STRAUSS: Salome — Covent Garden 2008

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


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.

Source: Boosey & Hawkes

here for the complete libretto.

image_description=Salome with the Head of John the Baptist by Titian (1550)
first_audio_name=Richard Strauss: Salome
product_title=Richard Strauss: Salome
product_by=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.