You don't have to see flesh to realize that Warren's Salome is determined to get what she wants. There's also no mistaking the real impulse behind Salome's sudden willingness to grant her stepfather's request. "Herod thinks it's all about him," the singer says, "But it's really all about Jochanaan, [the name given to John the Baptist in the opera, as well as in Wilde's play]."
Trujillo has Warren direct much of her dancing at Jochanaan, confined beneath the grated lid of a cistern that is the focal point of the raked stage. As Wilde imagined it, and as Strauss intensified it, the entire drama revolves around Salome's unexpected, uncontrollable attraction to the mysterious prophet who spouts curses at her mother and at Herod.
"Little sounds in the dance are a part of Salome's psychology," Trujillo says. "She is discovering her sexuality and the power of that. So the dance has to help the storytelling; that's the most important thing."
Warren has been in some productions that stretched that storytelling a wee bit. "You can't imagine the gamut of dances I've done," she says. "One staging had Herod dress me in different outfits - school girl, Marilyn Monroe, belly dancer. It was clear that Salome had been abused by him for many years, which was really fascinating."
Even in a basically traditional production like Baltimore Opera's, all sorts of uncomfortable issues are raised by the sight of a virginal princess playing up to a dirty old man in order to get a holy man's head on a plate. "It [allows] us to see into Salome's eyes and her plotting," Trujillo says. The way he has choreographed the dance for Warren, "when the music becomes very beautiful, Salome becomes very ugly."
The whole opera - musically, theatrically - presents a continual contrast between the beautiful and the repulsive, a dichotomy that has kept Salome whirling seductively into the imagination for nearly 100 years.
Where: Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave.
When: 8:15 p.m. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. March 17, 8:15 p.m. March 19, 3 p.m. March 21
Tickets: $37 to $132
Call: 410-727-6000 or visit www.baltimoreopera.com