Strauss’ Salome

BICS 2015/16 – Strauss’ Salome

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2015/16 Concert Package,

SoundBite, Birmingham International Concert Season 2015/16 and Opera highlights

Friday 2nd October 2015

Symphony Hall

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Kirill Karabits conductor
Joe Austin Director

Lise Lindstrom Salome
James Rutherford Jochanaan
Kim Begley Herodes
Birgit Remmert Herodias
Andrew Staples Narraboth
David Soar 1st Nazarene
Oliver Johnston 2nd Nazarene
Anna Burford Herodias’ Page
Andrew Greenan First Soldier
Alan Ewing Second Soldier
Hubert Francis First Jew
Paul Curievici Second Jew and Slave
James Edwards Third Jew
Alun Rhys-Jenkins Fourth Jew
Andri Bjorn Robertsson Fifth Jew & Cappadocier

Strauss Salome Op 54 109’


From shimmering, silken opening to shockingly decadent denouement, Richard Strauss’s Salome is quite simply one of the most overwhelming experiences in all opera. And in Symphony Hall you’ll hear every last shiver and sigh of Strauss’s extraordinary score, as Kirill Karabits brings the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and an all-star cast to Birmingham for one unforgettable night.

6.15pm Pre-concert conversation with Kirill Karabits.

Choir and stalls front four rows not available.

Please note there is no interval in this concert.


Review by Richard Bratby, TheArtsDesk:

Click here for full review

…     “Lindstrom seemed to pull the drama in around her in every scene in which she appeared. She stalked the platform, her movements calculated and taut, her eyes wary: Salome as wounded predator. Her tone wasn’t especially lush. What her voice had in abundance was focus and a sort of concentrated sensuality, just as potent and expressive whether hurling soaring arcs of sound at the back of the hall, or whispering a lethal threat. In the space of the one phrase “Gib mir den Kopf des Jokanaan” (“Give me the head of John the Baptist”, it modulated from luminous sweetness to a curdled snarl; and then again, and again – changing from sinister to savage as the Princess repeated her demand.

Around a figure as compelling as Lindstrom, the limitations of the concert format hardly seemed to matter. Joe Austin directed, making effective use of basic coloured lighting and a few telling details of characterisation – James Rutherford’s hellfire-preacher hand gestures and blustering delivery as Jokanaan, Kim Begley’s self-satisfied manspreading as Herod – to lift this performance away from stand-and-deliver. Begley was very nearly as watchable as Lindstrom (the two pictured below). His wiry tenor fits Strauss’s brutal writing as comfortably as anyone’s ever could. He strutted complacently about the stage, eyes glinting with lust: a gloriously sleazy Tetrarch and – for once – a plausible match for Herodias. Birgit Remmert sang with such lustre in that role that at times she almost made her character seem likeable – then banished any thoughts of sympathy with the hissing malice of her low notes, as Salome pressed home her appalling final demand.

Begley and Lindstrom in Bournemouth SalomeThe BSO played as if they were loving every single note – as well they might. Initially, there were balance problems (Staples and Burford were almost inaudible at times), and a tendency for the richer textures to become congested – both familiar issues when guest orchestras overcompensate for the Symphony Hall acoustic.

Karabits quickly got that under control, and then let his team play out: a firm, satin-finished string section (the decision to split the violins revealed some usually unheard details), exuberantly characterful woodwinds and a tuba player who deserved a solo bow in his own right.”     …


Review by Alexander Campbell, ClassicalSource:

Click here for full review

…     “It was great to hear the score without the confines of a pit, Kirill Karabits and his Bournemouth forces making every felicity ring out, clean of texture and wide of dynamic range. Tempos felt unerringly right and appropriate to dramatic context.

The cast was vocally and theatrically strong. Salome was sung by Lise Lindstrom. Her voice is ample but not over-heavy, lending credibility to the girlish aspects of the character. It also has a silvery quality, but she can turn on a metallic edge which enhanced the projection of Salome’s petulant and implacable utterances. Only in the lower ranges was an occasional lack of punch evident, particularly at “Ich achte nicht auf die Stimme meiner Mutter…”, which felt unduly forced. Her colouring of the text was otherwise exemplary – and the surtitles really helped here. Her performance culminated in as intense a ‘final scene’ as could be heard today; she brought Salome’s misguided innocence to the fore, eliciting some sympathy for the character.

James Rutherford was an imposing and charismatic Jokanaan, sounding as well off-stage as on. His aloofness from the action was powerful. Kim Begley proved that having a more-heroic voice for Herod is vastly preferable to that of a whining character-tenor; his was an excellent performance with lots of textual nuance and vivid characterisation of this vacillating, unhappy and vain man somewhat out of his depth politically. Birgit Remmert delivered the vocally ungrateful role of Herodias with authority, her manipulative side to the fore.

In the smaller roles there was some superb singing notably from Anna Burford’s rich-voiced page, Andrew Staples’s romantic Narraboth and from David Soar’s charismatic First Nazarene. This was a rewarding evening.”


Reviews for performance in Poole

Review by Ian Lace, SeenandHeard, MusicWeb Click here for full review

Review by John Allison, TelegraphClick here for full review

Review by Andrew Clements, GuardianClick here for full review

Welsh National Opera – Don Giovanni

Tue 15 Nov, Fri 18 Nov

Don Giovanni
Supported by the WNO Partnership

Cast includes David Kempster as Don Giovanni, David Soar as Leporello, Nuccia Focile as Donna Elvira, Camilla Roberts as Donna Anna, Robin Tritschler as Don Ottavio, Claire Ormshaw as Zerlina, Gary Griffiths as Masetto and Carlo Malinverno as Commendatore
Who is Don Giovanni?
He is charming, charismatic, attractive and irresistible. Take care however; he is also deceitful, dangerous, violent and cold-hearted. To date he has had 2065 amorous conquests. He has seduced and murdered his way around Europe, but Don Giovanni’s luck is about to run out. Don Giovanni is one of the greatest of all operatic villains, drawn with consummate skill and surrounded by a kaleidoscope of very human characters. The opera is as rich and complex as the Don himself – it is both chilling and beautiful, comic and dramatic with one of the most powerful finales in all opera.
John Caird’s productions for WNO (Aida and Don Carlos) have been critically acclaimed. Music Director Lothar Koenigs conducts a superb cast, which includes Welsh baritone David Kempster in the title role.
Conductor Lothar Koenigs
Director John Caird
Designer John Napier
Sung in Italian with surtitles in English
Review by Simon Penfold, Express and Star:
…     ” On this occasion the devil doesn’t get all the best tunes – they are reserved for his victims. Both Nuccia Focile as Donna Elvira – torn between love and loathing for the Don – and Camilla Roberts as the wronged Donna Anna, are extraordinary sopranos and their voices were in fine form last night. David Soar was engaging as the Don’s hapless servant Leporello, keeping score of Giovanni’s 2,065 conquests.The set is a clever piece of work, with Rodin’s unfinished sculpture The Gates of Hell as its centrepiece, and”     …


Review by Roger Clarke, BehindTheArras:

…     “The story is there, the singing and playing is first class, the sound clear and well balanced and, in truth, it is a most enjoyable evening which could be made so much more satisfying though if it were just to lighten up a little both in terms of colour and candlepower, and in attitude. Let there be light and fun amid the cheats never prosper morality – after all Mozart catalogues Don Giovanni as opera buffa– comic opera – and perhaps he should know.”

(personally I loved the dark and brooding sets, the Gates to Hell were magnificent!)


Review by Richard Bratby, Birmingham Post:


…     “Vocally, Leporello (David Soar) almost upstaged his master, and Nuccia Focile’s nuanced, genuinely affecting Donna Elvira stood out amongst Camilla Roberts’ robust Donna Anna and Claire Ormshaw’s winningly guileless Zerlina. As Don Ottavio, Robin Tritschler made Dalla sua pace sound like Puccini; a ravishing moment, and of a piece with the almost Wagnerian colours of the WNO Orchestra in one of Lothar Koenigs’ most powerful readings to date.”




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