20 Oct 2008
STRAUSS: Salome — Covent Garden 2008
Salome, Musikdrama in one act.
Le Cid, Opéra in 4 acts
I puritani, opera seria in three acts
Zaira, Tragedia lirica in two acts.
Athalia: Oratorio (sacred drama) in 3 acts
Lucrezia Borgia: Melodramma in a prologue and two acts.
La Esmeralda: Opéra in four acts.
Ernani: Dramma lirico in four parts.
Oberst Chabert (Colonel Chabert): Tragic opera in 3 acts.
Otello: Dramma lirico in four acts.
Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Arrigo Boito after The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice by William Shakespeare.
Le Marchand de Venise (“The Merchant of Venice”): Opéra in three acts.
Gli Equivoci (The Comedy of Errors): Opera in two acts.
Der Sturm: Opera in three acts
The Fairy-Queen: Semi-opera in five acts.
Macbeth: Melodramma in quattro parti.
Das Liebesverbot: Grosse komische Oper in two acts.
Falstaff: Commedia lirica in three acts.
Hamlet: Opéra in five acts.
Music composed by Ambroise Thomas. Libretto by Michel Carré and Jules Barbier after The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare.
Otello, ossia Il moro di Venezia (‘Othello, or The Moor of Venice’): Dramma in three acts.
Béatrice et Bénédict: Opéra comique in two acts
Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor (The Merry Wives of Windsor), a comical-fantastical opera in three acts with dance.
Salome, Musikdrama in one act.
Music composed by Richard Strauss. Libretto by the composer based on Hedwig Lachmann’s German translation of Oscar Wilde’s play
First Performance: 9 December 1905, Hofoper, Dresden
|Herodes, Tetrach of Judea||Tenor|
|Herodias, wife of the Tetrach||Mezzo-Soprano|
|Salome, daughter of Herodias||Soprano|
|Jochanaan, a prophet||Baritone|
|Narraboth, a young Syrian||Tenor|
|5 Jews||4 Tenors, 1 Bass|
|2 Nazarenes||Tenor, Bass|
|A Slave||Silent Role|
Setting: Palace of Herod at Tiberias, Galilee, c. 30 C.E.
Narraboth, the Captain of Herod’s guard, is fascinated by the princess Salome’s beauty. When she enters onto the palace terrace the voice of the prophet Jokanaan is heard from the cistern where he is imprisoned. She orders him to be raised up and Narraboth eventually surrenders to her will and disobeys Herod’s decree. Jokanaan emerges into the moonlight and denounces the incestuous union of Herod and Salome’s mother Herodias and demands that Salome repents and follows Christ. Equally apalled and mesmerised she is increasingly overcome by desire, praising his body, hair and mouth. Narraboth is distraught and kills himself, but Salome steps over his body in pursuit of her passion. Jokanaan curses her and returns to his prison. Herod emerges from the palace with Herodias, seeking Salome who ignores his advances. Stepping in Narraboth’s blood — a bad omen — he seeks relief from his nightmare visions. The voice of Jokanaan is heard again and Herodias demands that he be delivered to the Jews, provoking a religious debate about the true nature of the prophet and of Christ himself. Herod’s attention is solely focused on Salome who he begs to dance for him and swears an oath to grant her any wish. She performs the Dance of the Seven Veils and tells the horrified Herod that her payment will be the head of the prophet. She waits nervously at the edge of the cistern until the executioner delivers her prize on a silver platter. She ecstatically kisses Jokanaan’s lips, achieving fulfilment at last. In disgust, Herod orders her death.