Salome (Opera)

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Music:Richard Strauss
Libretto:translation by Hedwig Lachmann of Oscar Wilde's stage poem
Premiere:Dresden, December 9, 1905

Salome shocked early audiences with its gory portrayal of lust and obsession, and was withdrawn from The Metropolitan Opera stage after one production. Sultry Salome is the virgin daughter of wicked Herodias, who murdered her husband to marry Herod, Tetrarch of Judea. Smitten with desire for his stepdaughter, Herod begs her to dance, and Salome agrees when Herod promises to grant her one wish. After performing the enticing dance of the seven veils, Salome demands in return the life of Jokanaan, or John the Baptist, for whom she has developed a single-minded, unrequited lust. Though he protests fearfully, Herod orders Jokanaan executed, and the bloody head is offered to Salome on a silver plate. When Salome steals a frenzied, ghoulish kiss from the dead man's lips, a horrified Herod orders his guards to kill her.

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