Richard Strauss, already known for his wonderful orchestral tone-poems, projected his genius at the turn of the twentieth century to opera, and this Guide contains the texts and introductions to his first two masterpieces in what was, for him, a new genre. Despite obvious similarities - both operas consist of one Act, centred upon one female title role - the articles included here reveal that the operas are really quite different in subject and treatment.
´Salome´, based on Oscar Wilde’s notorious play, has a kaleidoscopic range of orchestral colour and a lurid climax in ‘The Dance of the Seven Veils’ - an episode which has challenged generations of sopranos to dance as well as sing. ´Elektra´ was derived from the tragedies of the Ancient Greeks by the Austrian poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal, and is the first of his many collaborations with Strauss. It is also a study in neurosis, ripe for Jungian comparative analysis.