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Drama in one act
Libretto by the composer based on Oscar Wilde's Salome (1891)
First performed December 9 1905, Royal Opera House, Dresden
This production first seen March 1 2020
Sung in German with German & English surtitles
Introduction (on video, in German) will appear here and on YouTube shortly before opening night
The elementary force and sensuality in Strauss’ first great operatic success shook the world of music to its foundations. His source, the biblical tale of Salome, had taken on increasing significance over the millenia. Oscar Wilde, whose play fascinated the composer and inspired him to radical innovation, was not the first to have helped himself to the story. With Wilde the myth became a confrontation between sensuality and religious aesceticism with extraordinary intensification and a shocking climax. Strauss enriched his sound world in harmony, rhythm and instrumentation to an intensity never heard before. He didn’t bother with illustrating the text, concentrating instead on the conflict between Salome and Jochanaan and the radical nature of their differences. The piece starts getting out of control when Salome asks for the head of the prophet. Strauss’ hundred minute long one act opera is about intoxication and aesceticism, power and death, about a churned up turn of an era. He makes worlds, plans for life and imaginary love collide in a thrilling, unstoppable large-scale climax.