Salome

By Richard Strauss

San Diego Civic Theatre
1100 Third Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

Friday, March 21, 2025 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, March 22, 2025 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, March 23, 2025 at 2:00 pm

Season Sponsor
City of San Diego

Richard Strauss’s masterpiece Salome is a shocking opera based on Oscar Wilde’s play of the same name.

Salome tells the biblical story of Princess Salome, who becomes infatuated with John the Baptist, a prisoner in her step-father King Herod’s court. When she is promised anything she wants by King Herod, Salome demands the head of John the Baptist, which Herod delivers to her – at a price.

Strauss’s ground-breaking score reflects the dark and unsettling themes of the story and every role makes extraordinary vocal and dramatic demands on the artists.

These performances will feature Marcy Stonikas as Salome (March 21 & 23), Kirsten Chambers as Salome (March 22), Dennis Petersen as Herod, Kyle Albertson as Jochanaan,  Nina Warren as Herodias, and Ben Werley as Narraboth. San Diego Opera’s Principal Conductor Yves Abel returns to lead the San Diego Symphony.

LANGUAGE – Sung in German with English and Spanish text projected above the stage

Pre-Opera Talk

The pre-opera talk begins at 6:40 pm before the 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday evening performances. The Sunday matinee pre-opera talk begins at 1:10 pm before the 2:00 pm curtain.

Mainstage Post-Opera Talk-Back

Stay after the Saturday and Sunday performances for a Talk-Back. Once the curtain falls, there will be a 10-minute break, then join us in the front of the Dress Circle section where you can ask questions of the stars and cast (subject to availability), and find out what really happened onstage and backstage during the performance!

Stonikas March headshot 4 30 24 470x470

Marcy Stonikas
Salome (March 21 & 23)

Arnold Kirsten.Headshot 470x470

Kirsten Chambers
Salome (March 22)

Petersen Dennis 4 30 24 470x470

Dennis Petersen
Herod

Albertson Kyle 8 470x470

Kyle Albertson
Jochanaan

Warren Smith Nina headshot 4 30 24 470x470

Nina Warren
Herodias

Werley Ben 470x470

Ben Werley
Narraboth

Wilcox Karin Headshot 470x470

Karin Wilcox
Page

Abel Yves © Mi Ji Kim square 470x470

Yves Abel
Conductor

Synopsis in English

Narraboth, captain of Herod’s guards, notices that Herod’s stepdaughter, Salome, looks very beautiful this particular evening. Herodias’s page stares up at the moon, which seems to him like a woman rising from a tomb. A voice is heard, predicting the coming of one who will make the blind see and the deaf hear again. When a Cappadocian wonders to whom the voice belongs, two soldiers inform him that it is that of Jochanaan, the prophet (John the Baptist). Herod has forbidden everyone in the palace from setting eyes on Jochanaan. Salome rushes out from Herod’s party. She longs to escape the Tetrarch, whose attentions she finds both surprising – since she is his stepdaughter – and unpleasant. Hearing Jochanaan’s voice, she learns that he is a young man from Palestine. Using her wiles on the susceptible Narraboth, she cajoles him into bringing Jochanaan from where he is imprisoned, to speak with her. The page anticipates dreadful consequences if this occurs, but Narraboth is completely seduced by Salome and gives the order.

When Jochanaan emerges, his first words are to denounce Herod and his wife, Herodias. Salome is instantly captivated by Jochanaan, but when she identifies herself as the daughter of Herodias, the prophet repulses her. As Narraboth observes her in horror, Salome describes Jochanaan’s body rapturously. He declares that it was women who brought evil into the world, at which Salome immediately changes her mind. His body is ugly – it is his hair that she finds glorious. Jochanaan warns the girl not to touch him. Now Salome rejects the prophet’s hair, preferring to praise the beauty of his mouth. Unable to listen any longer, Narraboth stabs himself and falls dead at Salome’s feet.

Oblivious to him, she demands a kiss of Jochanaan, but he curses her and returns to his prison. Herod notices the strange look of the moon. Suddenly, he slips in Narraboth’s blood. Remembering that he had once seen the young man gazing longingly at Salome, he curtly orders that the body be removed. Now Herod feels cold and seems to hear the beating of huge wings. Herodias declares that he is ill and suggests they return to the party.

Although Herodias is annoyed by the way her husband looks at her daughter, Herod begs Salome to take a glass of wine and eat some fruit with him. She refuses, being neither hungry nor thirsty. Jochanaan’s voice in the prison arouses the fury of Herodias, who believes the prophet is insulting her. She berates her husband for letting Jochanaan intimidate him. Herod denies the charge, inadvertently setting off a debate among a group of Jews as to who was the last prophet to see God. Two Nazarenes join in, proclaiming the arrival of a Messiah who has wrought miracles, including the raising of the dead. Herod is shaken by this possibility and his terror increases as he hears Jochanaan predict an imminent Day of Wrath.

To relieve his mind of all dark thoughts, Herod begs Salome to dance for him, promising to reward her with anything she wishes. Despite her mother’s objections, Salome readies herself for the dance. As he waits, Herod senses the wings of death beating and again feels cold and unable to breathe. He recovers just as Salome begins.

When the dance is over, the ecstatic Herod asks Salome what she would like as her reward. She sweetly asks for the head of Jochanaan on a silver plate, a choice Herodias heartily approves. Aghast, Herod offers Salome everything he can think of –  his exquisite emerald, his white peacocks, his collection of priceless jewels and even, to the Jews’ horror, the veil hanging in the holy sanctuary. Salome repeatedly demands Jochanaan’s head until the exhausted Herod orders that her wish be granted. The Tetrarch mutters disgustedly that the girl is indeed her mother’s child.

Salome is desperate to know that the execution has taken place. The silence worries her, and she wonders if the executioner, Naaman, will have the strength to do the deed. She has just ordered Herod to send his soldiers to the prison when suddenly the executioner’s arm enters bearing the head of Jochanaan. Salome cries that, although he refused to let her kiss his mouth, she will do so now, as if it were a ripe fruit. It surprises her that his eyes, once so raging, have now closed. She wonders if he fears her. Remembering that she had once been chastised by him, she triumphantly cries that she is still alive and his head belongs to her. She recalls the beauty of Jochanaan’s body and scolds him for never having looked at her; she is sure he would have loved her.

Herod, who has watched Salome with growing revulsion, tells his wife that her daughter is a monster. The Tetrarch wishes to go inside, but Herodias is fascinated and prefers to continue observing Salome. As the moon disappears, Herod orders that the torches be put out, fearing that something terrible may happen. In the darkness Salome’s voice is heard, murmuring to Jochanaan that she has finally kissed his mouth. Repulsed and disgusted, Herod knows Salome cannot live.…

Sinopsis en español

Coming soon….

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