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The Sunday Opera: Richard Strauss' "Salome" from the Vienna State Opera

We’re continuing our visit to the Vienna State Opera on this week’s Sunday Opera (7/9 3:00 p.m.) with Richard Strass’ incredibly dramatic setting of Oscar Wilde’s play “Salome” which looks at the machinations of the title character in the court of her lascivious step-father, Herod.

Probably best known, even by those who’ve never seen the opera, is the dance of the seven veils that culminates with Salome kissing the mouth of the severed head of John the Baptist shortly before she is executed.

Malin Bystrom is Salome, Jochanaan (John the Baptist) is Wolfgang Koch, Herod is Gerhard Siegel, Herodias (Salome’s mother) is Michaela Schuster, Narroboth (the soldier who is in love with Salome) is Daniel Jenz, and Herodias’ Page is Patricia Nolz. Philippe Jordan conducts the Vienna State Opera Chorus and Orchestra.

We’ll follow this one-act opera with another by Strauss. This one is the somewhat bizarre “Feuersnot” about an alchemist who comes to a small village and falls in love with the mayor’s daughter. She spurns him and later ridicules him. He gets his revenge by extinguishing all of the fires in the village (hence the opera’s title which is sometimes translated as “The Lack of Fire.”), and only a virgin who gives herself to him will reverse the spell. Bernd Weikl and Julia Varady head this cast.

We’ll close our time together with one last piece by Strauss: his “Metamorphosen,” a piece for 27 solo strings performed by the English String Orchestra conducted by William Boughton.

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.
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