Opera Scotland


Tours by decade

1950s - 2 tours

1952 - Covent Garden Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1956 - Hamburg State Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1970s - 1 tour

1975 - Deutsche Oper, Berlin
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1980s - 1 tour

1989 - Edinburgh International Festival
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1990s - 2 tours

1990 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1993 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

2000s - 1 tour

2000 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

2010s - 3 tours

2012 - Derek Watson
Study Programme
2018 - Opera North
Concert performance
2018 - Edinburgh Players Opera Group
Concert performance

2020s - 1 tour

Tours by location

Richard Strauss (born Munich, 11 June 1864; died Garmisch, 8 September 1949)

Hedwig Lachmann, adapted by the Composer.

Tragedy (1893) by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).

First performance: Dresden (Semper Opernhaus), 9 December 1905.
First UK performance: London (Covent Garden), 8 December 1910.
First performance in Scotland: Glasgow (King’s Theatre), 19 March 1952 (maybe earlier).
Scottish Opera première: Glasgow (Theatre Royal), 25 April 1990.

Salome is now one of the most popular operas in the repertoire, performances limited only by the difficulty of finding sopranos able to perform the title role effectively, and the cost of the large orchestra required.

However, at the outset it was a highly contentious subject for an opera, in spite of its importance as a subject for painting.

The subject matter being drawn both from biblical texts and from a play by the still disgraced (though safely dead) Oscar Wilde, made the piece controversial and it was initially banned from performance in Britain, until after the success of Elektra.

Salome’s Dance quickly became a popular showpiece for separate performance in orchestral concerts, just as the closing scene is often sung in concert by sopranos who would not perform the complete role.

Main Characters
Narraboth, a young Syrian, Captain of the Guard (tenor)
Page to Herodias (mezzo-soprano)
Jokanaan, John the Baptist (bass-baritone)
Salome, daughter of Herodias (soprano)
Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Judea (tenor)
Herodias, wife of Herod (mezzo-soprano)

Plot Summary
From the terrace of Herod’s palace at Tiberias, Narraboth and the page observe a banquet going on inside. Narraboth is infatuated with the young princess, Salome, and the page warns him that she is not as sweet as she looks.

They are interrupted by a voice from the dungeon. This is John the Baptist demanding that the corrupt rulers repent of their sins. Salome comes out from the hall. She is bored, and becomes fascinated by the voice from below.

She orders Narraboth to have him brought up to her. When he arrives he continues to denounce the morals of Herod and Herodias. However Salome reveals her interest in him, and he turns his contempt on her. This only enflames her still more. Narraboth is driven to despair by her behaviour and kills himself. Salome does not even notice.

As the banquet ends, the courtiers come out to the terrace, and Herodias taunts her husband. He finds his stepdaughter more interesting than his wife. A group of Jews want the Baptist to be put on trial, but Herod is not prepared to do this since he considers Jokanaan to be a holy man. To provide a diversion, he asks Salome to dance. She refuses until he increases the stakes by promising her anything she may care to ask for. Salome then performs the Dance of the Seven Veils. As a reward she demands the head of Jokanaan on a silver platter. Herod is horrified, and Herodias delighted.

The debate continues as he offers her various extravagant alternatives, but Herod is cornered, and at last gives in. After the courtiers have watched in fascinated horror as Salome sings her extended love song to the head, Herod orders the guards to kill her.

The Cast

Fifth Jew
First Jew
First Nazarene
First Soldier
Fourth Jew
Herod Antipas
 Tetrarch of Judaea
 wife of Herod
 John the Baptist
 a young Syrian, Captain of the Guard
 to Herodias
 daughter of Herodias
Second Jew
Second Nazarene
Second Soldier
 to Herodias
Third Jew

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