[Met Performance] CID:190040

Metropolitan Opera House, Fri, February 2, 1962

Salome (55)
Richard Strauss | Oscar Wilde
Jane Rhodes

Ramon Vinay

Blanche Thebom

Walter Cassel

William Olvis

Joan Wall

Charles Anthony

Robert Nagy

Gabor Carelli

Andrea Velis

Gerhard Pechner

Ernst Wiemann

Roald Reitan

Norman Scott

Louis Sgarro

Calvin Marsh

Lynn Blair

Joseph Rosenstock

Ralph Herbert

Set Designer
Donald Oenslager

Salome received seven performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Robert Coleman in the New York Sunday Mirror


Richard Strauss' "Salome" had its first performance of the season at the Metropolitan Opera House last evening. It was an event to send shivers up and down the spine, and make one's hair stand on end. Faults it had here and there, but for our money it was a thriller.

"Salome" is one of the most difficult of operas to sing. Legend has it that the artists chosen for the premiere in Dresden turned in their parts after the initial rehearsal. They changed their minds, however, and the work triumphed. This it has been doing elsewhere ever since.

Strauss was a master of orchestration. He was more interested, we think, in the music than in the problems of its interpreters. It is not a vehicle for singers with parlor voices, particularly when there is a dynamic conductor on the podium. And such a conductor is the Met's Joseph Rosenstock.

We thought Rosenstock's reading of the score exciting. He pulled no punches, demanding that the cast stand up to his beat. We thought it did so remarkably well. There were few times when we could not hear the voices over the instruments, even in those passages dominated by the brass and percussion sections.

Strauss wrote: "The acting of the singers should, in contrast with the excessive turmoil of the music, be limited to the utmost simplicity." Director Ralph Herbert has obeyed the Maestro's wishes, yet gotten effective miming from the principals. His ensembles were notably good.

Interest centered on the Salome of Jane Rhodes. This young singer, schooled in France, made her Met debut last season in "Carmen." Her voice ranges wide. It is facile. She has rich chest tones, and can make telling thrusts from the upper register. There were occasions when her top notes were a bit shrill, but she was under terrific pressure.

Her emoting was restrained, always under control, though hypnotic. She had the grace to make "The Dance of the Seven Veils" plausibly, sensuous. And the sub- scribers sat tensely forward in their seats as, in depravity, she stroked the severed head of Jochanaan.?

Ramon Vinay stood out as the susceptible Herod, bewitched by Salome and then repulsed by her erotic callousness. Blanche Thebom did justice to Herodias, the wife who could not subdue his impulses. Walter Cassel's Jochanaan was creditable. And we liked William Olvis, of the resonant voice, as the Narraboth who killed himself when spurned by Salome.

A salute should also go to Donald Oenslager's striking set, which captures the color of this exotic opera.

Shortly after the turn of the century, "Salome" caused a furor wherever produced. Believe it or not, it was banned from the Met's repertory after the first performance by order of the Board of Directors. Perhaps we have become shockproof, but nowanights it comes over the footlights merely as a brilliant opera.

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