Skip to main content


Palais Theatre
22 Feb 2020 - 27 Feb 2020


Palais Theatre, St Kilda

Saturday 22 February 2020, 7.30pm 
Tuesday 25 February 2020, 7.30pm 
Thursday 27 February 2020, 7.30pm

Running time is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, no interval

Sung in German with English surtitles

Suitable for mature audiences, ages 15+

Patrons' Pre-show Drinks Tuesday 25 February, 6:30pm

Price reserve maps for this production can be found on our Venue Information page.

Where to eat near the Palais Theatre.

The image of Salome kissing the severed head of John the Baptist (Jochanaan) at once repulses and fascinates, permeating popular culture from classical painting to theatre. Based on Oscar Wilde’s notorious play, Strauss’ opera combines a biblical tale with sexual awakening, eroticism and murder, exploring the nature of desire and outer limits of human behaviour. 

Intoxicating Salome, the teenage stepdaughter of King Herod (Herodes), is overcome by her desire for the prophet Jochanaan. After his rejection, she takes her revenge by demanding his head.

Emotion rings out in the music which holds a physical power and immediacy, full of rich orchestral colour, and includes the infamous ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’. A stellar international and Australian cast features Vida Miknevičiūtė, Ian Storey, Daniel Sumegi, Liane Keegan and James Egglestone.

Prepare to be astounded by this horrifying yet exhilarating spectacle. One of the most extreme operatic experiences, Salome is an extraordinary work that still has the same power to shock audiences as it did when it was first performed.


Story & Music

The story

At a banquet hosted by King Herod, Narraboth, the Captain of the Guard is entranced by Salome, the teenage daughter of Herod’s wife Herodias. Seeking to escape the leering gaze of her stepfather, Salome becomes intrigued by the cries of the imprisoned prophet Jochanaan and convinces Narraboth to bring him to her.

Although Jochanaan rejects her, Salome obsesses over him. She praises his voice and physical features, above all, his mouth. Herod persuades Salome to dance for him and promises her whatever her heart desires in return. As her prize Salome requests Jochanaan’s head on a silver platter so she can finally kiss his lips.

The music

Strauss’ daring and inventive score conveys feelings of terror, lust, hatred and obsession through melodious and dissonant music with rapid-fire shifts of mood. Opening without an overture, a slithering clarinet scale immediately sets the scene of Middle Eastern orientalism, further developed in the heady ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’. Recurring leitmotifs give expression to characterisation and reinforce the idea of obsession in a changing web of associations. Veering from cacophonous to sweeping melodies, lyricism and exotic harmonies reflect the poetry of the text, while polytonality represents the extreme psychological situations. 

Cast & Creatives

Composer Richard Strauss
Librettist Oscar Wilde translated by Hedwig Lachmann

Conductor Richard Mills
Director Cameron Menzies
Set Designer Christina Smith
Costume Designer Anna Cordingley
Lighting Designer Gavan Swift
Choreographer Elizabeth Hill-Cooper


Herod Ian Storey
Herodias Liane Keegan
Salome Vida Miknevičiūtė
Jochanaan Daniel Sumegi
Narraboth James Egglestone
Page of Herodias Dimity Shepherd 
Jews Paul BiencourtDaniel ToddTimothy ReynoldsCarlos E. Bárcenas, Raphael Wong
Nazarenes Simon MeadowsDouglas Kelly
Soldiers Alex PokryshevskyJerzy Kozlowski
Cappadocian Kiran Rajasingam
Slave Kathryn Radcliffe


Orchestra Victoria


“★★★★ ½ The voices are awe-inspiring.”

“★★★★ ½ This production is perhaps the company’s most impressive's visually enthralling and unnerving”

“★★★★ It may be an old and bloody tale, but it feels very much alive in this excellent rendition.”

“World-class...dazzling and disturbing”

“Vida Mikneviciute is a revelation”

Eamonn Kelly, The Australian, 27 February 2020