Release date: 10/8/2009

San Francisco Opera Presents Richard Strauss' Salome Starring Nadja Michael, October 18-November 1, War Memorial Opera House

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SAN FRANCISCO (October 8, 2009)—San Francisco Opera presents Richard Strauss’ biblical drama Salome, opening October 18 with five subsequent performances through November 1 at the War Memorial Opera House. Starring in the title role is German soprano Nadja Michael in her Company debut. This co-production with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and L'Opéra de Montréal is directed by Seán Curran with Consulting Director and Dramaturg James Robinson. Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts Strauss’ adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play.
Nadja Michael, who has previously appeared as Salome at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Milan’s La Scala; and Berlin’s Linden Opera, makes her San Francisco Opera debut in this production. The soprano’s moving portrayal of Strauss’ pathological seductress has been described as “indolent, sexy and scary” by critics in London. Bringing a strong dramatic intensity to the role, Michael will perform the opera’s famously provocative “Dance of the Seven Veils.”
British tenor Kim Begley returns to San Francisco Opera in the role of King Herod, which he has both performed at the Metropolitan Opera and recorded on the Decca label. Begley was last heard with the Company as Captain Vere in 2004’s Billy Budd. Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley, who last appeared at San Francisco Opera as Count Monterone in Rigoletto, sings Jokanaan (John the Baptist). Grimsley has previously sung Jokanaan at the Metropolitan Opera and Vancouver Opera, and he will reprise the role at Arizona Opera this season. Russian born mezzo-soprano Irina Mishura, who made her Company debut in the summer of 1998 in the title role of Carmen and returned in 2005 as Adalgisa in Norma, sings the role of Salome’s mother, Herodias. Later this season Mishura will sing Herodias at Covent Garden and at Madrid’s Teatro Real. American tenor Garrett Sorenson makes his San Francisco Opera debut as Narraboth in this production and mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong appears as a Page, marking her Company debut.
San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in his first performances of the opera. The production team includes Director Seán Curran, a noted choreographer who makes his directorial debut with this production; Consulting Director and Dramaturg Jim Robinson, whose production of Il Trittico the Company presented earlier this season; and Production Designer Bruno Schwengl, who was also costume designer for Il Trittico.
The erotic and murderous biblical story of Salome and her lecherous stepfather Herod has shocked opera audiences since its first performance. Inspired by the Oscar Wilde play of the same name, Richard Strauss’ opera premiered to great controversy in 1905 in Dresden and was subsequently banned in London and Vienna; it was also forced to close at the Metropolitan Opera after its initial premiere performance there. Widely considered one of the great masterpieces of the 20th century, Salome is Strauss’ third opera and his first great operatic success. The plot follows the sultry princess as she uses her seductive powers to orchestrate the decapitation of John the Baptist by the hand of the licentious Herod, much to the delight of the princess's mother Herodias, who had been denounced by the prophet. Salome's repulsive declarations of love to the severed head so revolt Herod that he ultimately has her killed as well.
San Francisco Opera Guild presents an Insight Panel Discussion featuring members of the cast and production team on Monday, October 12 at 6 p.m. in the Herbst Theatre. Insight panels are free for Opera members and $5 for the general public; tickets can be purchased at the door 30 minutes prior to the discussion
Sung in German with English supertitles, the six performances of Salome are scheduled for October 18 (2 p.m.), October 21 (7:30 p.m.), October 24 (8 p.m.), October 27 (8 p.m.), October 30
(8 p.m.), and November 1 (2 p.m.), 2009.
Tickets and Information
Tickets for Salome range from $15 to $310 and may be purchased online at or from the San Francisco Opera Box Office either in person or by phone at (415) 864-3330. Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; tickets are $10 each, cash only. 310 each and
All performances will feature an informative Opera Talk by San Francisco Opera Director of Music Administration, Dr. Clifford Cranna. Talks begin fifty-five minutes before each performance in the orchestra section of the War Memorial Opera House and are presented free of charge to patrons with tickets for the corresponding performance.
The War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue at Grove Street. Patrons are encouraged to use public transportation to attend San Francisco Opera performances. The War Memorial Opera House is within walking distance of the Civic Center BART station and near numerous bus lines, including 5, 21, 47, 49 and the F Market Street. For more public transportation information, visit and
Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change. For further information about Salome and San Francisco Opera’s 2009-10 season, please visit