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1 (Herodes) (Strauss: Salome). Ten. Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Judaea. His second wife is Herodias; and Salome, after whom he lusts, is his 16‐year‐old stepdaughter. He holds captive the prophet Jochanaan, who has denounced the sinful Herodias, but Herod is still somewhat in awe of Jochanaan, the man of God. Herod is superstitious and not a little mentally disturbed, worried about the way the wind blows and how the moon looks. His desire for Salome is uppermost. ‘Dance for me, Salome’, he asks, and when she refuses, and all his bribes do not move her, he promises to grant her anything she requests, if she will only dance for him. So she dances and he watches her, fascinated and aroused. Then she claims her reward—the head of Jochanaan on a silver salver. Herod cannot believe his ears. He will give her jewels, his white peacocks, even the Veil of the Temple. But Salome will not be diverted and at last, too weak to argue any longer, Herod sends down into the cistern an executioner to carry out her wishes, at the same time disowning her—she becomes ein Ungeheuer, deine Tochter (‘a monster, your daughter’) he tells Herodias. As Salome's total depravity reaches its climax, Herod can take no more and orders his soldiers to kill her. Arias: Salome, komm, trink Wein mit mir (‘Salome, come drink wine with me’); Salome, tanz für mich (‘Salome, dance for me’). Created (1905) by Karl Burrian, who set an example to the rest of the cast during the rehearsal period. Many of them felt the music was too difficult and were ready to return their parts, but Burrian (an uncle of Emil Burrian, the composer) already knew his by heart, thus countering the ‘too difficult’ accusations. It has become one of the roles relished by tenors, including Julius Patzak, Max Lorenz, Ramon Vinay, Richard Lewis, Helmut Melchert, and, more recently, Emile Belcourt, Nigel Douglas, Manfred Jung, Robert Tear, Peter Bronder, and Kenneth Riegel. See also article by Robert Tear.

2 (Hérode) (Massenet: Hérodiade). Bar. Hérode, Tetrarch of Judaea. Husband of Hérodiade and stepfather of Salomé. Orders Salomé and Jean (John the Baptist) to be beheaded. Created (1881) by Mons. Manoury.

Subjects: Opera.

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