In 1893, Oscar Wilde published the play based on the biblical story of the execution of John the Baptist by King Herod.
In Wilde’s play, Herod’s stepdaughter, Salome, takes center stage as a femme fatale who is as destructive as she is seductive. After seeing the play in Berlin in 1902, Richard Strauss was inspired to write the opera.
And just like the play, the opera was met with scandal and censorship. Nonetheless, “Salome” has become one of the most popular and influential operas to date.
“City Lights” host Lois Reitzes spoke with the play’s artistic director Tomer Zvulun and with Jennifer Larmore, who portrays Herodias.
“There’s nothing really historical about this production. It’s an allegory, a metaphor for many things. All operas are basically about sex and death, and ‘Salome’ is taking those themes into a whole different realm against the backdrop of fanaticism, religion and deep darkness,” Zvulun said.
The production opens on Jan. 25 and runs through Feb. 2 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
This story was originally published with audio on WABE.org.