Home > Salome
First performed December 9, 1905.
Libretto by the Composer (in German),
after Lachmann's translation of Oscar Wilde.
|Around 30 A.D., in King Herod’s palace in Jerusalem, Princess, Salome,
who is a daughter of Herodias, and is the stepdaughter of Herod. King Herod
killed his brother who is a father of Salome, and married Herodias who
is the wife of his brother.
Herod leered at Salome, so she escapes to the grounds
when it’s a full moon. She heard a weird voice from beneath the ground. This
voice is the prophet Jochanaan’s who was confined to an old well by King Herod.
Salome is interested in this voice, and she orders Narraboth, who is a
young captain of the guard, to open the cover of the well. Disregarding
the fact that opening the well is prohibited, Narraboth opens it for the
Jochanaan appears at the mouth of the old well. He condemns Herodias’s
marriage to Herod. And, he is not interested in Salome at all. When Salome
begs for Jochanaan's kiss, he returns to the old well.
King Herod and Herodias also come to the grounds. Herod always leered at
his stepdaughter, Salome. He orders her to dance, but she refuses to. Herod
tells Salome that if she dances here for him, he will give her what she
So, Salome dances for Herod, and gradually sheds her seven veils.
King Herod is satisfied with her dance, and asks her what she wants. Salome
wants the head of Jochanaan on a silver platter. Herodias is pleased with
Salome’s demand. But King Herod is afraid of killing the holy man. Herod
tries to persuade her to give up her demand, but she refuses.
Salome kisses the head of Jochanaan. King Herod sees that weird scene.
He orders his soldiers to kill Salome.
|Richard Strauss was an active conductor in opera
houses, and composed orchestral works or German songs. After R. Strauss
composed two operas which are influenced by Wagner’s operas, he composed this
opera, “Salome.” The first performance of “Salome” created a big sensation. R.
Strauss was 41 years old at that time. After he composed “Salome,” he composed
several other outstanding operas, and those resulted in him obtaining the
status of a great opera composer.
The original of this opera’s libretto is Oscar Wilde’s play “Salome.”
Wilde’s play was published in French, and was translated into English.
But, this play was never performed in England because of the immorality
in the story and a scandal of Wilde himself. R. Strauss composed this opera
which is based on German libretto. But, the same as the play, this opera
was refused by Wiener Staatsoper where it was first planned to be performed.
At that time, the general director of music at Wiener Staatsoper was Gustav
Mahler, who is a famous composer now. Mahler went to great pains to have
this opera performed in Wien. Ten years after the first performance in
Dresden, it was performed in Wien.
The most famous scene in this opera is Salome’s dance
shedding seven veils. The Soprano who sings Salome, often takes off all her clothes
on the stage to make the opera radical. This opera has given rise to public
censure for about 100 years since the first performance. For example, when this
opera was performed in the New National Theatre Tokyo in 2000, it was not only
reviewed by music magazines but also reported by Tabloid papers. Salome must
sing the long monologue after she intensely dances for more than ten minutes,
so Salome is one of the most difficult roles for a Soprano.
|Gluck, C. W. (1714-1787)
- Orpheus and Eurydice
Mozart, W. A. (1756-1791)
- The Marriage of Figaro
- Don Giovanni
- Cosi fan tutte
- The Magic Flute
Beethoven, L. v. (1770-1827)
Weber, C. M. v. (1786-1826)
- The Magic Bullets
Rossini, G. (1792-1868)
- The Barber of Seville
Donizetti, G. (1797-1848)
- The Elixir of Love
Verdi, G. (1813-1901)
- Il trovatore
- La Traviata
- Un ballo in maschera
- Don Carlo
Wagner, R. (1813-1883)
- The Flying Dutchman
- Tristan und Isolde
- Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg
- The Rhinegold
- Die Walkure
- Twilight of the Gods
Offenbach, J. (1819-1880)
- The Tales of Hoffmann
Strauss, J. (1825-1899)
- Die Fledermaus (The Bat)
Bizet, G. (1838-1875)
Tchaikovsky, P. J. (1840-1893)
- Eugene Onegin
Massenet, J. (1842-1912)
Humperdinck, E. (1854-1921)
- Hansel and Gretel
Puccini, G. (1858-1924)
- La Boheme
- Madama Butterfly
Leoncavallo, R. (1858-1919)
Mascagni, P. (1863-1945)
- Cavalleria Rusticana
Debussy, C. (1862-1918)
- Pelleas et Melisande
Strauss, R. (1864-1949)
- The Cavalier of the Rose
|Copyright (C) 2005-2011 Yusuke Kamiki. All Rights Reserved.