The Mystery of Love.
The operas of Richard Strauss have held a special place at The Santa Fe Opera since its opening season, none more so than Salome, his 1905 adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s study of extreme decadence. Salome established Strauss’ reputation as an opera composer, provoking a storm of controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. This searing one-act drama of obsession and lust returns with a fresh staging that suggests the era when Salome was created: the Belle Epoque period of material and sensual indulgence that prevailed in Paris before World War I. Bulgarian soprano Alex Penda, who sang the role of Leonore in Fidelio last season, reveals the darkest mysteries of love one veil at a time as the heedless Salome. Ryan McKinny, whose “lyrical bass baritone voice drips with gold” (Opera News), makes his Company debut as Jochanaan. The licentious Herod and his vengeful wife Herodias will be sung by tenor Robert Brubaker and mezzo-soprano Michaela Martens. David Robertson, highly acclaimed music director of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, conducts.
Hear more about this exciting new production of Salome in these interviews from the cast and creative team.
Composer Richard Strauss
Librettist Hedwig Lachmann from Oscar Wilde’s Salome
Sung in German
From the terrace of Herod's palace, Narraboth, captain of the guard, gazes rapturously inside at Princess Salome, who is feasting with her stepfather and his guests. 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 and Salome meet as he denounces the incestuous union of Herod and Herodias. She is increasingly overcome by desire, praising his body, hair and mouth. When Salome begs for Jochanaan's kiss, Narraboth stabs himself in horror. Jochanaan urges Salome to seek salvation in the Messiah.
Herod and Herodias appear. 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. Salome demands the head of Jochanaan on a silver platter, ignoring Herod's alternatives — jewels, rare birds, a sacred veil. Terrified, Herod finally gives in. After a tense pause, Salome has her wish: the head of Jochanaan. Salome seizes her reward, triumphantly kissing his lips. Herod orders Salome to be killed.
- Herod - Ragnar Ulfung
- Herodias - Jean Kraft
- Salome - Maria Kouba
- Jochanaan - William Dooley
- Narraboth - John Stewart
- Page - Gloriosa Caballero
- First Jew - Douglas Perry
- Second Jew - David Kuebler
- Third Jew - Mike Matthews
- Fourth Jew - Johnny Johnson
- Fifth Jew - Jack Davison
- Second Nazarene - Brent Ellis
- First Soldier - William Dansby
- Second Soldier - Stanley Wexler
- Cappadocian - Richard Crist
- Slave - Katherine Holway
- Conductor - John Crosby
- Director - Francis Rizzo
- Scenic Designer - John Conklin
- Costume Designer - John Conklin
- Lighting Designer - Georg Schreiber