Salome / Das Gehege - Synopsis

Richard Strauss: Salome. Angela Denoke Wolfgang Rihm: Das Gehege. Gabriele Schnaut Richard Strauss: Salome. Wolfgang Schmidt, Angela Denoke

Salome / Das Gehege

Wolfgang Rihm /
Richard Strauss


Das Gehege

It is night and the woman is alone. She speaks to the golden eagle in his aviary, takes a knife, frees the bird and admires the eagle’s body. The sight of its plumage makes her feel naked. She challenges the eagle to attack her. She mocks it. When it stands up to her, she tells it about a suicide attempt. The more she irritates the eagle, the closer it comes to her. The woman threatens the eagle and accuses it of neglecting
her. When the woman realizes how old and powerless the bird is, she feels superior to it. The eagle pounces on her; she kills it with her knife.


Narraboth, a young captain of the guard, cannot take his eyes off Salome, who is obviously bored at the banquet given by Herod, the Tetrarch. The page warns Narraboth most urgently that his dangerous passion for Salome will get him into trouble.
Suddenly the voice of the prophet Jokanaan, who is being held captive by Herod, can be heard denouncing Herodias, Salome’s mother, because of her iniquitous behaviour and her marriage to Herod. Salome asks Narraboth to show her the prisoner. Although Herod has forbidden all contact with the prophet, Narraboth grants Salome her wish and has Jokanaan brought in. Jokanaan repeats his accusations and tells Salome that she should alter her lifestyle and follow the „Son of Man“, who is drawing nigh.
Salome has fallen in love with the prophet at first sight and desires his body, longs to kiss him. Narraboth kills himself. Jokanaan, however, refuses to satisfy Salome’s desires and curses her. Herod and Herodias have noticed that Salome has left the banquet. They quarrel
about Jokanaan, whom Herodias would like to see dead. Herod, on the other hand, considers him to be a holy man. Jews and Nazarenes quarrel amongst each other about whether Jokanaan‘s prophesies are true or whether they are mere charlatanism. Herod asks Salome to dance for him. He swears on oath that he will fulfill her every
wish if she will do so. In spite of her mother’s warning words, Salome begins to dance for Herod.
Herod is delighted and wishes to keep his promise, but to his horror Salome demands the head of the prophet. Herodias rejoices. Herod tries to change Salome’s mind with all kinds of promises but she remains pitiless and refuses to release him from his oath. The prophet is beheaded. Salome has achieved her goal: at last she can kiss
Jokanaan. Herod turns from her in revulsion and orders his guards to kill Salome.

Translation: Susan Bollinger
(c) Bayerische Staatsoper