— Dallas Morning News Classical Music Critic Scott Cantrell
Salome by Richard Strauss • Once in a great while, the term “over the top” doesn’t seem nearly high enough. A king’s unbridled lust and his stepdaughter’s obsession with John the Baptist combine with explosive force in this lushly passionate rendering of Oscar Wilde’s play, set in ancient Judea. It’s a work that requires a phenomenal cast and the Dallas Opera delivers, starting with soprano Deborah Voigt in the title role and baritone Greer Grimsley as the prophet in their long-awaited company debuts! Conducted by Evan Rogister, this Biblical tale of lust and betrayal in the court of King Herod (sung by tenor Robert Brubaker) promises to reveal humanity at its most depraved and to uncover our deepest, darkest secrets…one veil at a time.
Starring Deborah Voigt • Robert Brubaker • Greer Grimsley • Susan Bickley • Scott Quinn • Heather Johnson
Conductor Evan Rogister • Director Francesca Zambello
Opera in Brief
Unfamiliar with this opera? Let YouTube’s fizzylimon introduce you!
The palace of King Herod, Tetrarch of Palestine—a courtyard with a cistern. Narraboth, Captain of the Guard, is infatuated with the princess Salome; the King’s Page warns him that such an infatuation is dangerous. Two soldiers comment that the Jews at the banquet inside are making a racket with their religious disputes and that Herod is in a dark mood.
A powerful voice is heard coming from the cistern. A Cappadocian visitor asks who the voice belongs to; the soldiers reply that it is a prophet named Jokanaan (John the Baptist). They deny the Cappadocian’s request to see the prisoner because Herod has forbidden any contact with him.
Salome comes outside hoping to escape Herod’s glances. When Jokanaan is heard again, she asks about him. She demands to see the prisoner. Refused by the soldiers, she turns to Narraboth. When she offers to meet him in the market the next day, he relents and orders the soldiers to let Jokanaan out.
Jokanaan rants about the sins of Herod, his wife (Herodias, Salome’s mother), and the people of Judea, saying they should all cleanse themselves and go into the desert to find and follow “the Son of Man.” Salome extols Jokanaan’s body, his hair, and his mouth. As she becomes more and more fascinated with Jokanaan, Narraboth tries to divert her attention. When he fails, he stabs himself and dies.
When Salome insists that he kiss her, Jokanaan curses her and returns to his cistern.
Herod, followed by Herodias, comes looking for Salome. He decides to move the festivities outside. He finds Narraboth’s body and orders it removed. He tries to entice Salome to take food or wine with him, but she refuses. Herodias mocks him.
Jokanaan’s voice is heard again, inspiring a debate among the banquet guests. Eventually, Jokanaan returns to berating Herodias; she demands that he be silenced.
Herod asks Salome to dance. She refuses, but when he offers her any reward she names, she relents and dances.
After the dance, Herod tells Salome to name her reward. She demands a silver platter with the head of Jokanaan. Herod is aghast; Herodias is triumphant. Herod offers Salome jewels, pearls, land, anything but a man’s life. When she refuses even the high priest’s robe and the veil of the sanctuary, Herod relents.
The executioner goes into the cistern. Salome waits anxiously. Hearing no pleas or fighting, she thinks the executioner has failed. Finally, he returns with the severed head.
Becoming ever more demented, Salome relives her lust for Jokanaan, finally kissing his dead mouth.
Herod orders the soldiers to kill Salome. They crush her with their shields.
Deborah Voigt (Salome) A Chicago native raised in southern California, soprano Deborah Voigt is recognized as one of the world’s most versatile singers and one of music’s most endearing personalities. A leading dramatic soprano, internationally revered for her performances in the operas of Wagner and Richard Strauss, she has also portrayed some of the heroines of Italian opera to great acclaim. An active recitalist and performer of Broadway standards and popular songs, Voigt has an extensive discography and has given many enthusiastically received masterclasses. She appears regularly, as both performer and host, in the Met’s “Live in HD” series, which is transmitted live to movie theaters across the U.S. and overseas. Honored in the media with a CBS 60 Minutes profile, features in People and Vanity Fair, spotlights in More and O – the Oprah Magazine, and appearances on Good Morning America, CNN, and the nationwide telecast of the MACY’S Thanksgiving Day Parade and July 4 fireworks celebration, Voigt has become America’s most visible and beloved diva. Known to Twitter fans as a “Dramatic soprano and down-to-earth Diva,” Voigt was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the top 25 cultural tweeters to follow. She is currently writing a memoir scheduled for publication by Harper Collins in 2015.
Robert Brubaker (Herod) Tenor Robert Brubaker’s recent engagements include Mime in Siegfried and Das Rheingold, Maletestino in Francesca da Rimini, the Witch in Hänsel und Gretel, and Chairman Mao in Nixon in China for the Metropolitan Opera. He also recently performed Old Man Marshall in Anna Nicole at BAM in New York City, Dr. Caius in Falstaff at Los Angeles Opera, Luigi in Il Tabarro and Canio in I Pagliacci at Opera Theater of St Louis. Future engagements include the Jailer/Inquisitor in Il Prigionero at the Teatro Liceu in Barcelona, and Begearss in The Ghosts of Versailles with Los Angeles Opera. Mr. Brubaker’s performance as Chairman Mao in the Metropolitan Opera production of Nixon in China, conducted by the composer, John Adams, was recently released on DVD.
Greer Grimsley (Jokanaan – John the Baptist) Greer Grimsley, bass-baritone, is internationally recognized as an outstanding actor and one of the most prominent singers of our day. He is a leading interpreter of Wotan in Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Scarpia in Tosca, Jokanaan in Salome, the title roles in Der fliegende Holländer and Macbeth, Mephistopheles in Faust, and the Four Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann. He has performed these roles with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Royal Danish Opera, Teatro Liceu Barcelona, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro la Fenice, Santa Fe Opera, and Tokyo’s Nikikai Opera. In coming seasons, Mr. Grimsley will sing Scarpia in Tosca for Seattle Opera, the title role in Sweeney Todd for Vancouver Opera, and make returns to The Met.
Susan Bickley (Herodias) Mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley’s repertoire ranges widely from baroque works to repertoire by our foremost contemporary composers. In 2011 she received the Singer Award at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards, the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK. Ms. Bickley has performed for the world’s major opera houses, orchestras and festivals including Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, Oper Frankfurt, Salzburg Festival, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Berlin Staatsoper, Opéra de Paris, San Francisco Opera and BBC Proms. She has created roles for several world premieres, including Virgie in Anna Nicole at ROH and Detective in Two Boys at English National Opera. Forthcoming highlights include Messangiera in Orfeo with ROH, the world premiere of Tansy Davies’ Between Worlds at ENO and Tippet’s A Child of Our Time in São Paulo.
Scott Quinn (Narraboth) Tenor Scott Quinn is a former Artist in Residence of The Dallas Opera where his performances included Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette, Roderigo in Otello, Lord Cecil in Roberto Devereaux, Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor, and the cover of Greenhorn in the world premiere of Heggie’s Moby-Dick. He formerly placed second in The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition and performed Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle with the Dallas Arts District Chorale. Recent portrayals include Ferrando in Così fan tutte for Fort Worth Opera and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly for Chautauqua Opera. His role debuts in 2014-15 include Duca in Rigoletto with Atlanta Opera, Alfredo in La traviata with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Pirelli in Sweeney Todd, and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte for Houston Grand Opera.
Heather Johnson (Herodias’ Page) Heather Johnson, mezzo-soprano, is making her Dallas Opera debut this season in Salome. Recent performances include the title roles of Lizzie Borden for Boston Lyric Opera, and Carmen with Virginia Opera. She had her Metropolitan Opera house debut as the Flower Maiden in Parsifal after appearing in its Summer Recital Series. She has appeared at Sarasota Opera in the role of Maddalena in Rigoletto, the title character in La Cenerentola and as Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible. Other career highlights include performances as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly for Portland Opera Repertory Theater, Rosina in Opera Southwest’s production of Il barbiere di Siviglia, Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti for Moab Music Festival, and Sainte-Marie in L’enfance du Christ with New York Choral Society at Carnegie Hall.
Bradley Garvin (First Nazarene) Recent engagements for bass Bradley Garvin include Monterone in Rigoletto with The Dallas Opera, Prince Arjuna in Satyagraha, De Bretigny in Manon, and the Animal Trainer and Acrobat in Lulu all with the Metropolitan Opera. He has also portrayed the Four Villains in Les contes d’Hoffman for Florida Grand Opera, Scarpia in Tosca with Boston Lyric Opera, and the King in Aida at the Bregenzer Festpiele. Additional title roles have taken him to the stages of Houston Grand Opera, Arizona Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Palm Beach Opera in Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Der fliegende Holländer, as well as Escamillo in Carmen, Mephistopheles in Faust, and Jochanaan in Salome.
Grigory Soloviov (First Soldier) Russian bass Grigory Soloviov has appeared on stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Gran Teatro La Fenice, the Washington National Opera, Bolshoi Academic State Theatre, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Opéra National de Lyon, Opéra de Montréal, the Palm Beach Opera, the Connecticut Grand Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the New Opera Festival di Roma, and the Opera Ischia Festival. During 2009, he completed his studies with the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist’s Program. He attended the prestigious Moscow State Conservatory, and took part in master classes by Nesterenko, Chernov, Malfitano, and Raimondi. He has won or placed as a finalist in vocal competitions at the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions in Washington, the XIII International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, and the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition.
Jason Grant (Second Soldier) Bass Jason Grant’s past performances at The Dallas Opera include Leporello in Don Giovanni and Four Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann. He debuted at Seattle Opera as Monterone in Rigoletto and will return to the company as Cesare Angelotti in Tosca. He has sung with the New York City Opera where his roles included Leporello in Don Giovanni, Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, and Don Profondo in Viaggio a Reims. He has also performed with Opera Orchestra of New York (Douglas in Donna del lago and Attila). Debut appearances include the New York Philharmonic (St. Matthew Passion and Angelotti), Saint Louis Symphony (Don Fernando in Fidelio), and Milwaukee Symphony (Bach’s Mass in B Minor). Future engagements include the New York Philharmonic as Pater Profundis in performances of Mahler’s Eighth.
Joseph Hu (First Jew) Taiwanese-American tenor Joseph Hu is appearing as the First Jew in Salome for The Dallas Opera where he has also performed the roles of Beppe in Pagliacci and Pang in Turandot. His previous roles in America and abroad include Goro in Madama Butterfly (San Diego Opera, Vancouver Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Indianapolis Opera, Israeli Opera), Pang/Pong in Turandot (Seattle Opera, Opera Memphis), Eisslinger in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Beppe in Pagliacci (San Antonio Opera, Opera Delaware), Steuermann in Der fliegende Holländer (Bangkok Opera), and Spoletta in Tosca (San Diego Opera). In coming seasons, Mr. Hu will portray the roles of Tanzmeister/Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos with Tapei Symphony, and Pong in Turandot with Opera Carolina and Cincinnati Opera.
Jay Gardner (Second Jew) Tenor Jay Gardner’s Dallas Opera appearances include the role of the Second Noble in Lohengrin, Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus, The First Armed Guard in The Magic Flute, and performing with The Dallas Opera Chorus for five seasons. Career highlights include the role of Canio in Pagliacci with Kansas Concert Opera, and the title role in Roméo et Juliette and Sam Polk in Susannah for the Marjorie Lawrence Opera Theatre. In addition, his solo concert appearances include the Carnegie Hall premiere of Sing for the Cure, commissioned by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the University of North Texas Symphony Orchestra.
John Robert Lindsey (Third Jew) Tenor John Robert Lindsey has performed in 14 productions over three seasons as a Resident Artist with Minnesota Opera. Past engagements include Marvin Heeno in the revised Dream of Valentino, Malcolm in Macbeth, Count Elemer in Arabella, Edmondo in Manon Lescaut, Pang in Turandot, Ismaele in Nabucco, Goro in Madama Butterfly, Jonathan Dale in Silent Night, Don José in Carmen, Sam Polk in Susannah, and the character of Stage Manager in Our Town. He has also covered several lead roles with Minnesota Opera including Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut, Matteo in Arabella, and MacDuff in Macbeth. His concert repertoire has included Tenor Soloist in Parables by Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein, Mozart’s Requiem, Great Mass in C Minor, and Handel’s Messiah.
Steven Haal (Fourth Jew) Tenor Steven Haal reprises his role as Fourth Jew in this exciting production of Salome. Mr. Haal made his debut with The Dallas Opera in the acclaimed 2000 production of Berg’s Wozzeck, and most recently joined the company as Emperor Altoum in a 2013 Dallas Opera favorite, Turandot. Other roles include Missail in Boris Godunov, Nantucket Sailor in the world premiere of Moby-Dick, Captain in Simon Boccanegra, Ambrogio in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Spoletta in the school performances of Tosca, among others. Mr. Haal also sang the role of Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with The Living Opera; and played the role Richard Mason in the musical adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre with Lyric Stage in Irving, Texas.
Patrick Guetti (Fifth Jew) (Phyllis A. McCasland and Thomas H. McCasland, Jr. Young Artist) Bass Patrick Guetti has appeared at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts as Tom in Un Ballo in Maschera, the title role of Don Quichotte, Prince Gremin and Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin, Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Arkel in Pelléas et Mélisande, and Crespel and Wilhelm in Les contes d’Hoffmann. He has also sung José Tripaldi in Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar with Opera Philadelphia, the Commendatore in Don Giovanni in Martina Arroyo’s “Prelude to Performance” program, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with the Bel Cantanti Opera Summer Festival, and with The Catholic University of America. Last summer, he was an Apprentice Artist with the Santa Fe Opera. He is originally from Highland Park, New Jersey and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at The Catholic University of America.
Tyler Simpson (Second Nazarene) Bass-baritone Tyler Simpson’s recent performances include The Enchanted Island and Die Frau ohne Schatten for the Metropolitan Opera, marking his fourth season at the company where he has worked on 15 productions thus far. Mr. Simpson previously performed at the Met in Le comte Ory. Previous portrayals include a house debut as Zuniga in Carmen and Sacristan in Tosca for Atlanta Opera, and Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte and Ferrando in Il trovatore for Fort Worth Opera. He also made his European debut with Die Münchner Philharmonike singing Benoit in La bohème. He has appeared as Simone in Gianni Schicchi, Mother in Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins, Benoit in La bohème, and Dr. Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia for the Castleton Festival.
Naguanda Nobles (A Slave) Soprano Naguanda Nobles made her debut with The Dallas Opera singing the role of the High Priestess in Aida. She has also performed the role of Liu in Puccini’s Turandot for the Austin Lyric Opera, the Dayton Opera and more recently with the Pittsburgh Opera. Other standout roles include Mimi in La bohème, Sister Rose in Dead Man Walking, Clara in Porgy and Bess and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte. Ms. Nobles has also made her mark on the concert stage in the United States and abroad. One of her most memorable moments as a solo artist was performing the soprano solo in Wynton Marsalis’ All Rise, with Marsalis, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the Boston Symphony under the direction of Kurt Masur.
Matthew Stump (A Cappadocian) Matthew Stump is a bass-baritone from Goshen, IN. He is currently a graduate student at the University of North Texas and studies with Dr. Stephen Austin. Recently he worked in the prestigious Merola Opera Program in San Francisco where he participated in the scenes program. At UNT Mr. Stump has played the title role in Sweeney Todd, Capulet in Roméo et Juliette, Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance and Figaro in a scene from Le nozze di Figaro. This fall he will be performing Don Bartolo in the UNT production of Il barbiere di Siviglia. This past year he was the Concerto Competition winner at UNT and third place at The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College.
Production Staff Biographies
Evan Rogister (Conductor) Evan Rogister makes his Dallas Opera debut with these performances of Salome. Other notable recent debuts include Opera Philadelphia in performances of Oscar, and Gothenberg Opera in performances of Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung. Recent U.S. engagements have included appearances at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Royal Swedish Opera, and the Seattle Opera. He just recently conducted Moby-Dick at the Washington National Opera. From 2009-2011, Mr. Rogister served as Kapellmeister at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. He is a regular guest with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and Alabama Symphony. Mr. Rogister received a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University and continued his graduate studies at the Juilliard School, the National Conservatory in Paris, and the Peabody Conservatory.
Francesca Zambello (Stage Director) An internationally recognized director of opera and theater, Ms. Zambello’s work has been seen at The Dallas Opera, Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Bolshoi, Royal Opera House, Munich State Opera, Paris Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Houston Grand Opera. Her work ranges from her recent production of The Ring in San Francisco, a co-production with Washington National Opera, to her acclaimed Show Boat presented in Chicago, Houston, Washington, and San Francisco last season. She has staged plays and musicals on Broadway, at the Royal National Theatre, BAM, the Guthrie Theater, Vienna’s Raimund Theater, the Bregenz Festival, Sydney Festival, Disneyland, and at the Kennedy Center. She is Artistic Director of the Washington National Opera and General and Artistic Director of Glimmerglass Festival.
Peter J. Davison (Scenic Designer) Peter J. Davison has designed sets for opera, theater, musicals, and ballet since his professional debut in 1988 at London’s National Theatre. He made his San Francisco Opera debut with his set designs for 2009’s Porgy and Bess and returned for the 2011 world premiere of Heart of a Soldier. Other opera credits include The Rake’s Progress, Le nozze di Figaro, and Cyrano de Bergerac for the Metropolitan Opera, The Queen of Spades for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Manon Lescaut for Opera Australia, Der Rosenkavalier, Carmen, and Maria Stuarda for English National Opera, and Guillaume Tell for Paris Opera. He received “Best Designer” at the Martini/TMA Regional Theatre Awards for Medea and St. Joan, and won an award for the musical Rebecca in Vienna.
Anita Yavich (Costume Designer) Anita Yavich most recently collaborated with the Goodman Theatre on Chinglish during the 2010/2011 Season. Opera credits include Cyrano de Bergerac at La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Les Troyens at the Metropolitan Opera, Steve Reich’s Three Tales at the Vienna Festival and international tour, Salome, Fidelio, Die Walküre and Das Rheingold at Washington National Opera, Madama Butterfly at Houston Grand Opera and Grand Théâtre de Genève and Der Fliegende Holländer and The Silver River at Spoleto Festival USA. Ms. Yavich’s work has appeared on Broadway in Chinglish, New Jerusalem and Texts for Nothing at Classic Stage Company, Measure for Pleasure, Kit Marlowe, The Winter’s Tale, Civil Sex and Pericles at the New York Shakespeare Festival. She received a 2006 Obie Award.
Mark McCullough (Lighting Designer) Lighting designer Mark McCullough made his Dallas Opera debut in 2001 with Tobias Picker’s Thérèse Raquin, and has subsequently lit Anna Bolena and Roberto Devereux. Among the other opera companies for whom he has designed lighting are the Metropolitan Opera (Le nozze di Figaro), Washington Opera (Die Walküre, Das Rheingold, and Porgy and Bess), Royal Opera Covent Garden (The Queen of Spades), Boston Lyric Opera (Aida, Madama Butterfly, and Tosca), Glimmerglass Opera (The Glassblowers and The Mother of Us All), San Francisco Opera (Rigoletto and The Mother of Us All), and Teatro Real de Madrid (Luisa Miller). The American designer is an alumnus of the North Carolina School of the Arts and holds a Master’s of Fine Arts degree from the Yale School of Drama.
David Zimmerman (Wig and Make-up Designer) David Zimmerman has worked with The Dallas Opera and other opera companies around the world. These include the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Santa Fe Opera, Paris National Opera, and Opera Santa Barbara. Mr. Zimmerman’s career extends to Broadway as well, where he has worked on shows including Wicked, Rocky Horror, Show Boat, South Pacific and Evita. His personal clients include Deborah Voigt, Joyce DiDonato, Patricia Racette, Martha Stewart, Olympia Dukakis, and Ricky Martin. He has also done the make-up for the DIFFA Fashion Runway, Dallas Fashion and Art Charity, and the Yelp.com fashion event. His print credits include two features in Opera News plus features in both Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Television and film credits include Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year and a feature film.
Andrea Dorf McGray (Associate Director) Andrea Dorf McGray is a freelance stage director whose most recent work includes La bohème for Maryland Opera Studio, Amahl and the Night Visitors for Ash Lawn Opera, Let Freedom Sing: the Story of Marian Anderson for Washington National Opera and the Washington Performing Arts Society, and the Washington National Opera/Kennedy Center’s Opera Look-in 2012: Don Giovanni, and Opera Look-in 2012: Così fan tutte, for which she also wrote the scripts. Other work has included Così fan tutte for Washington National Opera Studio, and Wachsfigurenkabinett for Aspen Music Festival & School. Her production of L’heure espagnole was the winner of the 2003-2004 National Opera Association’s Opera Production Competition. Upcoming productions include a remounting of Amahl & the Night Visitors for Ash Lawn Opera.
Yael Levitin (Choreographer) Ms. Levitin is currently a choreographer and under the direction of Francesca Zambello is reprising her choreography of Salome’s dance of the seven veils for The Dallas Opera that she had created previously for Washington National Opera. She was a guest artist with the Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan and a dance captain in its production of Salome. Ms. Levitin was also a principal dancer with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and performed in several productions including Aida, Die Fledermaus, Salome, Eugene Onegin, and The Merry Widow. Prior to that she was a dancer with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performing in national and international productions. She was a faculty member of Columbia College Chicago and taught ballet in the college’s dance department. She has been recognized by the Royal Academy of Dance.