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Salome (opera)

From Academic Kids

Salome is an opera in one act by Richard Strauss to a German libretto by the composer, based on Hedwig Lachmann’s German translation of the French play Salomé by Oscar Wilde. It was first performed at the Hofoper in Dresden on December 9 1905.

The opera is famous (at the time of its release, infamous) for its Dance of the Seven Veils. Salome is part of the standard operatic repertoire. There are a various recordings of it, and it is regularly performed.

Characters

  • Principal roles
  • Minor roles
    • Narraboth, Captain of the Guard (tenor)
    • The Page of Herodias (contralto)
    • Five Jews (4 tenors and 1 bass)
    • Two Nazarenes (bass and tenor)
    • Two Soldiers (2 basses)
  • Other
    • A Cappadocian (bass)
    • A Slave (soprano or tenor)
    • Royal guests, Egyptians, Romans, servants, soldiers (mute)

Plot

Time: A moonlit night in the 1st century.
Place: A great terrace in Herod’ palace on Lake Galilee, Judea.

Narraboth gazes longingly through a window at the beautiful Princess Salome. The voice of the prophet Jochanaan is heard from his prison in a deep well. Herod fears him. Salome, tired of the feast, enters the terrace for the cool night air and hears Jochanaan cursing her mother Herodias. Her curisoity is piqued, but the soldiers will not honor her orders to fetch Jochanaan for her. She successfully convinces the smitten Narraboth to bring Jochanaan before her. Fascinated by the prophet, Salome is filled with an overwhelming desire to touch him, but he rejects her. She begs for a kiss, and Narraboth, who cannot bear to hear this, kills himself. As Jochanaan is returned to the well, he preaches salvation through the Messiah. Herod enters, followed by his wife and court. He slips in Narraboth's blood and starts hallucinating. He hears the beating of wings. Despite Herodias's objections, Herod stares lustfully at Salome, who rejects him. Jochanaan harrasses Herodias from the well, calling her incestuous marriage to Herod sinful. She demands that Herod silence him. Herod refuses, and she mocks his fear. Five Jews argue concerning the nature of God. Two Nazarenes tell of Christ's miracles. Herod begs Salome to dance for him, even though her mother objects. He offers her anything, up to one half of his kingdom. After he swears to honor his promise, Salome dances, slowly removing her seven veils, one by one, until she lies naked at his feet. Salome then demands the head of the prophet on a plate. After Herod cannot dissuade her with an offer of jewels, rare birds, or a sacred veil, he finally concedes. The head of the prophet is presented to Salome on a plate as she requested. Salome kisses the prophet's lips passionately. Herod is overcome with disgust. On his order, his soldiers kill Salome.

See also

es:Salome (ópera) eo:Salome

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