Opera North is bringing a concert performance of Strauss’ most intense and shocking opera, Salome, to Perth Concert Hall on Sunday 29 April.
The afternoon performance continues Opera North’s successful series of dramatic operas presented in concert.
Salome, the teenage step-daughter of King Herod, is an object of fascination and lust for the guard Narraboth, and for Herod himself. Agreeing to perform the ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’ for her step-father, she demands a macabre gift in return: the severed head of the man she herself desires, the imprisoned prophet Jokanaan (John the Baptist).
Every moment of the story unfolds with unflinching vividness, illuminating the darkest corners of a world that has lost all moral compass. Concentrated into just 100 intense minutes, this is opera at its most extreme.
Based on Oscar Wilde’s play of the same title, Richard Strauss’ third opera Salome was an immediate, albeit scandalous, success when it premiered in 1905, its Biblical theme permeated with disturbing layers of violence and eroticism. The magnificently rich and intricate score, written for vast orchestral forces, is both ferociously exciting and surprisingly lyrical, building to a feverish climax that has never lost its capacity to chill the blood.
Distinguished British conductor Sir Richard Armstrong returns to Opera North to conduct these concerts of Salome, following a triumphant tour of Puccini’s Turandot in concert halls across England in 2017.
American soprano Jennifer Holloway makes her Opera North debut in the title role (excluding 5 May), a part she recently sang in Dresden, after moving from mezzo to soprano repertoire. Her most recent UK role was Adalgisa in Norma (ENO 2016), in Christopher Alden’s production which originated at Opera North; previous UK appearances include Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, and Musetta in La bohème (both ENO); and Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel and Meg Page in Falstaff (both Glyndebourne Festival).
Belfast-born soprano Giselle Allen sings the role of Salome at Sage Gateshead on 5 May. Among her many roles for Opera North she has performed as Freia, Gerhilde and Gutrune in the company’s award-winning Ring (2016); as Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana (2017) and as Míla in Osud (2017).
Dutch tenor Arnold Bezuyen makes his Opera North debut as Herodes; Swedish mezzo Katarina Karnéus, sings Herodias, while Jokanaan is sung by Robert Hayward, most recently seen as Wotan in Die Walküre (2016).
Salome is the latest in a significant series of operas in concert presented by Opera North, building on the success of recent performances of Turandot, Billy Budd, and the 2016 Ring cycle, winner of both the RPS Opera and Music Theatre Award and the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Opera 2017.
Click here for tickets and information for Salome in Perth Concert Hall at 3pm on Sunday 29 April.