The Metropolitan Opera on Tuesday, September 23.
From the cheap seats of the family circle, soprano Karita Mattila has the vintage Britney Spears act down cold. Closer in, the effect might not be so convincing (she is in her forties), but at a distance, her fidgety, loose-limbed, not-that-innocent bearing is just about perfect. Mattila’s Salome is both sensual and childish, sophisticated and immature, and it’s not always apparent whether she’s truly conscious of the impact she has on those around her.
Even Mattila’s voice has a youthful (though blessedly un-Britney-like) timbre. She dances over Strauss’s slippery melodies with a light, ringing tone that somehow conveys Salome’s quicksilver moods and perverse desires without sacrificing the beauty of her instrument. Her performance is brilliant: provocative and gorgeous and creepy as hell, which makes it ideally suited for the provocative, gorgeous, creepy-as-hell opera.