Virginia Opera: ‘Salome’ and her seven veils invade GMU this weekend

Still deliciously decadent after all these years, Richard Strauss’ intense one-act opera based on Oscar Wilde’s scandalous French-language play.

Virginia Opera brings Richard Strauss' decadent "Salome" to GMU's Center for the arts this Valentine's weekend.

FAIRFAX CITY, Virginia, February 13, 2015 – Strange indeed is the Valentine that the Virginia Opera company is bringing to Northern Virginia this romantic weekend. It’s Richard Strauss’ still moderately scandalous “Salome,” a short, intense, historically important opera whose decadent plot reaches its horrific concluding moments in just 100 minutes, give or take.

The two area performances of the opera will take place at GMU’s Center for the arts this Saturday and Sunday, February 14 and 15.

Strauss’ 1905 opera was built on Oscar Wilde’s then relatively unknown French-language verse-drama, which in turn was built on the legendary biblical-era fatal encounter of the pagan princess, Salome, with the doomed John the Baptist.

The resulting opera both fascinated and repelled audiences, a reaction due as much to Strauss’ distinctively chromatic and modernist score as it was to the opera’s final scene, in which Salome both sings to and kisses the bloody head of the decapitated Baptist after effectively winning it in that well-known Dance of the Seven Veils. So much for those who believe operas are boring and dull.

Starring soprano Kelly Cae Hogan as the amoral princess, the Virginia Opera’s take on this classic Strauss opera is a co-production with Oregon’s Portland Opera under the direction of Stephen Lawless.

Under the baton of Ari Pelto, members of the Virginia Symphony will accompany the singers in both performances, which will be sung in German with English surtitles.


Incoming: Virginia Opera’s production of Richard Strauss’ “Salome.” Two performances only: Saturday, February 14, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, February 15 at 2 p.m. (matinee). Free student tickets are available with a GMU ID.

Tickets and information: Ticket prices range from $44-98. For tickets and information on these performances, visit the GMU Center for the Arts website, or call 888-945-2468.

Location: The GMU Center for the Arts is located on the campus of George Mason University, not far from the Patriot Center off Braddock Road. Free or pay parking are both available.

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