Richard Strauss

Salome

Janáček Theatre / Opera 28/04/2025 19:00 - 20:45

A girl is dancing. One by one, as she moves sensuously, her seven veils fall to the ground. She is dancing to please King Herod, and she wants only one thing for it – the head of the man she loves. He has refused to reciprocate her love, and Salome longs for at least a kiss from his dead mouth…

Expressive, short and shocking – this is how Strauss´s opera Salome, based on a play by Oscar Wilde, could be described in brief. Inspired by the Bible story about the charming Salome, the daughter of King Herod, and her obsessive love for the prophet Jochanaan, Salome provoked a real scandal during the premiere. Thanks to its strong, dramatic music and rich orchestral colours, it became a worldwide sensation, and has rightly remained as such to this day.

The moment when Salome brings Jochanaan´s head on a silver tray and kisses it still occupies the top spot in the top ten of horrific moments in opera. And the extremely demanding role of Salome is a both a dream and a test for sopranos. It will be only the fourth ever production of Salome at the Brno theatre, and its creator will be none other than one of the best Czech directors, David Radok. After his great staging of Britten´s Peter Grimes in the 2021/22 season, he has returned with his team, the chief conductor Marko Ivanović and costume artist Zuzana Ježková, and newly with Dragan Stojčevski as the set designer for what is already his fifth directed work for our opera ensemble. It is going to be just as sensational as the world premiere!

Staged in the German original with Czech, English and German subtitles

Premiere: 17th June 2023 at the Janáček Theatre

This opera is open to ages 15 and up.

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Synopsis

The palace of Herod, tetrarch of Galilee, is hosting a celebration of his birthday. Outside, servants guard the cistern in which the prophet Jochanaan is imprisoned because he dared to preach about the sinful deeds of Herod and his wife Herodias. Narraboth, their commander, is watching Princess Salome, the daughter of Herodias and stepdaughter of Herod. In vain the page warns him not to think about her. Salome is approaching the cistern. She is tired of the never ending quarrels of the Jews and the festival, and she resents the lustful gaze with which her stepfather watches her. Only the voice coming from the cistern catches her attention. She wants to see a man who can spread fear with just his words. She convinces Narraboth to break Herod’s command and bring Jochanaan to her. He only has insults for Salome but she provokes him all the more and offers him her love. She can’t shake the thought of kissing Jochanaan.

Here come Herod and Herodias. Herod is looking for Salome, he can’t help but look at her. At the same time, he is haunted by strange visions and fear of Jochanaan. He gets frightened when he sees blood on the ground. Narraboth lies dead before him, having committed suicide because of Salome. All of Salome’s thoughts are of that mysterious man down in the cistern, who both excites her and hates her at the same time. The prophet’s voice will not be silenced. Now he curses Herodias, who blames Herod for not silencing him.

Herod is becoming increasingly frightened and asks Salome to distract him, perhaps by dancing. Salome refuses, and only when Herod offers to grant her any wish in return does she begin to dance. Her request for a reward catches Herod by surprise – she wants Jochanaan’s head on a silver platter. Herod begs the girl to ask for anything else, treasures or jewels, but Salome is adamant. He eventually agrees, but when he sees the passion with which she kisses the prophet’s dead lips, he orders the soldiers to kill Salome.

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Production team

Marko Ivanović Musical arrangement/conductor
Ondrej Olos Conductor
David Radok Directed by
Zuzana Ježková Costumes
Přemysl Janda Lighting design
Otakar Blaha Assistant director

Cast

When do we play?

Salome Janáček Theatre / Opera

Salome

  • 28/04/2025
  • 19:00 - 20:45

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