Rest assured: this isn't just a cheesy attempt to make opera more appealing to reluctant businessmen dragged to performances by their wives. The Lyric, as reported in yesterday's Chicago Tribune, is looking for "performers with belly-dance experience" for its new Francesca Zambello production of Salome (October 21-November 21).
Auditions, scheduled for Saturday, August 26, are open to all body types over 5'2" tall, though classical and/or contemporary dance training is preferred, as is acting experience. Potential candidates are alerted that "the choreography may include topless and/or partially nude sequences."
It's hardly surprising when you think about it: if staged more or less as written, Richard Strauss's setting of Oscar Wilde's overheated Orientalist extravaganza would seem to cry out for Little Egypt and Fatima. (Remember them?)
One can't help wondering if the dancers selected will be coaching their newly-svelte colleague Deborah Voigt ...