: The soprano Asmik Grigorian leads the conductor Franz Welser-Möst. (Marco Borrelli)

Salzburg, Austria

At the Salzburg Festival, here in Mozart’s hometown, there is always a variety of concerts, recitals, plays, and opera performances. I will comment on three opera performances (not that opera performers are hurting for attention, true).

The festival is staging Salome, Richard Strauss’s shabby little shocker. Actually, that is the phrase famously applied to Puccini’s Tosca, by Joseph Kerman, a musicologist and critic. Tosca appeared in 1900, Salome five years later. Both are shockers, for sure, but neither is shabby.

Salome is one of Strauss’s several one-acters, which include Elektra, an opera that appeared in 1909, four years after Salome. Elektra

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