Two unknown versions of Salome are out in print

Two unknown versions of Salome are out in print


norman lebrecht

October 04, 2021

The Bavarian Academy of Sciences has published two alternative scores for Richard Strauss’s opera Salome.

The first is the composer’s original 1905 setting in French, based on Oscar Wilde; the second is a lighter 1929 Dresden version for a lyrical soprano instead of the dramatic voice.

The scores appear as part of a complete Strauss critical edition. Many will be curious to see them staged.


  • William Evans says:

    I presume the ‘lighter version’ refers to the lyric soprano fach, not to the libretto. (Or was Herod the world’s foremost neurosurgeon in his spare time?!)

  • mary says:

    And the photo is from?

    Oh yes, I’d love to hear Salomé sung in French!

  • Carlos Solare says:

    “the composer’s original 1905 setting in French, based on an Oscar Wilde translation”

    Where to begin?

    1) Oscar Wilde wrote his play in French

    2) Strauss’s “original setting” was in German, based on a translation (by Hedwig Lachmann) of Wilde’s French text

    3) Strauss, in collaboration with Romain Rolland, later adapted the vocal lines to fit Wilde’s original French

    4) this version was performed and recorded over 30 years ago

    Otherwise, yes.

  • Jon says:

    Far from being unknown, the French version of Salome has been recorded twice, as well as being performed on stage.

    The first recording was released on Virgin classics in 1991.

  • Marc-André Roberge says:

    See the Dynamic CDS 571/2 released in 2008 and still available; details at [url]–strauss-r-salome[/url].

  • Marc-André Roberge says:

    The record number should read Dynamic 572/1-2. Sad that previewing a post before submitting is not possible. Norman might wish to consider a forum software that features this option.

  • A bit of a tangent, but certainly fodder for this community’s continual apoplexic outrage about “leftists and liberals.” The City Archive of Munich has prepared a list of 45 street names that should be considered for change due to the actions of the people they are named after. One of them is the Richard-Strauss-Strasse due to his close collaboration with the Nazis as President of the Reichsmusikkammer. In some cases, it is suggest that instead of changing the name, a clarifying stone tablet can be mounted on the street.

    A total of 372 streets have been listed for discussion, but Strauss made the short list of 45.

  • Edoardo says:

    There is the Nagano recording on EMI/Virgin (?) of the French version, sung in French and with a “lighter”orchestration

  • Anonymous Bosch says:

    If I’m not mistaken, the 1929 Dresden version was used by Karl Böhm in the 1974 Unitel film of „Salome“ directed by Götz Friedrich. The Salome is Teresa Stratas who, rather obviously, could never be expected to sing over the original orchestration. She never performed the role onstage. It was released by DG in the VHS era and is still available on DVD.

    Strauss himself conducted a performance in November 1930 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in which the orchestra had to be reduced due to the size of the orchestra pit.

    More recently, Theater an der Wien used a lighter orchestration, credited to Eberhard Kloke (b. 1948), in its January 2020 production starring Marlis Petersen.

    The French version was used from the time of its 1907 inception through the 1930s by sopranos such as Mary Garden and Olive Fremstad. It was performed in Lyon in 1990 and recorded by Kent Nagano with Karen Huffstodt, and in 2011 at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie.

    Footnote: Strauss created a Welte-Mignon piano roll of a transcription of the „Tanz der sieben Schleier“ in February 1906; it was played-back on restored equipment and digitally recorded by Teldec for CD release in 1985.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    I’ve seen Michael Volle look better.

  • clarrieu says:

    For those not familiar with the french story of “Salome”, it’s well worth remembering it’s not just about Strauss’ opera, for years before, composer Antoine Mariotte (1875-1944) had already planned to compose it (after Wilde’s original), and wrote it at the same time as Strauss (totally unbeknownst to each other). This simultaneity resulted in a big legal imbroglio about performing rights, which you can read about here:
    Mariotte’s Salome, a haunting work with a beautiful mood (though of course less revolutionary than the german one), has been recorded on CD from the first postwar-production of it (Montpellier 2005) and has experienced two different revivals since (both in 2014): Prinzregententheater Munich and Wexford festival.

  • bgn says:

    I had heard that Strauss tried to get Elisabeth Schumann (!) to sing Salome, even promising to reduce the orchestra for her, but I had no idea he had actually done so.