The princess Salome becomes obsessed with Jochanaan (John the Baptist), the prisoner of King Herod, her stepfather. After a banquet one night, Herod promises Salome anything she wants if she will dance – so she does, and then asks for a violent favor in return. Based on Oscar Wilde’s play, Richard Strauss’ opera shocked the public when it premiered in 1905. Religion and desire combine in an extraordinary work that maintains its grip on audiences over a century later, with intense musicality and taut drama.

Join us for Madison Opera’s first production of a Strauss opera, starring internationally-acclaimed soprano Amanda Majeski in her first performances of the title role.

Friday, November 4 at 8 pm
Sunday, November 6 at 2:30 pm
Overture Hall
Sung in German with projected English translations

approx. run time: 1 hour 40 minutes, with no intermission

Note: This production contains depictions of violence, including suicide, and instances of implied sexual abuse.

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by Richard Strauss
libretto by Hedwig Lachmann
based on Salomé by Oscar Wilde

Premiered 9 December 1905
Königliches Opernhaus, Dresden, Germany

Madison Opera Premiere

Outside King Herod’s palace, captain Narraboth admires the beautiful princess Salome, who is inside at a banquet with her stepfather, Herod, and his court. A page warns Narraboth that something terrible might happen if he continues to stare at the princess, but Narraboth won’t listen. The voice of Jochanaan is heard from the cistern, where he is kept prisoner, proclaiming the coming of the Messiah.  Two soldiers comment on the prophet’s kindness and Herod’s fear of him.

Salome exits the palace, disgusted by Herod’s advances toward her and bored by his guests. Jochanaan’s voice is heard again, cursing the sinful life of Salome’s mother, Herodias. Salome asks about the prophet. The soldiers refuse to allow her to speak with him, but Narraboth, unable to resist her, orders that Jochanaan be brought forth from the cistern.

At first terrified by the sight of the holy man, Salome quickly becomes fascinated by his appearance, begging him to let her touch his hair, his skin, and his lips. Jochanaan forcefully rejects her. Narraboth, who can’t bear Salome’s desire for another man, stabs himself. Salome does not notice and continues to beg for Jochanaan’s kiss. The prophet shames her and retreats into the cistern, cursing Salome.

Herod appears from the palace, looking for the princess and commenting on the strange look of the moon. When he slips in Narraboth’s blood, he panics and has hallucinations. Herodias angrily dismisses his fantasies and asks him to go back inside with her, but Herod’s attentions are now focused on Salome. He offers her food and wine, but she rejects his advances.

From the cistern, Jochanaan resumes his tirades against Herodias, who demands that Herod turn the prophet over to the Jews. Herod refuses, maintaining that Jochanaan is a holy man and has seen God. His words spark an argument among the Jews concerning the true nature of God, and two Nazarenes talk about the miracles of Jesus. As Jochanaan continues to accuse her, Herodias demands that he be silenced.

Herod asks Salome to dance for him. She refuses, but when he promises to give her anything she wants, she agrees. Ignoring her mother’s pleas not to, Salome dances seductively, removing her clothes. The delighted king wants to know what reward she would like, and she innocently asks for the head of Jochanaan on a silver platter. Horrified, the king refuses, while Herodias laughs approvingly at Salome’s choice. Herod offers other rewards, but Salome insists and reminds Herod of his oath. The king finally gives in. As the executioner descends into the cistern, the princess anxiously and impatiently awaits her prize. When the prophet’s head is brought to her, she passionately addresses Jochanaan as if he were still alive and finally kisses his lips. The terrified Herod orders the soldiers to kill her.




Amanda Majeski

Madison Opera Debut: Opera in the Park 2021
Káťa Kabanová, Káťa Kabanová (Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Royal Opera Covent Garden); Third Norn/Gutrune, Götterdämmerung (Teatro Real Madrid); Vitellia, La Clemenza di Tito (Opéra de Paris); Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni (Lyric Opera of Chicago); Fiordiligi, Così fan tutte (Sante Fe Opera)

Craig Irvin Headshot
Craig Irvin

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Orest, Elektra (Minnesota Opera); Doctor/Junkman, Candide (Cincinnati Symphony); Older Thompson, Glory Denied (Knoxville Opera); Pirate King, The Pirates of Penzance (Utah Opera, Atlanta Opera); Lt. Horstmayer, Silent Night (Austin Opera, Minnesota Opera, Opera Philadelphia)

Petersen, Dennis
Dennis Petersen

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Aegisth, Elektra (Minnesota Opera); Mime, Das Rheingold (Minnesota Opera, Arizona Opera, Seattle Opera); Nick, La Fanciulla del West (Detroit Opera); Grampa, The Grapes of Wrath (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Detroit Opera); Beadle Bamford, Sweeney Todd (Mill City Summer Opera)

Decker, Lauren
Lauren Decker

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Principessa, Suor Angelica; Mamma Lucia, Cavalleria Rusticana (Toledo Opera): Giovanna, Rigoletto (Opera Philadelphia); 1st Maid, Elektra; Jade Boucher, Dead Man Walking; 3rd Lady, The Magic Flute (Lyric Opera of Chicago)

Williams-Ali, Chaz'men
Chaz’men Williams-Ali

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Prince, Rusalka; Pinkerton, Madama Butterfly;  Florestan, Fidelio; Canio, Pagliacci (Theater und Orchester Heidelberg); Zorn, Die Meistersinger (Metropolitan Opera); Spinner, Fire Shut Up in My Bones (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis); Robbins / Crab Man, Porgy & Bess (English National Opera, Dutch National Opera)

Middleman, Quinn 2022
Quinn Middleman

Madison Opera Debut: Alisa, Lucia di Lammermoor (2021)
Filippyevna, Eugene Onegin (Music Academy of the West); Mother, Amahl and the Night Visitors (Opera Louisiane); Sea Witch/Jezibaba, The Littlest Mermaid (OPERA Iowa); Madeleine, Silent Night; Flora, La Traviata (Utah Opera); Susanna, The Ghosts of Versailles (Chautauqua Opera); Mother, The Scarlet Ibis (Chicago Opera Theater)

Robert A. Goderich
1st Jew

Madison Opera Debut: Amelia’s Servant, A Masked Ball (2012)
Recently at MO: John Styx, Orpheus in the Underworld; Headwaiter, She Loves Me; Beppe, Pagliacci; 1st Priest/Armored Man, The Magic Flute; Spalanzani, The Tales of Hoffmann; Pirelli, Sweeney Todd
Recently: Beadle Bamford, Sweeney Todd (Middleton Players); Pirelli, Sweeney Todd (Skylight Theater, cover San Francisco Opera); Albin, La Cage aux Folles (Music Theater of Madison

Blalock, David
David Blalock
2nd Jew

Madison Opera Debut: Jaquino, Fidelio (2014)
Recently at MO: 20/21 Digital Season

Recently: Alfredo, La Traviata (Opera Columbus, Arizona Opera); Tamino, The Magic Flute; Don Ottavio, Don Giovanni (Pensacola Opera); Ferrando, Così fan tutte (Bar Harbor Music Festival); Younger Thompson, Glory Denied (Atlanta Opera); Pong, Turandot (The Metropolitan Opera); Nemorino, The Elixir of Love (Piedmont Opera); Sam Kaplan, Street Scene; Lysander, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Virginia Opera); Pelléas, Pelléas et Mélisande (West Edge Opera)

Abbott III, George
George Abbott III
3rd Jew

Madison Opera Debut: Inmate #3, Dead Man Walking (2014)
Recently: Tamino, Queen of the Night; Soloist, Opera in the Gardens; Sorcerer, Rinaldo (Fresco Opera); DF and Romantic Fish, Fish Fry (Fresco Opera, Tapit/New Works); Thuy, Miss Saigon (Middleton Player)

Mitchell, Evan
Evan Mitchell
4th Jew

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Adolfo Pirelli, Sweeney Todd (UW-Madison); French Soldier, Silent Night; Student, La Rondine (Minnesota Opera); Jeremy, Maelstrom; Rodolfo, La Bohème (Opera Bend)
Upcoming: Tenor Soloist, wo gehest du hin? (Luther College Chamber Orchestra); A Young Man’s Exhortation (First Unitarian Concert Series); Alfredo, La Traviata (UW-Madison)

Guzman, David
David Guzmán
5th Jew

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Leporello, Don Giovanni (Teatro América-Puerto Rico); Plutone, L’Orfeo (Milwaukee Opera Theatre); Court Usher, Rigoletto (Florentine Opera); Truffaldino, Ariadne auf Naxos; Pistola, Falstaff (CCM Opera)

Alan Dunbar
Alan Dunbar
1st Nazarene

Madison Opera Debut: Alidoro, Cinderella (2012)
Recently at MO: Sipos, She Loves Me; Joseph McCarthy/Interrogator/Frank, Fellow Travelers; Papageno, The Magic Flute; Schaunard, La Bohème; Dr. Bartolo, The Barber of Seville; Owen Hart, Dead Man Walking
Recently: Jesus, St. Matthew Passion (Bach Roots Festival); Bass Soloist, Bach B Minor Mass (Bach Society of Minnesota); Die schöne Müllerin (Winona, MN)

Valdez, Pedro
Pedro Valdez
2nd Nazarene

Madison Opera Debut
Madison Opera Studio Artist
Recently: Rinuccio, Gianni Schicchi (Lonestar Lyric Opera); Don Ottavio, Don Giovanni (Chicago Summer Opera); Don Ramiro, La Cenerentola (Northern Lights Music Festival); Albreto, La Curandera; First Sailor, Dido and Aeneas; Tamino, The Magic Flute (Texas State Opera

Andrew Wilkowske
1st Soldier

Madison Opera Debut: Fellow Travelers (2020)
Recently at MO: 20/21 Digital Season
Recently: Figaro, The Marriage of Figaro (Cincinnati Opera); Don Alfonso, Così fan tutte (Mill City Summer Opera); Ponchel, Silent Night (Minnesota Opera, Austin Opera, Atlanta Opera); Papageno, The Magic Flute (Komische Oper Berlin, Minnesota Opera); Malatesta, Don Pasquale (Fort Worth Opera)

Handley, Sam
Sam Handley
2nd Soldier

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Zaretsky, Eugene Onegin (Opera Omaha); Daniel Webster, The Mother of Us All; Don Alfonso, Così fan tutte (Rochester Philharmonic); Dulcamara, The Elixir of Love (Tiroler Festspiele Erl)

Lindsay Meekof Headshot
Lindsey Meekhof

Madison Opera Debut
Madison Opera Studio Artist
Recently: Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd; Edka, Two Remain; Julia Child, Bon Appétit! (UW-Madison); Maddalena, Rigoletto; Hansel, Hansel and Gretel; Prince Orlofsky, Die Fledermaus (South Bend Lyric Opera)

White, Ryan
Ryan White

Madison Opera Chorus Member Since 2012
MO Solo Role:
Ensemble, She Loves Me; Quartet, The Abduction from the Seraglio
Recently: Captain Corcoran, HMS Pinafore (Midwest Cornish Festival); Priest, Kristi and the Priest (Belle Ensemble)

John DeMain

Madison Opera Debut: The Magic Flute (1995)
Recently at MO:  Opera in the Park; Orpheus in the Underworld; She Loves Me; Lucia di Lammermoor
Blue (Glimmerglass Festival); Candide (Gran Teatre de Liceu); Porgy and Bess (Seattle Opera)

Keturah Stickann
Stage Director and Choreographer

Madison Opera Debut: Rusalka (2019)
Recently: Suor Angelica / Cavalleria Rusticana (Toledo Opera); The Mother of Us All (Chautauqua Opera); A Little Night Music (Arizona Opera); Carmen; Lucia di Lammermoor (Opera Colorado); Candide (Detroit Opera); Pélleas et Mélisande (West Edge Opera); Turandot (San Diego Opera)



Kay & Martin Barrett

Martha & Charles Casey

Patricia & Stephen Lucas

Thomas Terry

Fran Klos

David Myers

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