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Opera Philadelphia and The Philadelphia Orchestra Join Forces on First-Ever Co-Production: Richard Strauss's SALOME

Initial Partnership Brings Together Innovative Opera Producer and Renowned Orchestra

Monday, March 25, 2013:  Richard B. Worley, chairman of The Philadelphia Orchestra, joined Opera Philadelphia chairman Daniel K. Meyer today to announce plans for a first-ever artistic collaboration in the 2013-14 season—a theatrically-inspired production of Richard Strauss’s compelling and provocative masterpiece, Salome. The performances, set to take place on Thursday, May 8, and Saturday, May 10, 2014, in the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall, will be led by Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. With this initial collaboration, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia reinforce their strong commitment to delivering more diverse offerings to audiences in Philadelphia and beyond through groundbreaking performances and innovative collaborations. This new partnership leverages Opera Philadelphia’s reputation as a dynamic producer of theatrical opera, and The Philadelphia Orchestra’s standing as one of the preeminent orchestras in the world.

In addition to his symphonic concerts in Philadelphia and on the world’s most prestigious podiums, Yannick Nézet-Séguin is increasingly known and admired for his work in the great opera houses of the world. He brings his unbridled passion for opera to this project—drawing on his close relationships with a constellation of internationally-acclaimed vocalists, including soprano Camilla Nylund (Salome), mezzo-soprano Birgit Remmert (Herodias), tenor John Mac Master (Herod), and bass-baritone Alan Held (John the Baptist). As The Philadelphia Orchestra commemorates the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss’s birth in its 2013-14 season, the multi-year celebration—of which Salome is the hallmark production—also features an array of the composer’s works, including tone poems, concertos, a serenade, and more. May 2014 will mark the first complete performances of Salome by The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin commented: “Salome is to me one of the greatest masterpieces written in the 20th century, and bringing this great operatic score to Philadelphia Orchestra audiences is special on its own.  To now work closely with Opera Philadelphia to create a theatrical environment around the music makes this project even more exceptional. This will be a unique and dramatic telling of the story of Salome that will mesmerize both Orchestra and Opera audiences. I am thrilled to begin my journey with the Orchestra into the world of opera by working together with our new partners at Opera Philadelphia.” 

“I am so ecstatic that two of Philadelphia’s iconic performing arts organizations will be sharing the stage of Verizon Hall in 2014,” said David B. Devan, General Director and President of Opera Philadelphia. “This partnership is born out of a genuine alignment between our two companies’ shared artistic goals, and together we will be creating an amazing moment of civic pride for our city.  Salome will broaden the operatic experience for our audience, perfectly complementing our 2013-2014 season’s large-scale operas in the Academy of Music and the intimate chamber works of the Aurora Series at the Perelman Theater. I am confident that our staging of Salome will allow audiences to follow this well-known story in an exciting, thought-provoking setting.” 

In recent seasons Opera Philadelphia has been recognized nationally for its innovative production design and collaborative partnerships, exemplified by the 2012 production of Puccini’s La bohème, in collaboration with the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Extending the company’s production footprint from the Academy of Music and Perelman Theater into Verizon Hall for Salome is a natural extension of the Opera’s mission to present both traditional and contemporary opera in innovative, engaging ways.

“This is a thrilling time for us as we prepare to join forces with one of Philadelphia’s flagship cultural organizations in a project that will combine and advance our shared institutional goals of artistic growth, innovation, and reinvigorated concert experiences,” said Allison Vulgamore, Philadelphia Orchestra CEO and president. “We are incredibly fortunate and proud to have an organization such as Opera Philadelphia to partner with in this exciting initiative, and look forward to giving audiences everywhere an even more compelling reason to visit Philadelphia and experience everything it has to offer as a musical destination.”

Considered scandalous when it premiered in 1905, and banned for years in the U.S. and elsewhere, Strauss’s adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s play is among the most important musical works of the 20th century. Mahler, who attended the 1906 premiere along with Puccini, Zemlinsky, and Schoenberg, praised the piece as “one of the greatest masterworks of our time.” This fast-paced, one-act opera is known as much for its revolutionary use of large-scale orchestra and virtuosic singers as it is for its graphic depiction of this deeply psychological tale. At the core of this erotically-charged opera set in biblical times exists a tangled and disturbed triangle: the persecuted John the Baptist, a lecherous King Herod, and the monarch’s pathologically seductive stepdaughter, Salome, who eventually demands the head of the imprisoned prophet on a silver platter. This virtuosic score of massive proportions culminates with the famous and controversial “Dance of the Seven Veils,” as well as an explicit scene with the beheaded prisoner. 



MONDAY, MARCH 25, 2013

Contact: Frank Luzi
Director of Communications

Office: 215.893.5902
Mobile: 215.779.7614


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Opera Philadelphia
1420 Locust St   Suite 210
Philadelphia, PA   19102


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Opera Philadelphia
1420 Locust St
Suite 210
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102

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