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Herodias


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1 (Strauss: Salome). Mez. She is the second wife of Herod, Tetrarch of Judaea, and mother of the 16‐year‐old Salome. She is a cold fish—in order to marry Herod, she killed her first husband who was Herod's brother. Jochanaan has been imprisoned by Herod because of his denunciation of Herodias and she urges her husband to hand him over to the Jews. Herodias is aware that Herod lusts after her daughter, and she treats him with contempt, proud of the way her daughter stands up to him. She supports Salome in her refusal to dance for Herod and in her request to be rewarded with Jochanaan's head on a silver salver—after all, has not the prophet insulted her, Herod's wife? She enjoys the emotional struggle between Salome and Herod until he has to give in to her macabre request. Then Herodias takes the ring from Herod's finger and sends it to the executioner, a sign that it is an order from Herod and must be obeyed. Salome, Herod points out, is truly her mother's child (Sie ist in Wahrheit ihrer Mutter Kind!). Created (1905) by Irene von Chavanne.

2 (Hérodiade) (Massenet: Hérodiade). Mez. Second wife of Hérode and mother of the long‐lost Salomé. Not knowing this is her daughter, she is jealous of her, because Hérode finds her attractive. She encourages Hérode in ordering the beheading of Salomé and John the Baptist. When Salomé realizes that Hérodiade is her mother, she kills herself. Created (1881) by Blanche Deschamps‐Jéhin.

Subjects: Opera.


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