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    Santa Fe Opera


    Richard Strauss orchestrated a "38-curtain-call" world premiere when he set to music Oscar Wilde's play about the Biblical princess who unveils her most diabolical passions.


    Composer Richard Strauss
    Librettist Hedwig Lachmann from Oscar Wilde’s Salome

    Sung in German

    From the moonlit terrace of Herod's palace, Narraboth, captain of the guard, gazes rapturously inside at the Princess Salome, who is feasting with her stepfather and his court. The voice of the prophet Jochanaan echoes from a deep cistern, where he is imprisoned by Herod, who fears him. Salome, fleeing Herod's lechery, rushes out for fresh air and becomes curious when she hears Jochanaan curse her mother Herodias. When the soldiers refuse to bring Jochanaan to her, Salome convinces Narraboth, who orders that Jochanaan be summoned. Jochanaan emerges into the moonlight and denounces the incestuous union of Herod and Herodias. Appalled and mesmerized, she is increasingly overcome by desire, praising his body, hair and mouth. When Salome begs for Jochanaan's kiss, Narraboth stabs himself in horror, and the prophet descends into the cistern, urging her to seek salvation in the Messiah. The girl collapses in frustration and longing.

    Herod appears, followed by his court. Herod's thoughts turn to Salome, who spurns his attentions. He begs Salome to dance for him and offers her anything she might wish in return. Salome makes him swear he will live up to his promise, then dances, slowly shedding seven veils and finishing her performance at his feet. Salome demands the head of Jochanaan on a silver platter, ignoring Herod's desperate alternatives – jewels, rare birds, a sacred veil. Terrified, Herod finally gives in. After a tense pause, the arm of the executioner rises from the cistern, offering the head to Salome. As clouds obscure the moon, Salome seizes her reward passionately, triumphantly kissing his lips. Overcome with revulsion, Herod orders the soldiers to kill Salome.


    • Herod - Paul Franke
    • Herodias - Elaine Bonazzi
    • Salome - Eleanor Lutton
    • Jokanaan - Theodor Uppman
    • Narraboth - Stanley Kolk
    • Page - Judith Keller
    • Slave - Catherine Christensen
    • First Nazarene - Therman Bailey
    • Second Nazarene - Edward Zimmerman
    • Cappadocian - Lawrence Boyll
    • Naaman - Lovell Horten
    • First Soldier - William Wiederanders
    • Second Soldier - John West
    • First Jew - Gerald Landon
    • Second Jew - Doyle Muller
    • Third Jew - Thomas Council
    • Fourth Jew - Carroll Alexander
    • Fifth Jew - Ruth Welting
    • Conductor - John Crosby
    • Director - John Moriarty
    • Scenic Designer - Henry Heymann
    • Costume Designer - Henry Heymann
    • Lighting Designer - Louise Guthman