The Virginian-Pilot January 29, 2015
Art: In classical painting, Salome has been presented both as a naive, innocent teenager and as a seductress by such masters as Titian, Caravaggio and Gustave Moreau.
Book: Oscar Wilde's 1891 play, which is the origin of the Strauss opera, was considered scandalous when it premiered in Paris in 1896. Since British law forbade depicting biblical characters onstage, Wilde wrote it in French.
By Mal Vincent-Virginian-Pilot correspondent-January 29, 2015
She was a bad, bad girl.
Even by biblical standards, Salome was a seductress of the first rank. After all, Delilah only gave Samson a haircut. Salome got the entire head of John the Baptist, served on a platter.
The Gospels of Matthew and Mark describe what has come to be known as Salome's erotic Dance of the Seven Veils, but do not specifically name her or it.
In lore, she has been pictured either as a naive teenager, used by her evil mother to seduce King Herod into executing John the Baptist, or, in other versions, a scheming sexpot who lusted after the holy man.
January 16, 2015 – Virginia Opera, The Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia, continues to celebrate its 40th Anniversary Season with a production of Richard Strauss’ sizzling opera in one act, the tour-de-force “Salome.” With a cast of internationally recognized opera stars, performing some of the most challenging and stunning music known in the field, this production highlights the drama of the story, taking it to an even higher dramatic level with its significant score. Returning Director Stephen Lawless (Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Berlin State Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago) breathes lightning-charged energy into this work, as he did last season with Virginia Opera’s “Falstaff.” In developing “Salome” Strauss followed the scintillating Oscar Wilde play based on the Old Testament story,which when premiered in 1905, shocked audiences by themes that caused the show to be censored and banned for decades. Today, modern patrons will not be shaken by this blockbuster storyline similar to any current Hollywood screenplay, juxtaposed against Strauss’ rich score, laden with Middle Eastern flavors and exhibiting a complexity far beyond its days.