Jakub Hrůša – conductor
Malin Byström – soprano (Salome)
Susan Bickley – mezzo-soprano (Herodias)
Peter Hoare – tenor (Herod)
Bartók The Miraculous Mandarin
— Interval —
Strauss Salome (Dance of the Seven Veils and closing scenes)
The two works in tonight’s programme demonstrate music’s power to seduce, to disturb, and to shock.
The premiere of the ballet The Miraculous Mandarin caused an uproar. It’s a lurid tale of prostitution, fraud, theft and murder, with a glowing ghost thrown in for good measure. Bartók’s score opens with a frantic, cacophonous depiction of the big city. Three crooks force a woman to attract men for them to rob, and Bartok writes sinuous melodies for the clarinet to accompany her provocative dances. Their third victim, the mandarin, is represented by trombone glissandos, and Bartok uses unusual techniques in all the sections of the orchestra to great dramatic effect.
Strauss’s Salome plumbs even greater depths of depravity. Tonight’s concert performance of the second half of the opera begins with the infamous Dance of the Seven Veils. Overcome by lust, King Herod has promised his stepdaughter Salome anything she desires if she will dance for him. She agrees, and demands the head of the prophet John the Baptist, who has spurned her own advances. Strauss deploys a huge orchestra to create overwhelming waves of sound – erotic, powerful, violent.
Swedish soprano Malin Bystrom was “sensational” (Bachtrack) in the role of Salome at the Royal Opera House in 2018.
Need to know
Prices & Discounts
£12 – £58 (premium)
Subscription discounts available; under-18s and concessions discounts available; £8 tickets for students via Student Pulse one month before the concert (limited availability)
1 hour 45 minutes, including 20 minute interval
Please note the choir stalls are not on sale
Surtitles will be displayed
Philharmonia Box Office: 0800 652 6717