Dr Dafydd Mills Daniel pre-performance discussion of Richard Strauss’ Salome at the English National Opera

Dr Dafydd Daniel

As part of the pre-performance discussion of Richard Strauss’ Salome at the English National Opera, Dr Dafydd Mills Daniel discusses the original biblical story and Oscar Wilde's play, Salome, upon which Strauss’ opera is based. He argues that Wilde and Strauss used Salome to undermine the conventional dualities we often use to interpret the world – human and divine, holy and profane, good and evil. 

As a result, Wilde’s and Strauss’ portrayal of Salome forms part of their criticism of what they regarded as narrow understandings of human existence: religious ascetism, materialism, and nihilism. With reference to Wilde’s De Profundis, Dafydd suggests that Wilde made these criticisms in his play by representing Salome as Christ-like.