Musical drama in one act based on Oscar Wilde's poem of the same title (1905)

Composer Richard Strauss · Libretto by the composer
In German with German and English surtitles | New Production

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Cast for all dates

Kirill Petrenko
Krzysztof Warlikowski
Production Assistant
Marielle Kahn
Set Design
Małgorzata Szczęśniak
Kamil Polak
Felice Ross
Claude Bardouil
Miron Hakenbeck, Malte Krasting

Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke
Michaela Schuster (06-27-2019, 07-02-2019, 07-06-2019, 07-10-2019, 07-25-2021, 07-28-2021) , Doris Soffel (10-05-2019, 10-09-2019, 10-13-2019)
Marlis Petersen
Wolfgang Koch
Pavol Breslik (06-27-2019, 07-02-2019, 07-06-2019, 07-10-2019, 07-25-2021, 07-28-2021) , Evan LeRoy Johnson (10-05-2019, 10-09-2019, 10-13-2019)
Ein Page der Herodias
Rachael Wilson
Erster Jude
Scott MacAllister
Zweiter Jude
Roman Payer
Dritter Jude
Kristofer Lundin (06-27-2019, 07-02-2019, 07-06-2019, 07-10-2019, 10-05-2019, 10-09-2019, 10-13-2019) , Dean Power (07-25-2021, 07-28-2021)
Vierter Jude
Kevin Conners (06-27-2019, 07-02-2019, 07-06-2019, 07-10-2019, 07-25-2021, 07-28-2021) , Paul Kaufmann (10-05-2019, 10-09-2019, 10-13-2019)
Fünfter Jude
Peter Lobert (06-27-2019, 07-02-2019, 07-06-2019, 07-10-2019, 10-05-2019, 10-09-2019, 10-13-2019) , Callum Thorpe (07-25-2021, 07-28-2021)
Erster Nazarener
Callum Thorpe (06-27-2019, 07-02-2019, 07-06-2019, 07-10-2019, 10-05-2019, 10-09-2019, 10-13-2019) , Derek Welton (07-25-2021, 07-28-2021)
Zweiter Nazarener
Ulrich Reß
Erster Soldat
Kristof Klorek (06-27-2019, 07-02-2019, 07-06-2019, 07-10-2019) , Martin Snell (10-05-2019, 10-09-2019, 10-13-2019, 07-25-2021, 07-28-2021)
Zweiter Soldat
Alexander Milev (06-27-2019, 07-02-2019, 07-06-2019, 07-10-2019, 10-05-2019, 10-09-2019, 10-13-2019) , Bálint Szabó (07-25-2021, 07-28-2021)
Ein Cappadocier
Milan Siljanov (06-27-2019, 07-02-2019, 07-06-2019, 07-10-2019, 10-05-2019, 10-09-2019, 10-13-2019) , Theodore Platt (07-25-2021, 07-28-2021)
Eine Sklavin
Mirjam Mesak (06-27-2019, 07-02-2019, 07-06-2019, 07-10-2019, 10-05-2019, 10-09-2019, 10-13-2019) , Eliza Boom (07-25-2021, 07-28-2021)
Frau des Cappadociers
Jutta Bayer (07-02-2019, 07-06-2019, 07-10-2019, 10-05-2019, 10-09-2019, 10-13-2019) , Sophia Julia Schützinger (07-25-2021, 07-28-2021)
Der Tod
Peter Jolesch (07-02-2019, 07-06-2019, 07-10-2019, 10-05-2019, 10-09-2019, 10-13-2019, 07-25-2021, 07-28-2021)
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester
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"The secret of love is greater than the secret of death" (Salome)

"How beautiful Princess Salome is tonight!". Oscar Wilde's French drama, arranged as opera text by the composer himself, was a stroke of genius of the fin de siècle, a scandal on one hand and an absolute hit on the other, both an artistic and a financial success which allowed Richard Strauss to buy his villa in Garmisch. Salome demands the head of the prophet, John the Baptist, who has rejected her, from her lustful stepfather – and bound by an oath, he cannot deny her. And so the zealous admonisher dies, and with him the princess is undone – "Kill this woman!". Krzysztof Warlikowski is convinced that Salome recounts many of the contradictions of the period of origin, that in this piece, however, much is also dismissed of that which at the time was still the future: "It's not just what's in the work of art itself that is important, whether it be Oscar Wilde or Richard Strauss, but rather the whole context, which Christianity and the history of the 20th century add to this piece."

Salome can no longer bear her stepfather Herod’s party, yet there is no escaping his house. In her distress, she appears especially beautiful to Narraboth, who can barely keep his eyes from her. The voice of a man imprisoned by Herod catches Salome’s attention. This man, known as Iokanaan, prophesizes the end of the world and the dawn of a new age. Salome convinces Narraboth to defy Herod’s orders and arrange a meeting for her with Iokanaan. He denounces the corruption of Salome’s family; however, his morally-harsh admonishments only serve to increase her interest in him, rising to a sexual desire that Iokanaan strongly rejects. Narraboth, who witnesses this interaction, takes his own life. Iokanaan advises Salome to seek salvation and redemption in Christ. Instead, she continues to press for carnal relations, and he curses her repeatedly. Salome is left distraught.

Herod is looking for Salome and finds Narraboth dead, filling him with the fear of possible doom. In front of his wife Herodias’ eyes, he unashamedly flirts with her daughter. Iokanaan’s vociferous condemnation of Herodias and her vicious moral conduct ignite a discussion amongst those present about the alleged prophet, and the questions of whether and how God will appear. As Iokanaan appeals for Herodias’ misdemeanours to be severely punished, she loses control of herself and demands that Herod gag him. As if unaffected by this, Herod wishes to see Salome dance and promises her the fulfilment of every imaginable desire in return. Against her mother’s will, she agrees.

She dances as if her life depends on it.

Afterwards, she requests Iokanaan’s head as her reward. Herod has qualms about killing a man he views as holy. Salome, however, refuses all her stepfather’s other offers and demands he keep his word. Herod relents. He orders Iokanaan be killed and his head brought to Salome.

Salome attempts to understand love and death, and kisses Iokanaan’s mouth. For a moment, she believes she has triumphed over him, but then realises her own death is approaching.

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Kirill Petrenko was born in Omsk in 1972 where he studied piano at the College of Music. At the age of eleven he gave his first public performance as a pianist with the Omsk Symphony Orchestra. In 1990 his family (his father a violinist and his mother a musicologist) relocated to Vorarlberg where his father worked as an orchestra musician and music teacher. Petrenko first continued his studies in Feldkirch before moving to Vienna to study conducting at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts. 

His first job after graduation took him directly to the Vienna Volksoper where he was hired by Nikolaus Bachler as Kapellmeister. From 1999 until 2002 Kirill Petrenko was General Music Director at the Meininger Theater. It was in 2001 in his role as conductor of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, in the production by Christine Mielitz and with scenery by Alfred Hrdlicka, that he first achieved international acclaim. In 2002 Kirill Petrenko became General Music Director of the Komische Oper Berlin where, until 2007, he was credited with a series of highly significant productions.

During his time in Meiningen and Berlin his international career also began to flourish. In 2000 Kirill Petrenko made his debut at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, in 2001 at the Vienna Staatsoper and the Dresden Semperoper, in 2003 at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Opéra National de Paris, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the New York Metropolitan Opera and in 2005 at the Oper Frankfurt. In Lyon, in collaboration with Peter Stein, he conducted all three Pushkin-inspired operas by Tchaikovsky (Mazeppa, Eugene Onegin and Pique Dame) from 2006 until 2008, which were also performed as a cycle in early 2010.

After moving on from the Komische Oper Berlin Kirill Petrenko worked as a freelance conductor. During this period his projects included conducting a new production of Leoš Janáček's Jenůfa (Production: Barbara Frey) at the Bayerische Staatsoper in 2009. In Frankfurt he conducted Pfitzner's Palestrina (Production: Harry Kupfer) and Puccini's Tosca (Production: Andreas Kriegenburg). In 2011 he worked on two new productions of Tristan and Isolde at the Opéra National de Lyon and at the Ruhrtriennale.

To date, the most important orchestras Kirill Petrenko has been invited to conduct include the Berlin Philharmonic, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the BR Symphony Orchestra, the Bayerische Staatsorchester, the WDR Cologne Symphony Orchestra, the Hamburg Philharmonic and the NDR Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurt Opern- und Museumsorchester, the Amsterdam Concertgebouworkest, the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome, the RAI National Symphony Orchestra in Turin and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Kirill Petrenko has also conducted concerts at the Bregenz and Salzburg Festivals. From 2013 to 2015 he swung his baton for the new production of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen during the Bayreuth Festival.

Since September 2013 Kirill Petrenko has been General Music Director at the Bayerische Staatsoper. He has held this position until the end of the 2019/20 season. Since 2013, he has taken to the rostrum for premieres of Die Frau ohne SchattenLa clemenza di TitoDie SoldatenLucia di Lammermoor, Lulu, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsenk District and Tannhäuser as well as the world premiere of Miroslav Srnka’s South Pole and a revival of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen among other works. In June 2015, Kirill Petrenko was named future Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, starting this position in autumn 2019.

In the current season at the Bayerische Staatsoper Kirill Petrenko led an new production of Verdi's Otello  and Strauss' Salome. Furthermore, Kirill Petrenko conducts revivals of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Fidelio, and Parsifal as well as two Academy Concerts with the Bayerische Staatsorchester.

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