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Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

What do Rita Hayworth and the Bible have in common? Dr. von Lyric shares!

Jan 2, 2013 2:43:00 PM
By BLO Staff

" I was chatting with my friend and colleague over at BLO, John Conklin, and he was telling me about a program they're doing at in the MFA/BLO Signature Series on January 13. Based on the upcoming production of CLEMENCY (which deals with the dramatic Bible story of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar) he's put together striking operatic excerpts from Biblical sources (Samson and Delilah, Adam and Eve, Moses, etc) and of course Salome. That set me thinking - and perusing YouTube - and here are some scenes to dance your way into the New Year (veils optional)

From Alla Nazimova's 1923 silent film (with some truly outre sets and costumes derived from Aubrey Beardsley's drawings)

A flamenco version from Carlos Saura"s Salome 2002

Pasolini's 1964 THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST MATTHEW is a biblical "epic" like no other - rough, naturalistic, bold, compelling. His Salome is truly just a child and the dance before Herod is quietly haunting

A modern version (pant suit and all) from the Met's recent production. On stage, Karita Mattila apparently bared all at the end (with much attendant publicity ) ...but, reportedly, very, very very briefly. Do you think this approach works?

And then there's always Rita Hayworth. In this 1953 film Salome is dancing to SAVE the life of John the Baptist (don't ask) You'll see Judith Anderson as Herodias and ever decadent Charles Laughton as Herod leering from the side lines, Music definitely not by Strauss

OK....that Salome was a little silly but Rita Hayworth was one of the most beautiful of the Hollywood stars - and a wonderful dancer. She performed often with Fred Astaire who called her his favorite partner. So to really get the New Year off to a rousing start here they are together - elegant and charming as always. Enjoy and have a great 2013 - we'll continue our video tours of the great, the weird, the mysterious and the unexpected in the New Year! - Dr. von Lyric

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