May O'Donnell in Herodiade [photograph].
Performed to music by Paul Hindemith and commissioned by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge for the Library of Congress, Herodiade (originally called Mirror Before Me) premiered on October 30, 1944, at the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The costumes were designed by Edythe Gilfond and the set was created by Isamu Noguchi. The original cast included Martha Graham and May O'Donnell. Reporting for the New York Times (November 1, 1944), critic John Martin noted that in Herodiade, "Miss Graham has created a powerful study of a woman awaiting a 'mysterious destiny' of which she has no knowledge. She has called it 'Mirror Before Me,' and into it she has poured a somber tension that is relentless and altogether gripping. The music is rich and dark in color and the action on the stage meets it magnificently on its own terms. Miss Graham's personal performance must rank among her most extraordinary achievements, and May O'Donnell, who dances the only other role, assists her superbly."