Performance Thursday, May 24, 2012 | 8 PM

The Cleveland Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
In Salome, Strauss set a scandalous libretto to some of the most incendiary and ingenious music in opera. This concert performance is a rare opportunity to hear one of music history’s most revolutionary works played by one of the world’s best orchestras, with reigning stars of the opera house Nina Stemme and Eric Owens in the lead roles.


  • The Cleveland Orchestra
    Franz Welser-Möst, Music Director and Conductor
  • Nina Stemme, Soprano (Salome)
  • Eric Owens, Bass-Baritone (Jochanaan)
  • Rudolf Schasching, Tenor (Herod)
  • Jane Henschel, Mezzo-Soprano (Herodias)
  • Garrett Sorenson, Tenor (Narraboth)

  • Cast also includes:
  • Jennifer Johnson Cano
  • Rodell Rosel, Tenor
  • Matthew Plenk, Tenor
  • Bryan Griffin, Tenor
  • James Kryshak, Tenor
  • Brian Keith-Johnson, Baritone
  • Sam Handley, Bass-Baritone
  • Darren Stokes, Bass-Baritone
  • Evan Boyer, Bass


  • R. STRAUSS Salome, Op. 54 (concert performance)


  • The Cleveland Orchestra

    Under the leadership of Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, The Cleveland Orchestra has become one of the most sought-after performing ensembles in the world. In concerts at its winter home at Severance Hall and at each summer's Blossom Festival, in ongoing residencies from Miami to Vienna, and on tour around the world, the orchestra sets the highest standards of artistic excellence, creative programming, and community engagement.

    The partnership with Franz Welser-Möst, now in its 10th season, has earned The Cleveland Orchestra unprecedented residencies in the US and in Europe, including one at the Musikverein in Vienna-the first of its kind by an American orchestra. The orchestra regularly appears at European festivals, including an ongoing series of biennial residencies at the Lucerne Festival. In the United States, Mr. Welser-Möst and the orchestra have toured from coast to coast, including regular appearances at Carnegie Hall. In January 2007, they launched an annual residency called Cleveland Orchestra Miami, which provides a wide array of community, performance, and educational activities in Miami, Florida. In addition, the orchestra has performed in residence at Indiana University and began a new residency program in New York City as part of the 2011 Lincoln Center Festival.

    The Cleveland Orchestra has a long and distinguished recording and broadcast history. A series of DVD and CD recordings under the direction of Mr. Welser-Möst has recently been added to an extensive and widely praised catalog of audio recordings made during the tenures of the ensemble's former music directors. In addition, Cleveland Orchestra concerts are heard in syndication each season on radio stations throughout North America and Europe.

    The Cleveland Orchestra was founded in 1918 by a group of local citizens intent on creating an ensemble worthy of joining America's top rank of symphony orchestras. Over the next decades, the orchestra grew from a fine regional organization to one of the most admired symphonic ensembles in the world. Seven music directors (Nikolai Sokoloff, 1918-1933; Artur Rodziński, 1933-1943; Erich Leinsdorf, 1943-1946; George Szell, 1946-1970; Lorin Maazel, 1972-1982; Christoph von Dohnányi, 1984-2002; and Franz Welser-Möst, since 2002) have guided and shaped the ensemble's growth and sound. Touring performances throughout the US and, beginning in 1957, to Europe and across the globe have confirmed Cleveland's place among the world's top orchestras. Year-round performances became a reality with the first Blossom Festival in 1968, presented at an award-winning, purpose-built outdoor facility located just south of the Cleveland metropolitan area near Akron, Ohio. Today, touring, residencies, radio broadcasts, and recordings available by internet download, DVD, and CD provide access to the orchestra's music making to a broad and loyal constituency around the world. Visit for additional information.

    Franz Welser-Möst

    The 2011-2012 season marks Franz Welser-Möst's 10th year as music director of The Cleveland Orchestra, with a long-term commitment extending to the orchestra's centennial in 2018. He holds the orchestra's Kelvin Smith Family Endowed Chair. Under his direction, the orchestra is acclaimed for its continuing artistic excellence, is presented in a series of ongoing residencies in the US and Europe, continues its championship of new composers through commissions and premieres, and has re-established itself as an important operatic ensemble. Concurrently with his Cleveland post, Mr. Welser-Möst is general music director of the Vienna State Opera.

    Under Mr. Welser-Möst's leadership, The Cleveland Orchestra has launched a series of residencies in important cultural locations around the world. These include residencies at Vienna's Musikverein and Switzerland's Lucerne Festival, as well as programs at the Lincoln Center Festival and Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. The orchestra's annual residency in Miami, under the name Cleveland Orchestra Miami, features multiple weeks of concerts coupled with community activities (modeled on the orchestra's long-term educational programs in Cleveland) with more than a dozen partnerships across Miami-Dade organizations and educational institutions.

    Mr. Welser-Möst has led opera performances each season during his tenure in Cleveland. Following six opera-in-concert presentations, he brought fully staged opera back to Severance Hall with a three-season cycle of Zurich Opera productions of the Mozart-Da Ponte operas and leads concert performances of Strauss's Salome this month.

    In addition to serving as general music director of the Vienna State Opera, Mr. Welser-Möst maintains an ongoing relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he recently performed at the Lucerne Festival and Salzburg Festival, in Tokyo, and in concert at La Scala in Milan. He led that orchestra's annual New Year's concert in 2011, telecast worldwide, and has been invited to conduct it again in 2013. Across a decade-long tenure with the Zurich Opera, culminating in three seasons as general music director (2005-2008), he led the company in more than 40 new productions.

    Mr. Welser-Möst's recordings and videos have won international awards and two Grammy nominations. He has led The Cleveland Orchestra in video recordings of live performances of Bruckner's symphonies nos. 5, 7, 8, and 9. Together, they have released recordings of Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder (with soprano Measha Brueggergosman) and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

    Franz Welser-Möst has been recognized by the Western Law Center for Disability Rights and is an honorary member of the Vienna Singverein. Musical America named him the 2003 Conductor of the Year. He is the co-author of Cadences:Observations andConversations, published in a German edition in 2007.


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  • Nina Stemme

    Swedish soprano Nina Stemme is in demand at the world's major opera houses and festivals-from the Vienna State Opera and the opera companies of Zurich, Naples, New York, and San Francisco, to Bayreuth, Salzburg, Glyndebourne, and Bregenz. Her repertoire includes leading roles in works that range from Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice and Weber's Die Freischütz, to Puccini's La bohème and Madama Butterfly, to Berg's Wozzeck and Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. Ms. Stemme also portrays a range of Wagner's heroines in Der fliegende Holländer, Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Tannhäuser, and Die Walküre. Her first performance in Tristan und Isolde at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera was released on DVD; she recorded the opera for EMI with Plácido Domingo as Tristan. Ms. Stemme's discography also includes Beethoven's Fidelio, music by Strauss, and Zemlinsky's Der König Kandaules. Her recent appearances include Sieglinde and Brünnhilde in the Vienna State Opera's new production of Wagner's Ring, Brünnhilde in San Francisco Opera's complete Ring cycle, and Strauss's Salome at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu, as well as concerts in Berlin, Frankfurt, London, Lucerne, and Paris. Ms. Stemme was appointed Swedish Royal Court Singer in 2006, is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, and received the 2008 medal Litteris et Artibus from the King of Sweden. Her performances as Salome this month mark her Cleveland Orchestra and Carnegie Hall debuts.


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  • Eric Owens

    American bass-baritone Eric Owens holds a unique place in the contemporary opera world as an acclaimed interpreter of classic works and as a champion of new music. Mr. Owens has performed with the major opera houses of North America, and in London at the English National Opera and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. His repertoire includes roles in operas by Bellini, Britten, Donizetti, Handel, Mozart, Rossini, and Wagner (including his acclaimed work in the Metropolitan Opera's new Ring cycle). Mr. Owens has created a niche for himself in contemporary opera through new and challenging roles. He was applauded in the title role for the world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal's Grendel. He also enjoys a close association with John Adams, who created the role of General Leslie Groves for him in the world premiere of Doctor Atomic at the San Francisco Opera, and the role of the Storyteller in the world premiere of A Flowering Tree in Vienna. Mr. Owens has appeared with major American and European orchestras, singing both operatic and concert roles. A native of Philadelphia, he studied voice at Temple University and the Curtis Institute of Music, and was later a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio. His honors include the 2003 Marian Anderson Award and first prizes in the Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition, the Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions, and the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition. He first appeared as a soloist with The Cleveland Orchestra in 1998.


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  • Rudolf Schasching

    Austrian tenor Rudolf Schasching was born in Upper Austria and received his first musical training in the St. Florian Boys' Choir. He later studied at the Vienna Music Academy, where he earned a diploma in vocal studies. After graduation, Mr. Schasching began a two-decade-long affiliation with the Staatstheater Saarbrücken, where he sang more than 50 roles. Since 2000, he has been a member of the Zurich Opera, where he has worked with Franz Welser-Möst, Claudio Abbado, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, among other conductors. Mr. Schasching's repertoire includes operas by Berg, Janáček, Mozart, Schoenberg, Strauss, Wagner (including the Ring cycle), and Weber. He has appeared at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Opéra de Paris-Bastille, and the Vienna State Opera, as well as at the Bregenz and Salzburg festivals. Concert engagements have taken him to London, Luxembourg, Prague, Sofia, and Tokyo. Mr. Schasching's discography includes Beethoven's Ninth Symphony as well as a long list of radio recordings throughout his career. In 2003, he was awarded the title of Kammersänger by the Culture Ministry of the Saarland. Mr. Schasching makes his debut with The Cleveland Orchestra with this month's performances of Salome in Cleveland and New York.


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  • Jane Henschel

    American mezzo-soprano Jane Henschel has appeared with major opera companies throughout Europe and the United States. Born in Wisconsin, she studied at the University of Southern California, and subsequently moved to Germany. In concert, she has appeared with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Staatskapelle Dresden, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. She made her Cleveland Orchestra debut in June 2006 in performances of Verdi's Falstaff. Ms. Henschel has appeared at the Glyndebourne, Saito Kinen, and Salzburg festivals, and has also sung with the Bavarian State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Los Angeles Opera, Opéra de Paris, Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), San Francisco Opera, La Scala, and Vienna State Opera. Recent roles have included Erda in Wagner's Ring at the Royal Opera House and Auntie in Britten's Peter Grimes at the Salzburg Festival. Her signature roles include the Nurse in Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten, which she has sung in the opera houses of Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Paris, and Vienna. Her recordings include roles in Albéniz's Merlin (which won a 2001 Grammy Award) and Henry Clifford, Britten's The Turn of the Screw (which received a 2003 Gramophone Award), Krása's Verlobung im Traum, Mahler's Symphony No. 8, and Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress.


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  • Garrett Sorenson

    American tenor Garrett Sorenson is a graduate of Texas Tech University and the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, which he joined in 2001. He was also a member of the Santa Fe Opera's Apprentice Program. Mr. Sorenson has performed on opera stages in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Santa Fe, as well as with Canadian Opera Company and West Australian Opera. His repertoire includes roles in works by Bizet, Donizetti, Janáček, Massenet, Puccini, Schoenberg, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, and Wagner. In the 2010-2011 season, Mr. Sorenson made his Broadway debut in Terrance McNally's Master Class. He has appeared in concert with ensembles across the US, including orchestras in Alabama, Baltimore, Houston, New York, San Francisco, South Dakota, and Utah. He is a winner of the Opera Birmingham Young Singer Contest, the Sorantin Young Artist Award, and the 2003 George London Foundation Competition, and was a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions' Southwest Region. He also received a Sara Tucker Study Grant and a 2004 Richard Tucker Foundation Career Grant. Mr. Sorenson first sang with The Cleveland Orchestra in 2004.


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  • Jennifer Johnson Cano

    Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano sings a wide range of repertoire on symphonic, operatic, and recital stages across the United States. A 2011 Sara Tucker Study Grant recipient, Ms. Cano joined the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera in 2008, and made her Metropolitan Opera debut as a bridesmaid in Le nozze di Figaro, Sandman in Hansel and Gretel, and Wellgunde in the Met's new production of Das Rheingold. As a Young Concert Artist winner, she was awarded the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival and Princeton University prizes, and gave recitals throughout the US. She has also toured with Musicians from Marlboro. A native of St. Louis, Ms. Cano earned a bachelor's degree in music from Webster University and a master's degree from Rice University.


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    Rodell Rosel

    Rodell Rosel made his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Remendado in Carmen, and has also sung roles there in Lulu, Die Zauberflöte, Rigoletto, Der Rosenkavalier, and Turandot. At the Metropolitan Opera, he has appeared as Valzacchi in Der Rosenkavalier,  and as Nathaniel and Franz in a new production of Les contes d'Hoffmann. Additional engagements include performances with opera companies in Houston, Pittsburgh, Santa Fe, and Washington, DC, as well as at the Ravinia Festival. Born in Manila, Mr. Rosel studied at the University of California-Los Angeles, and was a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Ryan Opera Center.

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  • Matthew Plenk

    Tenor Matthew Plenk is a recent graduate of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as the Sailor's Voice in Tristan und Isolde. He has since returned to the Met as Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor (in New York and on tour in Japan), Song Seller in Il tabarro, and Marcellus in Hamlet. His concert engagements have included the Shepherd in Oedipus Rex with the orchestras of Boston and Philadelphia, as well as his Carnegie Hall debut with the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Ensemble. Mr. Plenk holds a bachelor's degree from the Hartt School of Music and a master's degree from Yale University. His awards include Grand Finalist in the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.


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  • Bryan Griffin

    A graduate of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, tenor Bryan Griffin made his Lyric Opera debut as Edmondo in a new production of Manon Lescaut, and has since appeared there as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Fenton in Falstaff, and Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette. He has also appeared with orchestras across the US in a variety of works from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to Handel's Messiah, as well as the  world premiere of Michael Torke's Parks with the Grant Park Music Festival. Mr. Griffin received his undergraduate degree from The Juilliard School, and was an apprentice artist at the Santa Fe Opera and a member of the young artist program of Florida Grand Opera.


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  • James Kryshak

    Tenor James Kryshak has sung a wide range of operatic roles, from Ernesto in Don Pasquale and Nanki-Poo in The Mikado to Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance and Pelléas in Pelléas et Mélisande. He completed two seasons with the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Ryan Opera Center. He holds a master of music degree in opera performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a bachelor of arts degree in both music (voice) and German from Elmhurst College in Illinois. Mr. Kryshak has also studied in Vienna and served an apprenticeship with Des Moines Metro Opera. He will sing the role of Scaramuccio in a new production of Ariadne auf Naxos with England's Glyndebourne Festival in 2013.


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  • Brian Keith Johnson

    Baritone Brian Keith Johnson has performed many roles in opera, from Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte to Ford in Falstaff and Crown in Porgy and Bess. As a member of Actors' Equity, he has played a variety of musical theater roles, ranging from Jim in Big River to Father/God in Children of Eden. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras across the US in repertoire that ranges from Bach's Magnificat and Mozart's Requiem to Brahms's A German Requiem and Orff's Carmina Burana. Mr. Johnson received his bachelor's degree from the University of Akron, and has also studied abroad at the New Opera Academy of Rome and at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.


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  • Sam Handley

    Bass-baritone Sam Handley is a graduate of Lyric Opera of Chicago's Ryan Opera Center, where he performed more than a dozen roles, including Quince in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Tom in Un ballo in maschera. On the symphonic stage, he has sung with major orchestras across the US in repertoire that includes works by Handel, Haydn, Bach, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Vaughan Williams, and Mozart. Engagements this season include his Asian debut at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing as Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia. Mr. Handley's recordings include Argento's Casanova's Homecoming on Newport Classics and a DVD of his collaboration with Peter Schickele for P. D. Q. Bach in Houston: We Have a Problem on Acorn Media.


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  • Darren Stokes

    American bass-baritone Darren Stokes has added more than 40 roles to his repertoire since embarking on a singing career in 2002. He completed two seasons with the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Ryan Opera Center, and also trained with the young artist programs of Glimmerglass Opera and Sarasota Opera. He has performed with prominent orchestras and opera companies throughout the US, including the Boston Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, San Francisco Opera, and Washington National Opera. Mr. Stokes has also toured with Rick Benjamin's Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, the world's only year-round, professional organization that performs ragtime-era music.


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    Evan Boyer

    Bass Evan Boyer is a second-year artist with the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago. His roles this season include Luther in Les contes d'Hoffmann, Mityukha in Boris Godunov, Lakai in Ariadne auf Naxos, and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte. He also makes his debut with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in Bach's Cantata No. 82. Mr. Boyer was a national semifinalist in the Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions in 2009, after being awarded the Grand Prize at the Middle-Atlantic Regional Finals. He was the Grand Prize winner for Men's Voice of the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation Competition. Additional recognition has included grants and awards from the Louisville Bach Society, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, and the American Opera Society.

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Pre-concert talk starts at 7:00 PM in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage with Walter Frisch, Professor of Music, Columbia University.


R. Strauss's Salome (Final Scene)
Royal Opera House Orchestra Covent Garden | Antonio Pappano, Conductor | Nina Stemme, Soprano


From the moonlit terrace of King Herod's palace, the captain of the guard, Narraboth, comments on the beauty of Princess Salome, who is at dinner inside with her stepfather and his court. The voice of the prophet Jochanaan is heard from a cistern, where Herod has imprisoned him. Salome, tired with Herod's advances toward her, comes outside for fresh air. Her curiosity is piqued by Jochanaan's curses against her mother, Herodias. Salome asks that Jochanaan be brought to her. The guards refuse, so Salome begins flirting with Narraboth, who finally orders that the prisoner be displayed for the princess to see. Salome is fascinated by the prophet's appearance and asks to touch his skin, his hair. He rejects her, speaking of the Son of God who will come to save humanity. Salome begs for a kiss from Jochanaan. Narraboth kills himself in disgust and rejection. The prophet returns to his cell, telling Salome to seek salvation in the Messiah.

Herod appears from the palace, looking for Salome. He slips on Narraboth's blood and begins hallucinating. He is obsessed with Salome's beauty. He offers her food and wine, but she rejects him. Jochanaan is again heard cursing Herodias, who asks why her husband hasn't turned the prophet over to the Jews. Herod, afraid that Jochanaan's prophecies may be true, refuses to release him. The discussion sparks an argument among the Jews over the true nature of God. Two Nazarenes talk of the miracles of Jesus. Herodias demands that Jochanaan be silenced.

Ignoring everyone else, Herod asks Salome to dance for him. She refuses. He asks again and when he promises to give her anything, she finally agrees. Ignoring her mother's pleas, Salome dances for her lustful stepfather (Dance of the Seven Veils). He is delighted and asks what Salome wants in return. She asks for the head of Jochanaan on a silver platter. Herod is horrified, while Herodias laughs approvingly of Salome's choice. The king offers Salome other rewards, but she reminds him of his solemn promise. Herod finally gives in. As the executioner descends into the cistern, Salome anxiously awaits her prize. When the prophet's head is brought to her, she passionately addresses him as if he is still alive and then kisses him on the lips. Horrified and disgusted, Herod orders the soldiers to kill Salome.
Program Notes


Jeremy Geffen introduces R. Strauss's Salome

Nina Stemme as Salome in the final scene of the Liceu Opera's 2008–2009 production of the opera.

The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Robert L. Turner and Mr. and Mrs. Daniel R. Lewis in support of the 2011-2012 season. The Trustees also gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Jean Stein, whose contribution honors the memory of Edward W. Said and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.

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