WWSD: 'Salome,' Washington National Opera

October 18, 2010


Richard Strauss’ “Salome” is famous for its nudity, for the difficulty of casting the lead role, for its leitmotif-heavy score. But after seeing the Washington National Opera production at The Kennedy Center, we found ourselves most taken with the lead character’s decisive and unorthodox problem-solving methods.

To recap, spoiled psychopath princess Salome falls in love with John the Baptist (named Jochanaan in the opera). When he rejects her, she seduces her stepfather (that’s where the naughty “Dance of the Seven Veils” comes in) and convinces him to decapitate her unrequiting sweetie. It ends with her beating us over the head (pun totally intended) with how she loves kissing said decapitated head.

So the opera made us curious. We, too, wish we could get our way all the time (without the gory violence). So how would Salome handle modern day annoyances?

Rising Metro Fares
Though you’d think a sexy and distracting dance might be the way to go, it turns out that Metro turnstile machines don’t respond to such things. That’s OK, because Salome planned to stab you and take your wallet anyway.

Lines at Georgetown Cupcake
Salome doesn’t wait for cupcakes, on platters or otherwise. We suspect she’d skip that 40-minute line by buttering up a Georgetown freshman (possibly literally) or disclosing the secret free flavor of the day to the masses via German song.

Annoying Facebook Statuses
Salome would do more than hide you. She’d hack into your account and write updates about your unholy erotic obsession with the soft, soft skin and red, red lips of someone you don’t actually know. “Dass Justin Bieber ist so süß, ich könnte einfach töte ihn!”*

D.C. Public Schools Underperformance
Michelle Rhee is out, but it seems like Salome’s no-nonsense style would … wait, on second thought, don’t let Salome anywhere near your child’s school. You’ve been warned.

*”That Justin Bieber is so sweet I could just kill him!”

With Katherine Boyle
Photos by Scott Suchman for Washington National Opera

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Rachel Kaufman · October 18, 2010