By Nikita Gourski, Development Communications Officer
Imagine the choreographer who turns to the libretto of Salome for the first time, looking for insight on the famous Dance of the Seven Veils. They find only the briefest and most general of instructions to guide their work: “Salome dances the Dance of the Seven Veils.” For a pivotal scene, it’s not much to go on.
Yet that brevity opens up the performance to a multitude of possible and legitimate interpretations. By saying next to nothing about how the dance should look, the libretto seems to recognize that an elusive and indefinable quality is woven into the dance… a quality that might resist pre-determined charting precisely because it originates from a mysterious place of self-expression.
Salome by Paul Klee, 1920 and The Dance of Salome by Benozzo Gozzoli, 1462
Salome was adapted from Oscar Wilde’s one-act play, in which the author omits specific choreographic instructions with the very same phrase that the opera’s libretto echoes, unchanged, 13 years later. Things only get more puzzling when we read Wilde’s personal inscription to illustrator Aubrey Beardsley. “For Aubrey,” Wilde wrote, “the only artist who, besides myself, knows what the dance of the seven veils is, and can see that invisible dance.”
Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Salome / comments (1) / permalink
Storified by CanadianOperaCompany· Wed, Apr 24 2013 08:53:19
Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Lucia di Lammermoor / comments (0) / permalink
Meet Jim Lucas, supernumerary-extraordinaire! Supernumeraries, a.k.a. supers, are the extras of the opera world and play a variety of non-singing roles. Jim has been a “super” with the COC in approximately 60 productions, beginning with Der Rosenkavalier in 1990, in which he recalls having to navigate a tricky spiral staircase dressed as a lackey while holding a sword. He remembers his hands trembling with nerves when he shared a scene with the Marschallin, sung by soprano Carol Vaness, but that initial experience got him hooked. Jim had been a COC subscriber prior to trying his luck as a super, but it was a conversation at a house party with a COC staff member that inspired him to audition for Rosenkavalier. He is a visual artist, and already had an interest in both theatre and opera, so he thought to himself, “Why not?”
That first opera led to dozens of appearances in productions spanning 23 years. He considers the highlight of his time with the COC (so far!) an experience in Don Pasquale when the director didn’t like what an onstage actor was doing in his role, and so decided to replace him at the last minute with Jim, who then spent the entire day in rehearsal with the director, and was on stage that evening at the dress rehearsal.
Posted by Claire Morley / in Behind the Scenes / comments (2) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001