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

Saturday, 29. March 2014
08:00 pm – 09:40 pm

Duration est. 1 hours 40 minutes

Premiere at 27. June 2019

Download Cast List (PDF) To List of Performances


Musikalische Leitung
Asher Fisch
William Friedkin
Hans Schavernoch
Petra Reinhardt
Mark Jonathan
David Bridel
Peter Heilker

Andreas Conrad
Gabriele Schnaut
Nadja Michael
Alan Held
Joseph Kaiser
Ein Page der Herodias
Okka von der Damerau
Erster Jude
Ulrich Reß
Zweiter Jude
Alexander Kaimbacher
Dritter Jude
Francesco Petrozzi
Vierter Jude
Kevin Conners
Fünfter Jude
Rafal Pawnuk
Erster Nazarener
Tareq Nazmi
Zweiter Nazarener
Dean Power
Erster Soldat
Torben Jürgens
Zweiter Soldat
Christoph Stephinger
Ein Cappadocier
Leonard Bernad
Eine Sklavin
Rachael Wilson
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester
To List of Performances


To List of Performances

Learn more

"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.

To List of Performances


Asher Fisch, geboren in Jerusalem, begann seine Karriere als Assistent von Daniel Barenboim. Anschließend wurde er musikalischer Leiter an der Wiener Volksoper und an der New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv. Von 2007 bis 2014 war er Principal Guest Conductor an der Seattle Opera, seit 2014 hat er die musikalische Leitung des West Australian Symphony Orchestra inne. Gastverträge führten ihn u. a. an die Opernhäuser von New York, London, Mailand, Neapel, Turin, Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Paris, Chicago und Los Angeles. Neben seinen Opernengagements trat er mit Orchestern wie dem New York Philharmonic, der Staatskapelle Dresden, dem Gewandhausorchester Leipzig und den Berliner sowie den Münchner Philharmonikern auf. (Stand: 2018)

To List of Performances