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on 5GB Daventry (Experimental)

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An Opera by RICHARD STRAUSS relayed from
S.B. from Cologne
THE dreadful story of Salome has attracted artists of almost every order throughout the ages, but none has realized the grim horror of the tragedy with the intensity with which Strauss's music sets it before us. His one-act Music-drama was written to a German version of Oscar Wilde's French play, and appeared in Dresden at the end of 1905. Its first German performance in Paris was in 1907, although before that it had been given in French in Brussels. New York also heard it in 1907 at the Metropolitan Opera House, and three years later it was given in London at Covent Garden.
Strauss himself calls the work not an Opera, but a Drama, and one of the severest criticisms hurled at it when it appeared was that it gave the performers no real chance of singing, but only of shrieking their emotions of fear and horror. The singers must be thought of in the first instance as actors, and it is the orchestra, rather than their voices, which describes end accentuates the emotions and incidents set before us on the stage.
The central point of the whole work is a purely orchestral passage, the Dance of the Seven Veils, and even those who disliked the work as a whole have always agreed that this is as fine a piece of orchestral tone-painting as even Strauss has ever given us. But several of the other scenes are hardly less eloquently described in the music ; in particular, the crowd of quarrelling Jews in the early part is as clever as it is effective, and Salome's raptures on her first siglit of John-called in the German version, Jokannan-is a wonderful setting of barbaric, passionate desire.
The characters are Herod and his wife, Herodias, her daughter Salome, Jokannan, who is -John the Baptist, and the young soldier, Narraboth, whose duty it is to guard Jokannan in his prison. There are minor parts, too, but the action is mainly in the hands of these five, and all takes place on the great terrace in Herod's palace, at Tiberias.


Richard Strauss

5GB Daventry (Experimental)

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