Irish National Opera


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A king who desires his wild and wilful step-daughter. Her erotic fascination with a condemned prophet. Salome is a study in obsessions, with lust and death at every turn. 

Based on Oscar Wilde’s play, Strauss’s landmark opera was greeted with shock, horror, excitement, awe, respect, censorship, scandal, condemnation - just the kind of responses that fill theatres and cinemas to this day. The music, sweet, sour, erotic, often dizzily thrilling, has not been blunted by time. This is no overture. A rising arpeggio on the clarinet launches Narraboth into his rapturous vision of Salome and, from there to the end, there is let-up in the intensity and tension of the score. Composed in 1905, Salome is still one of the wildest and most rewarding rides - at times of overwhelming intensity - to experience, and one of the most challenging in the repertoire for the lead soprano. Sinéad Campbell Wallace singing the title role, complete with its 20-minute final aria that moves from animal frenzy to demented erotic yearning. Irish National Opera’s acclaimed new production is directed by Bruno Ravella and conducted by Fergus Sheil.


Sinéad Campbell Wallace
Vincent Wolfsteiner
Imelda Drumm
Tómas Tómasson
Alex McKissick
The Page of Herodias
Doreen Curran
Julian Close
Lukas Jakobski
Christopher Bowen
Andrew Masterson
William Pearson
Aaron O'Hare
Eoghan Desmond
Wyn Pencarreg
Eoin Foran
Kevin Neville
Leanne Fitzgerald
Irish National Opera Orchestra
Richard Strauss
Hedwig Lachmann
Fergus Sheil
Bruno Ravella
Sets & Costumes
Leslie Travers
Ciarán Bagnall
Liz Roche
Assistant Director
Chris Kelly
Répétiteur & Language Coach
Mark Lawson
Assistant Conductor
Elaine Kelly


Behind the scenes

Introduction to Salome

Soprano Sinéad Campbell Wallace (Salome) and director Bruno Ravella tell us what audiences can expect from Irish National Opera's production of Salome.

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Behind the scenes

Bass-baritone Kevin Neville

Meet bass-baritone Kevin Neville, the emerging artist who sings the role of the Cappadocian in Irish National Opera's production of Salome.

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Behind the scenes

Mezzo-soprano Leanne Fitzgerald

Strauss' Salome features numerous smaller roles, providing excellent opportunities for young, emerging artists to showcase their talents. Mezzo-soprano Leanne Fitzgerald, a chorus member of Irish National Opera company, is seizing the chance to portray the role of a slave in this production.

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The great terrace in the palace of Herod at Tiberias, Galilee, the capital of his kingdom. About 30 AD. 

On the great terrace of Herod’s palace, the young captain, Narraboth, admires the beautiful princess Salome who sits at the banquet table with her stepfather Herod and his guests. A page warns the captain that something terrible may happen if he continues to stare at the princess, but Narraboth won’t listen. The voice of the prophet Jochanaan (John the Baptist) is heard from the cistern below where he is kept prisoner, proclaiming the coming of the Messiah. Two soldiers comment on his kindness and Herod’s fear of him.

Salome steps out on the terrace, disgusted by Herod’s advances toward her. Jochanaan’s voice is heard again, cursing Herod and Herodias, Salome’s mother. Transfixed by this voice, Salome persuades the captain to bring the prophet to her. At first frightened, Salome quickly grows fascinated and begs Jochanaan to let her touch his white body, then his black hair, and finally let her kiss his red mouth. The prophet forcefully rejects her. Narraboth, in despair over her actions, stabs himself. Jochanaan swears Salome will never kiss his mouth and tells her to save herself by seeking Christ. His words fall on deaf ears, he curses her as the daughter of an adulteress and leaves.

Herod comes out on the terrace looking for Salome. After commenting on the strange look of the moon, he slips in Narraboth’s blood and has hallucinations. Herodias dismisses his fears but Herod’s attention has turned toward Salome. When Jochanaan resumes the denunciation of Herodias, she demands that Herod hand over the prophet to the Jews. Herod refuses, maintaining that Jochanaan is a holy man who has seen God. These words spark an argument among the Jews concerning the true nature of God, until two Nazarenes relate the miracles of Jesus.

Herod asks Salome to dance for him. She refuses, but he wins her over by promising to give her anything she wants in return. Ignoring her mother’s pleas, Salome dances for the king. Delighted, Herod asks her what reward she would like. Salome replies with a smile: the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter. Herodias is delighted whilst Herod is horrified. He offers other rewards but Salome is adamant, and reminds him of his oath. He finally gives in, and the executioner goes to do his gruesome task. When the prophet’s head is brought to her, Salome passionately addresses Jochanaan as if he were still alive, and finally kisses his lips.

Herod, shocked and terrified, orders his men to kill her, and she is stoned to death.