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Jochanaan


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(Strauss: Salome). Bar. John the Baptist. He has been imprisoned by Herod in a cistern below the palace terrace, for his insulting comments about Herodias, Herod's second wife. His voice can be heard coming from the cistern, praising God and prophesying the coming of the Messiah. Salome is fascinated by his voice, and wheedles Narraboth into opening the cistern so that the Prophet can emerge and she can see him and touch him. Jochanaan appears, denouncing her mother and stepfather. When she tells him she is Herodias's daughter, he forbids her to come anywhere near him, calling her ‘Daughter of Sodom’. All Salome's attempts to attract him fail, and he swears she will never kiss his mouth, cursing her as the daughter of an adulteress and advising her to seek the Lord. He returns to his underground cistern and his voice is heard, causing great arguments among the Jews about the likelihood of the prophet having seen God. No more is seen of Jochanaan until his severed head is brought up to satisfy Salome's gruesome desires. Aria: Wo ist er?…wo ist sie…? (‘Where is he…where is she…?’). Created (1905) by Carl Perron (who in 1911 became the first Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier). See also Jean.

Subjects: Opera.


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