Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Salome. It was last on stage 8–30 January 2018 as part of the Winter 2017/18 season.
Salome, stepdaughter of Herod, has become obsessed with her father’s prisoner John the Baptist. Herod promises to give her anything she wants if she dances for him. She dances.
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Richard Strauss brought an extravagant intensity to his adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s play Salomé. The glitter of Herod’s palace, the flicker of torches and the pale light of the moon are all vividly evoked in a sumptuously rich score. When Salome had its premiere in Dresden in 1905 it received 38 curtain calls and established Strauss as a first-rank opera composer. Gustav Mahler called it ‘one of the most important works of our day’.
The opening tableau of David McVicar’s 2008 production for The Royal Opera introduces a world of decadence and injustice. On the upper floor there is a banquet for the elite, while in the grimy kitchen downstairs servants, guards and prostitutes wait to be summoned. Moral and physical decay is reinforced by Es Devlin’s Art Deco-inspired designs. The role of Salome blends innocence, sensuality and violence, and places immense demands on a singer. Strauss famously said the role was ‘written for a 16-year-old with the voice of an Isolde’.
News and features
23 January 2018
16 January 2018
9 January 2018
A century of scandal: The historic items that reveal the fascinating history of Salome at the Royal Opera House
4 December 2017
30 January 2017
Debate: Are intervals a frustrating distraction from the drama or a valuable break to gather thoughts?
24 February 2015