A kiss is just a kiss, right? Not this one.
Adapted from a play by Oscar Wilde, Salome retells the biblical account of the death of John the Baptist, all because of the lust of a king, a salacious dance, and a promise to fulfill.
Although Richard Strauss was immediately captivated by Wilde’s play and determined to set it to music, audiences and even performers of the day were shocked by the plot. The first Salome, Marie Wittich, refused to perform her “Dance of the Seven Veils” at the 1905 debut and insisted on a dancer substitute.
Musicians were enthused about Strauss’ powerful music, lush sound, and superb orchestration, but censors did their best to keep Salome from the public in England and the U.S., where the work was withdrawn from Metropolitan Opera after just one performance in 1907. Since then, Salome has been widely hailed as a masterpiece whose controversy has only increased its fame.