Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"Salome" Comes to Benedum Stage as Richard Strauss' Opera

Pittsburgh Opera to Stage Richard Strauss' "Salome"

Pittsburgh Opera continues its 78th season with Richard Strauss’s powerful Salome, at the Benedum Center November 5th -13th.

First performed in 1905, Salome was originally censored in Vienna, banned in London, and even protested in New York. However, now it’s considered a classic. Salome helped reinforce Strauss’s reputation as “the greatest genius of the age”.

Based on the play by Oscar Wilde, Salome reimagines the biblical story of King Herod, his stepdaughter Salome and John the Baptist - Jochanaan. Salome provides one interpretation of why exactly Salome forced Herod to give her John the Baptist’s severed head on a silver platter.

We are thrilled that the title role of Salome will be sung by the international star soprano Patricia Racette, who sang the role to critical acclaim last year, including the famous, seductive “Dance of the Seven Veils”. The dance is being choreographed by Michele de la Reza of Attack Theatre.

Pittsburgh Opera has not performed Salome since 2001, and is performing a different production that the company now owns. The production is ‘traditional’- meaning that the sets and costumes make it look like the biblical era in which it takes place.

Two-time Grammy winner Nmon Ford makes his Pittsburgh Opera debut as Jochanaan. Robert Brubaker plays King Herod and Michaela Martens is Herodias.

Music Director Antony Walker conducts.

Salome features a superlative cast, including four stars making their Pittsburgh Opera debuts:
Patricia Racette (Salome) – Patricia Racette makes her long-awaited Pittsburgh Opera debut. Known as “one of the great singing actresses of our time,” soprano Racette is a mainstay at The Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera. She regularly performs in major opera houses around the world.

Patricia Racette as Salome Credit: David Bachman Photography

Nmon Ford (Jochanaan) –“Matinee-idol handsome, with a rich and supple baritone capable of both power and subtlety. He radiates star quality," testifies the Hollywood Reporter. Ford has performed throughout the country, as well as in France and Italy. He was a featured soloist on the Grammy Award winning Transmigrations (Telarc) and Songs of Innocence and of Experience (Naxos).

Nmon Ford as Jochanaan Credit: David Bachman Photography
Robert Brubaker (King Herod) – Originally from near Lancaster, PA, Brubaker is now a leading tenor in opera companies throughout the United States and Europe, and is “praised for the clarity and power of his voice and the impact of his acting.” His performance as Herod at the famous Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona was called “without vocal defect.”

Michaela Martens (Herodias) – A “passionate and sympathetic vocal actress" according to The Boston Globe, Michaela Martins performs around the world in places such as Toyko, Switzerland, England, and Germany. Her performance in this role with the Santa Fe Opera drew considerable praise.

Salome Plots Her Revenge Courtesy Photo from Palm Beach Opera

Where: Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, Downtown Pittsburgh


Saturday, November 5th, 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 8th, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, November 11th, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 13th, 2:00 p.m.
Run Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission

Sung in German with English texts projected above the stage

Opera Up Close (10/23)
WQED Preview (10/29 & 11/4)
Audio Commentary (11/8)
Brown Bag Concert (11/12)

Single tickets start at $12 for all performances.

Group Discounts available.

Call 412-456-6666 for more information or visit pittsburghopera.org/tickets.

The Dance of the Seven Veils has been described as “the most shocking moment in operatic history,” in large part because Salome is intended to be fully naked at the end of this ‘biblical strip-tease.’ Many opera stars refuse to do this, but Patricia Racette will perform the role as intended.

No two Dances of the Seven Veils are ever exactly alike. For this production, Pittsburgh Opera is partnering with Attack Theatre, who will be choreographing a unique version of the Dance specifically for Patricia Racette.

The story of Salome appears throughout pop and artistic culture. Besides the opera and the play by Oscar Wilde, it has been a ballet, the subject of over two dozen movies – including one starring Rita Hayworth and the classic Sunset Boulevard – and a video game. Salome even has an asteroid named after her.


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