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The story tells of Salome, the step-daughter of King Herod, and of her perverse love for St John the Baptist. He rejects her and any thought of love and sex. Salome has him beheaded to satisfy her perverse desire. In the final scene she kisses the dead lips of the saint before the disgusted guards crush her beneath their shields.
A dance in the opera called "The Dance of the Seven Veils" caused a great controversy. It was thought indecent, and it was a long time before many opera houses would stage Salome. Today, the dance is considered less offensive than the final moments in which Salome kisses the severed head of St John the Baptist.
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