Wiener Opernball 2008
Latvian National Opera News

Laughter and Opera

MladakhudoleyDoubtless you have heard that the current Dallas Opera production of Salomé was laughed at last Friday. By coincidence, just after reading The Dallas Morning News article on Salomé, I heard Radiolab's latest show entirely devoted to laughter. Particularly interesting were the segments on Dr. Jaak Panksepp's research on tickling rats and Dr. Robert Provine's work on chimp laughter. Among the theories on why humans laugh presented were to signal safety or play.

I wonder exactly what the audience was laughing at in Salomé, if it was simply the absurdity of the staging or something else. Mlada Khudoley (pictured) certainly does not look inappropriate as the dancing seductress.

Listening to Radiolab reminded me that they aired an hour-long special about opera earlier this year. Entitled "The Ring and I: The Passion, The Myth, The Mania," the program discusses the Ring Cycle at the Met in 2004. The show starts with the statement "Opera people are all nuts," which seems quite apt indeed. Jad Abumrad interviews Alex Ross, Speight Jenkins, Tony Kushner, Jane Eaglen and others in this amusing piece about Wagner's epic work.

Dallas Opera's Salomé | The Dallas Morning News Review | Pegasus News Review | Laughter Episode on Radiolab | The Ring and I on Radiolab