Franz Welser-Möst conducts The Cleveland Orchestra and an international cast in concert performances of Richard Strauss's SALOME at Severance Hall tonight, May 19, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 26, at 8 p.m.
The opera will also be presented at New York's Carnegie Hall, on Thursday, May 24, at 8 p.m. These will be the first Cleveland Orchestra performances of SALOME. Principal cast members are soprano Nine Stemme as SALOME, tenor Rudolf Schasching as Herod, mezzo-soprano Jane Henschel as Herodias, bass-baritone Eric Owens as Jochanaan, and tenor Garrett Sorenson as Narraboth. Ms. Stemme and Mr. Schasching make their Cleveland Orchestra debut with these performances. The opera will be performed in German, with projectEd English supertitles for the Severance Hall performances.
In SALOME, Richard Strauss set a scandalous libretto to some of the most incendiary and ingenious music ever written for an opera – one of music history's most revolutionary works. The German libretto was created by Strauss, based on the German translation by Hedwig Lachmann of the play by Oscar Wilde.
Soprano Nina Stemme, who has just been awarded the honorary title of Kammersängerin for her significant artistic contributions to Austria, has been acclaimed for her performances as Salome and in numerous other roles. Opera Magazine noted that she "projected her first SALOME with sumptuous power and radiance that few if any have achieved since Hildegard Behrens in her prime." Seen and Heard International commented that, "The presence of Swedish soprano Nina Stemme as Salome was a real event for aficionados…. Her vocal performance was as brilliant and overwhelming as might be expected from such a great singer…. Powerful, homogenous, brilliant, wonderfully expressive, courageous and living the character completely, Nina Stemme was no less than a match for the best Salomes in the history of opera…. She is a Salome to be remembered for many years."
In February 2010, the Associated Press wrote of Ms. Stemme's Metropolitan Opera appearance in the title role of Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos that she "sang a radiant performance" that "showed off both glimmering high notes and a powerful, honey-filled lower register…." Other recent highlights of Nina Stemme's career have been her role debuts as Arabella in Gothenburg and Ariadne at Geneva Opera, the roles of Sieglinde and Brünnhilde in Siegfried in the new "Ring" Cycle at the Vienna State Opera, and her role debut of SALOME at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. She has also appeared in a concert version of Fidelio with Claudio Abbado at the Lucerne Festival (recorded on CD) and in the role of Brünnhilde in Die Walküre for the opening of the season at La Scala in Milan. In 2011, Ms. Stemme appeared as Brünnhilde in the San Francisco Opera's "Ring" Cycle and, for her Paris Opera debut, as Elisabeth in Tannhaüser at Opéra Bastille. This season, she performed the role of Tosca at the Vienna State Opera under the direction of Franz Welser-Möst.