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FeaturedOperas

Salome with the Head of John the Baptist by Titian (1550)
20 Oct 2008

STRAUSS: Salome — Covent Garden 2008

Salome, Musikdrama in one act.

Streaming Audio

Richard Strauss: Salome

Salome (Nadja Michael)
Herodias (Michaela Schuster)
Page to Herodias (Daniela Sindram)
Herod (Thomas Moser)
Narraboth (Joseph Kaiser)
Jokanaan (Michael Volle)
First Nazarene (Iain Paterson)
Second Nazarene (Andrew Mayor)
First Soldier (Christian Sist)
Second Soldier (Alan Ewing)
First Jew (Adrian Thompson)
Second Jew (Martyn Hill)
Third Jew (Hubert Francis)
Fourth Jew (Ji-Min Park)
Fifth Jew (Jeremy White)
A Cappadocian (Vuyani Mlinde)
Slave (Pumeza Matshikiza).

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Philippe Jordan (cond.)

Live performance, February 2008, Royal Opera House, London.

 

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

Principal Characters:
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
A Page Alto
5 Jews 4 Tenors, 1 Bass
2 Nazarenes Tenor, Bass
2 Soldiers Basses
A Cappadocian Bass
A Slave Silent Role

Setting: Palace of Herod at Tiberias, Galilee, c. 30 C.E.

Synopsis:

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.

[Synopsis Source: Boosey & Hawkes]

Click here for the complete libretto.

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