Amanda Seyfried stars as director tackling gory Strauss opera ‘Salome’ in new film
23 January 2024, 14:39 | Updated: 25 January 2024, 16:46
Richard Strauss’ gruesome operatic epic ‘Salome’ is centre stage in a new feature film, starring Amanda Seyfried as the opera’s director.
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A new film is coming about German composer Richard Strauss’ sensational opera Salome, in which stagehands, director and back-up singers alike will all be “aspiring to use the production to enhance their careers”.
Seven Veils is directed by Atom Egoyan, and will star Hollywood actor Amanda Seyfried (The Dropout, Mamma Mia) in the lead role of the opera director. Seyfried plays Jeanine, who has been given the enormous task of reviving her former mentor’s most famous work.
Based on the name of the opera’s most famous dance, Seven Veils will show at the 2024 Berlin Film Festival.
When it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, Egoyan, who worked with Seyfried on 2009 thriller film Chloe, said: “Amanda is a phenomenal actress, and here she brilliantly plays a woman dealing with complex and explosive relationships in her past, present, and future.”
Strauss based his opera on the play by Oscar Wilde, which centres on the Bible story of the martyrdom of John the Baptist. Salome went down a storm with audiences and Strauss’ contemporaries, at its 1905 premiere. Mahler described it as “a live volcano, a subterranean fire”.
Read more: The 20 greatest operas ever written
Egoyan is a Canadian filmmaker who has also directed several operas – the first of which was Salome, on stage with the Canadian Opera Company in 1996.
“I first produced Salome for the Canadian Opera Company almost 30 years ago and have been haunted by its themes,” Egoyan said.
“This is a project I’ve been dreaming about for years and it’s such a thrill to be reunited with Amanda after the amazing experience we had together making Chloe.”
Speaking about the feature film’s plot, he said: “It begins to imagine scenes outside of the production, dealing with all the back-up singers, the understudies, the assistants, who are all aspiring to use this production to enhance their careers.
“It also reflects on their own personal obsessions, their own sense of longing, their own sense of dealing with a past that might be traumatic as well.”
The cast of Seven Veils also features Rebecca Liddiard (Fargo), and Douglas Smith (Big Little Lies).
While we have often heard opera used for dramatic effect in film soundtracks – from Mascagni’s Intermezzo in Raging Bull to Giordano’s ‘La mamma morta’ in Philadelphia – it isn’t typical for opera to be the main subject.
Seven Veils follows a surge in production and popularity of films centred around the world of classical music and opera stages, from Cate Blanchett’s Tár to Bradley Cooper’s biopic about the American maestro Leonard Bernstein.
On his upcoming film, Egoyan said: “It gave me pause to reflect as an artist what it means to be going back to this material many years later, and using the structure of film, to complement this core story that came to us from the Bible – that then inspired Oscar Wilde, that then inspired Ricard Strauss, [and now] has inspired this production.”
There is currently no trailer or release date yet for Seven Veils.