Are all the ROH productions done by David McVicar? This is one has its problems from the theatrical point of view. All the initial scene is confusing and in general, the open space subtracts some desirable oppression. Other than that, it mostly work without being brilliant nor exciting. The big surprise was Malin Byström in the title role. After not enjoying her at recent Vêpres siciliennes and not having the ideal voice for Salome she was quite well suited for singing it.
Wow. For the first time I saw the same opera production in two different cities/opera houses. Does that make me an opera-pro? It was interesting seeing how a production that somehow worked in a different place didn’t quite work here. Of course having better casts (3!) in Madrid two years ago (Nucci, Rodríguez, Peretyatko, Oropesa…) made a difference but probably the biggest one was the conductor. In Madrid Luisotti conducted it remarking the dark side of the score.
After the short summer break I came back to the Royal Opera House to see Die Zauberflöte. It had been little more than a month and I was properly fed by Grimeborn and some Proms. All the pictures and video I had seen from this production were elegant and very beautiful. And that is the main problem of this David McVicar’s production: its main virtue is the perfect visuals. But it stages the full of symbolism Mozart opera as a plain fairytale: no symbolism, no intra-story, no subtext.