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Asmik Grigorian was catapulted into the front rank of current sopranos by her stellar turn as Salome in Salzburg last summer. Luckily we can now all relish her performance, where her soprano cuts through the orchestra like steel, but also moulds some delicate lines. She is slim and lithe, and the physicality of this performance is essentially a workout. Her Salome is obviously damaged and demanding, and she avoids petulance. One of those special performances when voice, physique and intelligence all coincide in the perfect role. Romeo Castellucci’s production is perverse, oblique and mesmerizing. No dance here – a foetal Salome is slowly crushed by a descending stone: no head of Jochanaan, but his decapitated body. Salome has already been presented with the head of a black stallion that had already risen from the depths. So some psycho-sexual images are potentially readable, some are not – why the pool of milk, why the masked faces on everyone except Salome? It frustrates yet fascinates simultaneously. Gábor Bretz is a fi ne-toned Jochanaan and John Daszak and Anna Maria Chiuri detailed as Herod and Herodias. Franz Welser-Möst conducts with clarity and isn’t afraid to unleash the full might of the Vienna Philharmonic.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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