“Nun wohl! Ich lebe noch, aber du bist tot, und dein Kopf, dein Kopf gehört mir! Ich kann mit ihm tun, was ich will.”1 These are, of course, the words of Salome, Princess of Judea, in Richard Strauss's opera. But while the head of the Baptist continues to be demonstratively dead, Strauss's Salome lives—and is still alive and kicking, due to the position of his work in the Western operatic canon. One of the youngest additions to that elite club, Salome has joined a seemingly fixed list of those relatively few works that are reproduced over and over again in opera houses worldwide. Indeed, opera in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries appears as the quintessential art of repetition. Opera claims this position over spoken theater or film by its comparatively limited inflow of...

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