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Nobody does operatic camp like Strauss. All that voluptuous rolling on the floor, and the crazy poetry everyone talks in... "The moon is like the egg of an amorous dove, your forehead is like the slopes of Ararat, I love the marks of your teeth in my fruit, I want to kiss your whatever." The better it's performed - quite brilliantly here - the more wonderfully kitchy it is. I got quite a few chuckles out of it. Isn't this fundamentally comic? Oscar Wilde may have thought of it that way. It certainly isn't a study in the sacred and the profane, since Jokanaan is part of the fun.

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Yes, I’ve always thought that this was very much a black comedy and am fairly certain that Wilde understood it on those terms too, he was, after all, best known for his comic works. In fact I think Salome works so well because both Wilde and Strauss appeared to have a similar sense of humour and both certainly found an expressive outlet in writing fundamentally comic dramas (Strauss always wanted to write comic operas). I have discussed Salome with a fairly well-renowned expert on Wilde who has similar thoughts. It is certainly not a ‘comic opera‘ but there is a comic vein which runs throughout the play, the moments of light-relief, the camp exaggerations etc. Salome is best seen as a dramatic pastiche on the decadent art of that time and I think it’s all the more enjoyable and meaningful for it.
 

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Yes, I’ve always thought that this was very much a black comedy and am fairly certain that Wilde understood it on those terms too, he was, after all, best known for his comic works. In fact I think Salome works so well because both Wilde and Strauss appeared to have a similar sense of humour and both certainly found an expressive outlet in writing fundamentally comic dramas (Strauss always wanted to write comic operas). I have discussed Salome with a fairly well-renowned expert on Wilde who has similar thoughts. It is certainly not a ‘comic opera‘ but there is a comic vein which runs throughout the play, the moments of light-relief, the camp exaggerations etc. Salome is best seen as a dramatic pastiche on the decadent art of that time and I think it’s all the more enjoyable and meaningful for it.
The very high camp Salome's Last Dance movie capitalizes on this, having whores perform the roles from the play in front of Wilde and his lover. it is quite funny
 

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Yes, I’ve always thought that this was very much a black comedy and am fairly certain that Wilde understood it on those terms too, he was, after all, best known for his comic works. In fact I think Salome works so well because both Wilde and Strauss appeared to have a similar sense of humour and both certainly found an expressive outlet in writing fundamentally comic dramas (Strauss always wanted to write comic operas). I have discussed Salome with a fairly well-renowned expert on Wilde who has similar thoughts. It is certainly not a ‘comic opera‘ but there is a comic vein which runs throughout the play, the moments of light-relief, the camp exaggerations etc. Salome is best seen as a dramatic pastiche on the decadent art of that time and I think it’s all the more enjoyable and meaningful for it.
There are certainly humorous moments and a few Wildean one liners (although fewer than in his later better known plays). Wilde did term it a tragedy, though and I see no evidence for it being a pastiche of the art of its time. The poetry is more in line with biblical imagery, but it's totally Wildean and can be found in some of his other works (especially the short stories).

N.
 

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There are certainly humorous moments and a few Wildean one liners (although fewer than in his later better known plays). Wilde did term it a tragedy, though and I see no evidence for it being a pastiche of the art of its time. The poetry is more in line with biblical imagery, but it's totally Wildean and can be found in some of his other works (especially the short stories).

N.
I find that the biblical language just adds the comic, satiric side of the work. I wouldn't be able to listen to the work as a serious tragedy without seeing a little image of Strauss with a sardonic grin in my head, with all those little growls from the brass, those dashes of 'fairly music' and wry, playful rhythms. I don't think I'd enjoy it half as much either.
 
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I find that the biblical language just adds the comic, satiric side of the work. I wouldn't be able to listen to the work as a serious tragedy without seeing a little image of Strauss with a sardonic grin in my head, with all those little growls from the brass, those dashes of 'fairly music' and wry, playful rhythms. I don't think I'd enjoy it half as much either.
Seeing it live is a different experience altogether.
 
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