Virginia Opera's Special Gift for Valentine's Weekend

Virginia Opera's Special Gift for Valentine's Weekend

“Salome” at George Mason University Center for the Arts.

Kelly Cae Hogan as Salome in Virginia Opera's production of "Salome."

Kelly Cae Hogan as Salome in Virginia Opera's production of "Salome." Photo courtesy of Virginia Opera

When and Where

Virginia Opera's “Salome” George Mason University Center for the Arts, at George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax. Performances Sat., Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. and Sun., Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets: $44 to $98. Call 888.945.2468 or visit… Note: “Salome” will be performed in German with English subtitles. Each performance will feature a free pre-opera discussion lead by Virginia Opera’s Dr. Glenn “Dr. Opera” Winters starting 45 minutes before the curtain.

Salome, a name that conjures unforgettable impressions: passion, desire, murder. The opera "Salome" is based upon a once shocking Oscar Wilde literary work. This Valentine's weekend the Virginia Opera is presenting a production about how love's obsession in the wrong hands can lead to the most unfortunate, unforeseen consequences.

With "Salome" a key figure is a femme fatale young woman who uses her femininity to get her way. She even demands the head of Jochanaan on a silver platter. The production is propelled by the rich score of German composer Richard Strauss. The music triggers chilling emotions and highlights the drama of the story. The opera is world famous for its "Dance of the Seven Veils."

"Scandalous in every way, the work includes some of the most glorious music and some of the craziest, most debauched moments in all opera," said conductor Ari Pelto. "It is fantastically exciting that Virginia Opera is able, and has the courage, to mount this production offering an unusually special night of theatre."

Directed by Stephen Lawless, “Salome” will feature Kelly Cae Hogan leading an eminent cast. Hogan was not long ago seen as Blanche DuBois in Virginia Opera's sultry "A Streetcar Named Desire." Alan Woodrow sings the key role of King Herod. Herod's promise to Salome sets things in motion to a spectacular finale. Woodrow spoke of the character of Salome as "almost a bored school girl, who only knows that she wants; when told 'no' she seeks out retribution."

Woodrow added that "Salome doesn't know how powerful she is. She is not aware of her powers of seduction over some men." The outcomes of her impetuous nature are not good.

To Woodrow, his Herod character is interesting in its complexity. Herod recognizes that Jochanaan is someone very special. He understands that Jochanaan should not be killed; there will be considerable consequences. But, since Salome has danced for Herod he must grant her wish. Woodrow made it clear that the last few minutes of the opera are something special to behold.

Virginia Opera partnered with Portland, Ore. Opera to produce "Salome." The production has a set design by Benoit Dudardyn and costumes from Ingeborg Bernerth that depict modern times in the Middle East. Virginia Opera President and CEO, Russell P. Allen, said, “With this production of ‘Salome,’ our audiences are receiving one of the most highly dramatic and intense operas ever written."