I received a letter in the mail today, from DNO, concerning their Salome I bought tickets for months ago. For the record, DNO never sends letters about their upcoming productions. So why this letter?
Well, apparently, "the world's most friendly and advanced audience" [meaning the Dutch], will get to see "something spectacular" by German director Peter Konwitschny, who happens to be "world-famous and respected everywhere". Konwitschny "objects to the male gaze-ifying of this one woman", and has, with that in mind, come up with something "never seen before". Through the newspaper, we were also informed that Konwitschny has been battling severe depression for 4 years now, and that this is his first 'comeback production'.
So...what's up with Konwitschny's Salome, then?
Well, Jochanaan doesn't get decapitated. Instead, he falls in love with Salome, and she with him, and in the end, they walk away very much the happy couple.
WOT? This is really going to be the most insane stuff DNO has ever done.
So why the letter? Is this meant as a pre-emptive strike against booing? Against angry mobs asking their money back? Even the most lenient and friendly audience must have its limits, right? And why does the newspaper article dwell on the director's depression? Why do we have to know that? Again a pre-emptive strike against booing? Pity the director, he's been through so much?
Personally, I'm torn between curiosity (how do you even reach a happy end without some serious libretto twisting? Will people get angry?) and affront (seriously, my first live Salome should be a proper Salome, decapitation and all - and how far can you go in redoing the operas we know and love? What's next? A Traviata that has Violetta living and stabbing both Germonts in an avid attempt to avoid objectification by males?).
I really didn't like the 'revised' ending of I Puritani last year that much - Arturo returned, but got shot by Riccardo and died as Elvira went back to being mad. But at least that only concerned the final 5 minutes of an opera that - let's be honest - has a less-than-credible end to start with. What are we going to have to experience/endure with such a much more revised Salome?
Salome will premiere next Tuesday (10 November), and I've got tickets for Friday 13th....