I agree that it's too bad we do not have the 2004 performance, which I didn't see, so I can't compare it to this one. But I was in the audience at this performance, and it was absolutely gripping. You couldn't turn your head away from Karita Matilla, even when others were singing. She was in constant motion, feline, playful, a little out of control. When she stripped, it was more sensual live than what comes across with this camerawork. At the climactic moment, I have to confess I had my opera glasses trained on her, and believe me, her body is still quite beautiful. As for her singing, I felt that the warmth of her more mature voice, together with the slight strain at the top, just added to the intensity of her performance. This strange guy (Jochanan) just drove her out of her mind, making her go far beyond where a spoiled brat princess should go. I felt the Jochanan was good, but I agree, it would have been better if he were more physically attractive, as I've seen in other productions. Kim Begley as Herod sang very clearly (I could understand much of his German), with much less barking than in other productions. Herodias was a bit over the top, but it worked. As for the orchestra, I very much liked the sound on this dvd, although it can never sound as good as it did in the house. As others have pointed out, none of the available dvd versions is perfect, so just enjoy what's good about each of them (if you have the time and the money!).