I saw my first Salome tonight at San Francisco Opera.

The scheduled soprano didn’t sing. Someone had told me there was a rumor she was out — he had heard just a few minutes earlier — and, sure enough, Nadja Michael had had to cancel just that day. Or at least that’s what it sounded like when David Gockley announced it. But I could have heard incorrectly. I certainly heard her replacement’s name incorrectly. I thought he said, “Molly Dill”, but that must be wrong. He said the new singer was working on the opera in Phoenix, so I looked put all that information together and I come up with Molly Fillmore. I hope that’s correct, but maybe a reader can correct me if I’m mistaken. In any case, I sure can’t imagine coming in with no rehearsal to sing that opera!

I thought she did quite a good job. She doesn’t have the strongest of voices, but she sounded lovely and her high notes were there (I had read criticism of the other Salome’s high notes). My favorite of the night, though, was Greer Grimsely. What a voice!

I got a quick look at the Heckelphone when Dan and I came down to the pit before we headed to our dress circle seats. I could hear it a bit during the opera, but I wish I could sit IN the pit to really give it a good listen. Oboe solos and English horn solos were great!

The audience laughed at odd, uncomfortable or creepy times. I realize it is laughable if one thinks rationally, but since when do you think rationally when listening to opera? I wish people didn’t laugh out loud … I find it distracting.

Weirdest part of the night? No, not watching Salome cradle Jokanaan’s head in her arms and kiss him. That was just creepy. Not the Dance of the Seven Veils (were there seven? I wasn’t sure.) either, which I confess didn’t do much for me visually. Kind of boring, really. It was seeing a VERY young girl — I’m guessing maybe eight years old — at this opera. She appeared to be with her grandmother. Would you think to bring a child to Salome? Seems like a poor decision to me.


  1. The newspaper web site apparently is preparing to post an article saying it was Molly Fillmore. Molly Dill is shown on line as having worked as a production assistant earlier this year at Houston Opera. We agree that we heard David say Molly Dill.
    Phoenix Opera apparently is opening Salome with Molly within 3 weeks, but no advertising is posted yet, and their preliminary press releases showed another soloist.
    This was our first visit to SF opera, and first Salome, live or otherwise. Molly and all the others definitely made it worth the trip. She earned the applause given at David’s announcement and at the end. An amazing performance for a lesser known star who hadn’t rehearsed with the company.
    We didn’t hear any noises from the audience during the performance up in the balcony; this was the quietest audience I ever saw at opera. Not that my opera-going experience is worthy of a former classmate of Jimmy Levine and colleague of Kathy Battle before she got her opera teeth.
    The only slight distraction was a few ill-behaved German-speaking members of the audience. Much German and Italian heard.

  2. Which newspaper, do you know? Guess I’ll google and see if I can read more about this. I sure wonder what happened to the original Salome.