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George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Presents Virginia Opera Richard Strauss’ “Salome” Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 at 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 at 2 p.m.

January 20, 2015
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George Mason University’s Center for the Arts


Virginia Opera

Richard Strauss’ “Salome”

Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 at 2 p.m.


FAIRFAX, Va., Jan. 20, 2015 – Virginia Opera, the Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia, presents Richard Strauss’ chilling one-act opera, “Salome,” an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s notorious play about the Bible’s wicked femme fatale as part of its landmark 40th anniversary season. “Salome” will be performed at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 at 2 p.m. A pre-performance discussion, presented by Virginia Opera’s Community Outreach Musical Director Glenn “Dr. Opera” Winters, is free for ticketholders and will be held 45 minutes prior to each performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III. Pre-performance discussions are sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts.

Co-produced with Portland Opera, this macabre masterpiece is a premier example of the lush musical sounds of early 20th century opera composition. Salome, the beautiful yet troubled stepdaughter of Herod Antipas, has a perverse obsession with the imprisoned John the Baptist, who spurns her seductions. Meanwhile, her lecherous stepfather is willing to offer her whatever her heart desires if only she will perform a dance for him, until he learns the extremity of her demands. Strauss’ work, which premiered in 1905 in Dresden, Germany, both shocked and thrilled audiences with its extravagant debauchery, evocative score and gripping story filled with Biblical themes, murder, desire, passion and eroticism. The work was initially banned in Vienna and London and early performances in New York were cancelled due to its controversial content, but it has since been embraced by opera lovers, and the titular role, with its broad vocal range and the sensual “Dance of the Seven Veils,” is considered one of the most demanding in all of opera.

Conductor Ari Pelto, known to Virginia Opera audiences for his bravura performances of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” returns to conduct the Virginia Opera Orchestra, while returning director Stephen Lawless brings dramatic life to this intense production, as he did with last season’s “Falstaff.”

A popular portrayer of Salome, soprano Kelly Cae Hogan, known for her praiseworthy performance as Blanche DuBois in Virginia Opera’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” leads a cast of leading Strauss interpreters as she plays the corrupt princess. The Oregonian called Hogan’s portrayal of Salome in Portland Opera’s production “a vocal triumph.” Baritone Michael Chioldi, known for his engagements with Washington National Opera and Lyric Opera Baltimore, appears as the prophet Jochanaan (John the Baptist), the object of Salome’s desire, who urges the young girl to repent and seek salvation through Jesus Christ. 

“[‘Salome’] is a famously challenging work and puts the listener in awe of what Strauss wrote,” Pelto said. “Scandalous in every way, the work includes some of the most glorious music and some of the craziest, most debauched moments in all opera. It is fantastically exciting that Virginia Opera is able, and has the courage, to mount this production offering an unusually special night of theater.”

“Salome” will be performed in German with English supertitles. Images will be available online at in the coming weeks. Virginia Opera may also be found on the web at, on Twitter at @vaopera and on Facebook at


PLEASE NOTE: For mature audiences only.

 Parental discretion is advised due to graphic themes and imagery.


Tickets for VIRGINIA OPERA’S production of “SALOME” are Saturday: $86, $72 and $44 and Sunday: $98, $80 and $48. Visit the ticket office (open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) or charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the Mason Pond Parking Deck adjacent the Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university Lot K. For more information, please visit Like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @GMU_CFA.


About Great Performances at Mason

Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance, Art and Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.


About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Mason is also one of the best values in higher education, producing graduates who lead all Virginia schools with the highest annual salaries.


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