2012-2013 SALOME
(CINDERELLA)by Gioachino Rossini


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“Salome, drawn from a play by Oscar Wilde, who based it on the story in the Gospel of Matthew, is a searing one-act drama of about 100 minutes, set to an astonishing, vivid score that creepily conjures up the decadence of the court and the ecstasy of Salome’s infatuation with John, here called Jochanaan.” – Palm Beach Post

In the depraved court of Salome’s stepfather Herod, the nubile Salome performs the wanton “Dance of the Seven Veils” only to demand that he show his gratitude by rewarding her with the head of John the Baptist who rejected her advances.  Erika Sunnegårdh, one of the most versatile and exciting sopranos on the world stage, performs the title role along with several other important artists making their company or role debuts.

How do you opera?

Are you tired of doing the same old thing every date night? Why not step outside of the box and add Salome to your evening plans? It’s just 90 minutes, so you can enjoy dinner and drinks before or after Strauss’ gripping drama.
So you’ve never seen an opera?  Maybe you have reservations about it?  Salome is the perfect introduction.  It’s only 90 minutes and will keep you on the edge of your seat.  Go on, give it a try.  It’s a show you won’t forget.
If you’re looking for a fun night on the town without doing damage to your bank account, we can help! Tickets to the 90-minute, action-packed Salome start at just $20 and you can sit in the Orchestra level for just $50. That’s not that much more than you would spend to go to a movie these days.
It’s a  deal you won’t want to miss. Show your Salome tickets at Bistro Ten Zero One either before or after the show and get a delicious three course meal for only $25 per person (not including tax and gratuity). The icing on the cake? The restaurant provides free transportation to and from the Kravis Center so you can avoid all parking garage frustrations.

Since her critically acclaimed operatic debut in 2004 in the role of Turandot at the Malmö Opera, Swedish-American soprano Erika Sunnegårdh has been establishing herself not only as one of the most versatile and exciting sopranos on the world stage, but also earning a reputation for her fearless and emotionally nuanced characterizations, and her intelligent and consummate musicianship. Ms. Sunnegårdh has been particularly successful singing music of Strauss, Beethoven and Puccini, performing the roles of Chrysotemis at the Grand Teâtre Genève; Salome with the Bayerische Staatsoper, Teatro Communale di Bologna, Welsh National Opera, the Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona and with Florentine Opera in Milwaukee; Leonore in Fidelioat Oper Frankfurt, the Metropolitan Opera and theFlorentine Opera; Tosca at the Oper Frankfurt, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Nashville Opera; andTurandot with the Metropolitan Opera, and in Sweden at the Malmö Opera and Norrlandsoperan using the Berio-ending. Other notable interpretations include Senta in Der Fliegende Holländer with Atlanta Opera; and Paulina in the world premiere of Jonas Forssell’s Death and the Maiden in Malmö. In Wagner’s Die Walküre, Ms. Sunnegårdh has sung Helmwige (Aix-en-Provence/Salzburg) and Gerhilde (Met Tour/Japan). In concert she has performed with the Auckland Philharmonic, Danish Radio Sinfonietta, Danish Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, Malmö Symphony, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Milwaukee Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony, and the percussion ensemble Kroumata; singing repertore incuding the Verdi Requiem, Rossini Stabat Mater, Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, as well as opera in concert and newly commissioned works. Erika has had the pleasure and privilege of working with Marco Armiliato, Giordano Bellincampi, Semyon Bychkov, Paolo Carignani, Myung Wun Chung, James Conlon, Andreas Delfs, Gustavo Dudamel, Christoff Eschenbach, Adam Fischer, Lothar Koenigs, Fabio Luisi, Nicola Luisotti, Alan Gilbert, Gianandrea Noseda, Kirill Petrenko, Sir Simon Rattle, Stefan Soltesz, Thomas Søndergaard, Mario Venzago and Steven White. Prior to embarking on an operatic career, Ms Sunnegårdh spent a considerable amount of time on both the contemporary and recital repertoire performing songs and chamber music by Argento, Berkeley, Birtwistle, Dallapiccola, Diamond, Harbison, Henze, Messiaen, Bruce Saylor, Howard Fredricks, and also song cycles written for her by Hiromi Abe and Ronald Roseman. In the recital repertoire she is particularly drawn to German, Spanish, Swedish, and American composers, and hopes to be able to continue exploring the more intimate setting of recital hall performance. During her education she attended the Israel Vocal Arts Institute, Tanglewood Music Center, the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies, The International Institute of Vocal Arts, as well as the undergraduate program at the Manhattan School of Music; all on scholarship. In 1999 Erika completed her Master of Arts degree at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College after two profoundly inspiring and healing years there – an experience to which she credits much of her present success. Ms. Sunnegårdh is a recipient of the annual Cultural Award of the American Scandinavian Society, for the promotion of Scandinavian Culture in the United States. In 1999 she founded In time with Music, a community outreach program which benefited hundreds of public school children in Queens, New York.

American bass-baritone Ryan McKinny has been praised for his “elegant and articulate” vocalism (OC Register), as well as a powerful voice that “drips with gold.”   (Opera News) In the 2011 – 2012 season, Mr. McKinny will make his Metropolitan Opera debut as Lieutenant Ratcliffe in Billy Budd.  Other highlights include his role debut as Jochanaan in Salome New Orleans Opera and a return to Oper Leipzig as Hercules in Alceste.  He is also a member of the ensemble at the Deutsche Oper Berlin where his roles include Peter in Hänsel und Gretel, Escamillo in Carmen, Un Frate in a new production of Don Carlounder Donald Runnicles, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, bass soloist in a staged version of Verdi’s Messa da requiem, and Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia.  On the concert stage, Mr. McKinny returned to the Los Angeles Philharmonic to sing the lead role of The Entertainer in the world premiere of Shostakovich’s uncompleted opera Orango under Esa-Pekka Salonen with stage direction by Peter Sellars.  He also debuted with the Cleveland Orchestra in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under Jahja Ling. Next season, Mr. McKinny will make a major role debut as Kurwenal in Christof Loy’s production of Tristan und Isolde at Houston Grand Opera.  He will also debut at Theater Basel as Nathanael in the world premiere Andrea Lorenzo Scartazzini’s Der Sandmann in a production by Christof Loy, as well as debut as the Canadian Opera Company as Melot in Peter Sellars’s Tristan und Isolde under Jiří Bělohlávek and Palm Beach Opera as Jochanaan in Salome. Future seasons will see him at the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, English National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, and Deutsche Oper Berlin. Recently, Mr. McKinny debuted at the English National Opera as Tiridate in David Alden’s production of Radamisto to great acclaim.  He also debuted at Semperoper Dresden and Hamburg State Opera as Escamillo in Carmen, Deutsche Oper am Rhein for his role debut as Amfortas in Parsifal, and returned to Oper Leipzig for the revival of Gluck’s Alceste. Mr. McKinny was recently seen at Houston Grand Opera as the Herald in Lohengrin conducted by Patrick Summers.  He was then heard at Los Angeles Opera in two new roles:  Leone in Handel’s Tamerlano with Plácido Domingo and Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia.  In the spring of 2010, Mr. McKinny made his European operatic debut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Escamillo in Carmen, as well as Hercules in Peter Konwitschny’s new production of Alcestefor Oper Leipzig.  He also performed the bass-baritone roles in Oedipus Rex for his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas and with the Sydney Festival in Sydney, Australia under the direction of Peter Sellars.  Mr. McKinny was also heard in a special recital of Schubert’s Die Winterreise during the Sydney Festival, which was broadcast on ABC, Australia’s public radio. In previous seasons, Ryan McKinny sang the roles of Creon, Tiresias, and the Messenger in Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in his final concerts as Music Director and staged by Peter Sellars. He also made his debut with Utah Symphony & Opera as Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro and returned to the Aspen Music Festival for a recital recreated on a program originally performed by Jerome Hines in June 1949.  Mr. McKinny was recently heard at Houston Grand Opera as Don Pedro in Béatrice et Bénédict and Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Other performance have included Sam in Un ballo in maschera and Flint in Billy Budd at Houston Grand Opera, as well as Montano in Otello and Ein Bedentier in Ullmann’s Der zerbrochene Krug, both under the baton of James Conlon for his debut with Los Angeles Opera.  He was seen at Wolf Trap Opera as Barone di Kelbar in Verdi’s early opera Un giorno di regno and Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro with Berkshire Opera.  In concert, he was heard as bass-baritone soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the National Symphony Orchestra and Zuniga in a concert performance of Carmen with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. An alumnus of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Mr. McKinny has performed a number of roles on the mainstage at HGO, including Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Ramfis in Aida, Peter in Hänsel und Gretel, Masetto in Don Giovanni, Zuniga in Carmen, and Pietro in Simon Boccanegra.  In November 2006, he sang the role of Der Tod in Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis conducted by Maestro Conlon with the Jewish Community Center of Houston (in partnership with Houston Grand Opera).  He also previously sang this role with Maestro Conlon at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival and at the Spoleto Festival in Italy.  In the summer of 2006, Mr. McKinny sang Le Gouverneur in Rossini’s Le comte Ory and Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro at Wolf Trap Opera. Mr. McKinny made his Carnegie Hall debut in December 2004 in Handel’s Messiah with the Musica Sacra Orchestra.  At the Aspen Music Festival in 2007, he sang his first performance of Winterreise accompanied on the piano by Richard Bado.  He has also been heard as soloist in the Mozart, Brahms, and Fauré Requiems as well as Vaughan Williams’s Dona nobis pacem.  Additionally, he sang the world premiere of Henrik Strindberg’s I Thought Someone Came By at New York’s Alice Tully Hall in 2004. Mr. McKinny was recently the first recipient of the Birgit Nilsson Prize for singing Wagner at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia Competition held at Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the Kirsten Flagstad/George London Award from the George London Foundation.  He also represented the United States in the 2007 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, where he was a finalist in the Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize.  He was a Grand Finalist in the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was featured in the film The Audition recently released by Decca on DVD.

Thomas Moser has recently added the role of Herodes in Strauss’Salome to his repertoire, a role which he has most successfully performed at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London (released on DVD and Blu-ray), at the Paris Opera, Peking,Toulouse and the Vienna State Opera, where he will return in the same part in the 2012-2013 season. In 2013 he will be making his debut with Palm Beach Opera in the same role. Planned new roles include Aegist in Strauss’ Elektra, Aschenbach in Britten’sDeath in Venice, Loge in Wagner’s Das Rheingold, Hauptmann in Berg’s Wozzeck and Schuisky in Boris Godunov. Born in the United States of America, Thomas Moser has been an Austrian citizen since 1992. Following completion of his university studies, he became a student of Martial Singher at the renowned Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and The Music Academy of the West, in Santa Barbara, California. He participated in Masterclasses under the tutelage of Singher, Lotte Lehmann and Gérard Souzay.  His first opera engagement was 1974 at the Graz Opera im Austria. In 1976, he made his debut at the Vienna State Opera where he was a company member until 1991. In Vienna he has interpreted leading roles in a great variety of operas by Mozart, Strauss, Wagner and other composers. Since 1977, Moser is a regular guest on the stages of all the world´s best known opera theatres, such as the Metropolitan Opera, the Teatro alla Scala di Milano, the Opéra de Paris, the Covent Garden Opera London, the Salzburg Summer and Easter Festivals, Chicago and San Francisco. From the early 90s on, Thomas Moser gradually extended his repertoire and made successful debuts in German dramatic roles such as Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio, Wagner’s Erik in Der fliegende Holländer,LohengrinParsifal as well as Bacchus in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and Emperor in Die Frau ohne Schatten.  In 2003 he sang his first Tristan in Vienna in an acclaimed production of Tristan und Isolde conducted by Christian Thielemann at the Vienna State Opera that was also released on CD by Deutsche Grammophon. Thomas Moser’s repertoire also encompasses important roles in French opera, such as the title roles in Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust, Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann, and Don José in Bizet’s Carmen. He is also noted for his portrayals in classic and contemporary modern music, such as the tenor role in Berio’s Un re in ascolto, which he created at the Salzburg Summer Festival 1985 or Aron in Schönberg’s Moses und Aron. Moser has also made his mark in such complex roles as Pfitzner’s Palestrina and Paul in Korngold’s Die tote Stadt.  Thomas Moser has had the privilege of working with the most famous conductors – Bernstein, Böhm, Abbado, Muti, Solti, Mehta, Levine, Rudel, Leinsdorf, Metzmacher, von Dohnanyi, Sir Colin Davis, Harnoncourt, Schneider, Sinopoli, Gatti, Armin and Philippe Jordan, to name only a few.  He has also made a name for himself in concert and Lied repertoire, and has been a guest in the most famous concert halls worldwide. Moser has recorded for all of the major labels of our time. He is a sought-after instructor, has given Masterclasses in the USA as well as in Europe and is often engaged as a juror for international singing competitions. Thomas Moser has been named Kammersänger by both the Vienna and the Bavarian State Opera. He is also honorary member of the Vienna State Opera and was awarded the coveted Premio Franco Abbiati for his interpretation of Florestan at La Scala.

Recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents. Her career has taken her to the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence, and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals as well as delight audiences in concert and recital appearances. Denyce Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Ms. Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence. Ms. Graves appears regularly on radio and television as a musical performer, celebrity guest, and as the subject of documentaries and other special programming. Denyce Graves is a native of Washington, D.C., where she attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She continued her education at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory.

American tenor Nathaniel Peake, a 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Winner, has been admired for “his ringing tone and effortless phrasing” (San Francisco Chronicle).  The Lansing State Journal awarded him with a “Thespie” award for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of the title role of Bernstein’s Candide.  In a recent production of L’Amico Fritz, Mr. Peake was lauded for his “brilliant performance in the title role, deploying a clarion tone that moved as deftly through the graceful ease of Act 1 as through the more emotionally urgent writing of the latter acts.” (San Francisco Chronicle). An exciting season for 2011-2012 includes a return to the San Francisco Opera as Tamino in Mozart’sThe Magic Flute, a new production by Jun Kaneko, conducted by Rory Macdonald, and debuts with Seattle Opera as Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor at Minnesota Opera.  Mr. Peake will return to Syracuse Opera in a role debut as Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata and to Wolf Trap Opera for his title role debut in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmannand as Pirelli in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Nathaniel Peake began the 2010-2011 season performing Pinkerton in a new production of Madama Butterfly at Houston Grand Opera as well as Scaramuccio in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, Arturo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.  He also presented a recital at the Morgan Library with legendary mezzo soprano Dolora Zajick as part of The George London Foundation recital series.  In the summer of 2010, Mr. Peake was seen on the stages Wolf Trap Opera as Sultan Soliman in Mozart’s Zaide, Albazar in Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia, and Snout in Britten’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream.  He also performed in concert with the National Symphony Orchestra.  In 2008 and 2009, Nathaniel Peake was in the San Francisco Opera Merola program, performing the title role of Mascagni’s L’Amico Fritz in addition to scenes from La TraviataManonWerther, and Rigoletto.  In fall of 2009, he made his HGO debut in the role of Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore. Mr. Peake was also seen at Syracuse Opera as the Second Priest/Amored Man in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Don José in Peter Brook’s La Tragédie de Carmen, and Tybalt in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. Nathaniel Peake has won several awards in competitions from, The George London Foundation (2010), The Metropolitan Opera National Council (2010), The Richard Tucker Foundation (2010), Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition (2010), The National Opera Association (2009), The Eleanor McCollum Vocal Competition (2009), and many more. Mr. Peake hails from Humble, Texas, and is a graduate of Michigan State University.  Nathaniel credits his family for a large part of his success, as they continue to support him unwaveringly.

Roberto Paternostro studied under Hans Swarowsky, György Ligeti and Christoph von Dohnányi, 1978 to 1984 he was assistant of Herbert von Karajan. He appeared at the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Semperoper Dresden and Teatro La Fenice. 1997-2007 he was General Music Director of the State Theatre in Kassel (Germany) with acclaimed new productions of Wagner, Verdi and Richard Strauss. In the field of symphonic repertoire outstanding performances with the HR-Symphony Orchestra Frankfurt, Munich Philharmonic, NHK-Symphony Orchestra Toyko, amongst others. Discography: Wagner’s “Ring“, Verdi’s “Simone Boccanegra“, Bruckner’s symphonies and Mahler’s 4th and 9th symphonies. In 2009 Roberto Paternostro was announced as Artistic Director of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, in July 2011 concerts in Bayreuth and Italy – with the orchestra’s first performance of a work by Richard Wagner. In 2010/11 successful debuts in Cincinnati and the Prague State Opera (Aida), “Carmen” in Vienna, Budapest (Mahler 3) and the premiere of “Rigoletto” at the Teatro Bellini Catania. In October 2012 Paternostro conducted the Akademiekonzerte Mannheim and received the ECHO Klassik Award in Berlin. In November 2012 he conducted the world premiere of the „Colón-Ring“ – Richard Wagner’s tetralogy at the Teatro Colón, followed by concerts in Milan, Tel Aviv, Vienna and Richard Strauss’s “Salome“ at the Palm Beach Opera.

Trained musician Renaud Doucet started his career as soloist dancer, ballet master and choreographer in international dance companies. In parallel he was also featured as an actor in various movies and TV series. In 2000 he joins forces with set & costume designer Andre Barbe with whom he created over 30 opera & musical productions.  Among others Cendrillon, Benvenuto Cellini & Iphigénie en Aulide at l’Opéra National du Rhin (France), Pénélope by Fauré & Si j’étais roi by Adam at the Wexford Festival Opera (Ireland), Cendrillon at the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe (Germany), New York City Opera, L’Opéra de Montréal & l’Opéra de Marseille, Pelléas et Mélisande and The rape of Lucretia at l’Opéra de Montréal,  Thaïs at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Kentucky Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria & l’Opéra de Montréal, the Viennese premiere of The Sound of Music & Turandot at the Vienna Volksoper (Austria), Les Contes d’Hoffmann at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Opera Colorado, Boston Lyric Opera & Florida Grand Opera, Samson & Dalila at the Royal Swedish Opera, Manon at the Scottish Opera,  Lucia di Lammermmor – Il Barbiere di Siviglia – Pagliacci & Suor Angelica – Carmen at Florida Grand Opera and most recently Rusalka at the Vienna Volksoper, La Cenerentola at the Hamburg Staatsoper, Turandot at Seattle Opera and Die Feen in co-productions with the Leipzig Opera and the Bayreuth Festival to open the bicentennial celebrations of Richard Wagner. Future projects include Turandot at Minnesota Opera, Cincinnati Opera and Utah Opera, Thérèse La Navarraise at the Wexford Festival Opera, Don Pasquale at Scottish Opera, La Belle Hélène at the Hamburg Staatsoper, Manon at Malmö Opera, The Wizzard of Oz at the Vienna Volksoper and Les Contes d’Hoffmann at Oper Bonn and the Vienna Volksoper.

From the moonlit terrace of Herodes’s palace, Narraboth, captain of the guard, gazes rapturously inside at the Princess Salome, who is feasting with her stepfather, the Tetrarch Herodes, and his court. A Page warns him not to stare so intently, lest something terrible happen. The voice of the prophet Jochanaan proclaims the Messiah’s greatness, echoing from a deep cistern, where he has been imprisoned by the tetrarch; two Soldiers comment on the prophet’s kindness and Herodes’s fear of him. Salome, bored with Herodes’s lecherous glances and his coarse guests, rushes out to the terrace for some fresh air. She becomes curious when she hears Jochanaan curse Herodias, her mother. When the guards refuse to let her speak to Jochanaan, Salome turns her wiles on Narraboth, who orders that Jochanaan be allowed to come forth. Salome is fascinated by the prophet’s deathly pallor and pours out her uncontrollable desire to touch him. The prophet rejects her, speaking of the Son of God who will come to save mankind. When Salome continues to beg for Jochanaan’s kiss, Narraboth stabs himself in horror, and the prophet descends into the cistern, cursing the girl. She collapses in frustration and longing.

Looking for Salome, Herodes appears, followed by his court; remarking on the strange shape of the moon, he slips in Narraboth’s blood and, unnerved, is visited by hallucinations. Herodias scornfully dismisses his fantasies and suggests they withdraw. Herodes’s thoughts turn to Salome, who spurns his attentions. Jochanaan’s subterranean voice again is heard harassing Herodias, who demands that Herodes turn the prophet over to the Jews. Herodes refuses, maintaining Jochanaan is a holy man. His words incur an argument among the Jews concerning the nature of God, and a narrative of Christ’s miracles by two Nazarenes. As Jochanaan continues his denunciation, the queen furiously demands his silence. Herodes begs Salome to divert him by dancing and offers her anything she might wish in return. Salome makes him swear he will live up to his promise, then dances, shedding veils and finishing at Herodes’s feet. She shocks the tetrarch by asking for the head of Jochanaan on a silver platter. She is refused by the horrified Herodes, but Herodias laughs approvingly. In desperation, Herodes offers alternatives — jewels, rare birds, the sacred veil of the Temple. But Salome persists until the terrified tetrarch finally gives in. As an executioner goes down into the cistern, Salome peers impatiently over the edge. At last an arm is thrust from the cistern, offering the head to Salome.

As clouds obscure the moon, Salome seizes her reward passionately, addressing Jochanaan as if he lived and triumphantly kissing his lips. Overcome with revulsion, Herodes orders the soldiers to kill Salome. They crush her beneath their shields.

© Copyright 2012 Metropolitan Opera Guild, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

Richard Strauss’s resolutely Wagnerian first opera, Guntram (1894), failed. His next, a fair success, was Feuersnot (1901), in which he hit upon two of his most effective devices, satire and shock. His setting of Oscar Wilde’s play Salomé two years later marks Strauss’s emergence as a mature opera composer. Symphonic in concept and orchestral treatment, it has a tone-poem-like structure that intensifies the play’s aura.

Since the Biblical story of Herod’s stepdaughter is brief, writers have interpreted it in various ways. In one version, Massenet’s Hérodiade, Salome becomes a heroine, dancing to save John the Baptist rather than to undo him. Wilde’s text is “modern” in not making the story into a religious morality play, which until his time was standard procedure with Bible stories, if they were allowed onstage at all. His Salome is notable for her rapid development from seeming naïveté to overt degeneration.

The first performance took place at the Dresden Royal Opera on December 9, 1905, with Marie Wittich in the title role and Ernst von Schuch on the podium. In the first American appearance ofSalome, at the Met on January 22, 1907, the intended coup of general manager Heinrich Conried turned into a debacle: revulsion in influential circles led to the opera’s being dropped after a single performance. Olive Fremstad (“a sleek tigress”) sang the title role.

© Copyright 2012 Metropolitan Opera Guild, Inc. Reprinted with permission.


Understand every word with English translations projected above the stage.
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