The original play Salomé was written by Oscar Wilde in November and December 1891 in French. Hedwig Lachmann translated the play into German. Richard Strauss saw the play and decided in 1902 to make an opera out of it. The opera was first performed in Dresden in December 1905. "The Dance of the Seven Veils" is a famous excerpt from the opera. It is sometimes performed in concerts.
The opera was very successful; Strauss made so much money with Salome that he could afford to buy a beautiful house in the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The opera also caused a long-lasting scandal after it was first produced in Dresden. At the Vienna Court Opera the work could not be performed for nearly twenty years because of censorship, at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden the opera had to be modified, in New York there was only one performance - then the wealthy donors of the Metropolitan Opera decided that this opera was not suitable for the American public.
Principal characters[change | change source]
- Salome, a very young and very beautiful princess - soprano
- Herodes, king of Judaea, her stepfather - tenor
- Herodias, queen, mother of Salome - mezzo-soprano
- Jochanaan, also known as John the Baptist - bass-baritone