It’s a juxtaposition to send the imagination into overdrive: Al Pacino and Salomé.
And they’ll both be in Santa Fe on July 19 — Pacino in person and the character of Salomé on screen, just one day after the Richard Strauss opera of the same name opens locally.
The event results from a collaboration between the Center for Contemporary Arts Cinematheque and the Santa Fe Opera, which since 2008 have worked to coordinate films on the CCA screen with the opera’s summer season.
Pacino, known for his roles in movies such as “The Godfather” series, “Scarface,” “Serpico” and “Scent of a Woman” (for which he won an Oscar for best actor), played King Herod and directed a film, “Salomé,” from a staged version of the Oscar Wilde play of the same name.
Here’s the line-up for the July 19 event, Exploring Salomé:
“Wilde Salomé,” a film about the making of Pacino’s “Salomé,” will be screened at 3:30 p.m., followed by a 5 p.m. reception, screening of Pacino’s “Salomé” at 5:45 p.m. and an onstage interview with Pacino at 7:15 p.m., all at the CCA, 1050 Old Pecos Trail. Tickets are $75, which support the film programming in conjunction with the Opera. Call 982-1338 or go to www.ccasantafe.org to buy tickets.
The event has its roots in discussions between the CCA and Opera two years ago about what films to link with their 2015 season. In discussing “Salomé” at the time, said Cinematheque director Jason Silverman, he noted that Pacino was just wrapping up filming and suggested trying to get that film.
“When we contacted the producers, they expressed interest in coming out the opening weekend” of the opera, he said. “We kept working on it — and here he comes.”
Al Pacino and Jessica Chastain are shown in a scene from “Salome.” (Courtesy photo)
Asked if Pacino will be at the opening night of “Salomé” at the opera, Silverman said he was not at liberty to discuss the actor’s schedule while he’s in Santa Fe.
“For Al and Barry (Navidi, the producer), it’s about helping audiences understand the power of Salomé,” Silverman added.
Jessica Chastain plays the title role in Pacino’s film, which stemmed from a staged version of Wilde’s play at the Wadsworth Theatre in Los Angeles.
Pacino has been quoted as saying that he was trying to merge play and film.
“The mediums can collide and my hope is to have them unify so that you’re seeing pure theater on film,” he said. “To make that hybrid effective has been my goal: to have the more naturalistic photogenic qualities of film complement the language-drive essence of theater.”
In a news release, Pacino said, “Years ago I was in England and saw Steven Berkoff’s production of Salomé. It was the most arresting, powerful, beautiful thing that I had seen in years. It really struck me. The odd thing was I didn’t know it was Oscar Wilde who wrote it. It wasn’t the Oscar Wilde I knew, famous for some of the greatest comedies ever written.
“I performed the play with Robert Ackerman in New York at the Circle in the Square uptown in full regalia, full costume and eye makeup. It was a very creative experience for me. I did it again on Broadway with Marisa Tomei in 2003. She was great, she did a great dance.
“But even after that I couldn’t let it go. I wanted to know more about Oscar Wilde… Oscar Wilde was a genius, but he was also someone who alienated people of his time, he was really put through the ringer in his life. I don’t know why I would identify with Wilde, but I do…
“He went out on a limb and took courageous leaps into the unknown