English National Opera Guides are ideal companions to the opera. They provide stimulating introductory articles together with the complete text of each opera in English and the original. 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.