Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

Tuesday night I snagged some killer last-minute tickets for the SF Opera's production of Salome. And - whew. Talk about scandalous.

The opera is Oscar Wilde by way of Richard Strauss by way of the Old Testament. It's a melange of lust and violence and incest and erotic torture and well, just plain ol' regular torture. As in: beheadings. Let's just say the show is perfect for Halloween week. In the course of an action-packed hour and 45 minutes, you get seduction, prophecy, sacrifice, nudity, and - wait for it - necrophilia.

Yeah. So girlfriend Salome - Herod's sexy and scandalous stepdaughter - ends up dragging (her unrequited lover) John the Baptist's severed [bleeding] head around stage, singing to it, spooning with it, and yes, eventually making out with it, until Papa Herod, dirty and leering as he might be, decides she's loony-tunes and needs to get taken out by the bloody scythe that just separated ol' Johnny-Poo from his noggin. And that's just the last ten minutes.

It's a wild ride, and yes, certainly a scandalous one, but also one not to be missed. This ain't yer grandma's opera. That John has quite the baritone, and that Salome, well, I've never seen another mezzo-soprano who a) looks so hot in scantily-clad white chiffon, and b) can dance her socks off like any good musical theater pro.

Get yourselves to the opera house. The show runs tomorrow night at 8 and Sunday at 2. Much better than throwing on your hastily-made duct-tape Balloon Boy costume and hitting up the neighborhood bars. Sexier, too.

San Francisco Opera: Salome


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