[Met Performance] CID:190380

Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, March 5, 1962

Salome (59)
Richard Strauss | Oscar Wilde
Jane Rhodes [Last performance]

Ramon Vinay

Nell Rankin

Morley Meredith

William Olvis

Joan Wall

Charles Anthony

Robert Nagy

Gabor Carelli

Andrea Velis

Gerhard Pechner

Roald Reitan

William Wilderman

Norman Scott

Louis Sgarro

Calvin Marsh

Lynn Blair

Joseph Rosenstock

Review 1:

Review of Douglas Watt in the Daily News

Vinay quits Tenoring With Salome's Dance

The novelties of last night's "Salome" at the Met were Nell Rankin's first Herodias there, which we can overlook as an unfinished portrait and, as backstage word had it, Ramon Vinay's farewell appearance as a tenor in the role of Herod. Vinay, who began his career as a baritone - not here, but in his native Chile - will reportedly return to his earlier register to sing next season, among other things, Telramund in "Lohengrin." As a tenor, Vinay has been having it bad in recent seasons, descending finally from a weak-voiced Tristan to the maundering, but still oddly effective, Herod of last evening.

A Unique Artist

With the immediate news out of the way, I'd like to get straightaway to Jane Rhodes, whom I consider the finest singing actress in major roles the Met has produced since Maria Callas, whom it has unaccountably lost. The petite and delightfully young and attractive Miss Rhodes (last night's Salome) is a special case, I grant you, but so is every truly important artist. To refresh your memory, she made her first and only appearance at the Met season as a one-night-stand Carmen, the only distinctive Carmen of the season. Returning this year in Richard Strauss' "Salome," a month back, she went on with a fairly high fever and in the wake of a vicious, anonymous phone campaign disparaging her abilities. She was disappointing and a colleague referred to that "Salome" as one of the Met's worst shows ever. So be it.

Actress at Heart

But Miss Rhodes is as much of an artist in "Salome" as she was in "Carmen." She has studied the role as an actress would. She plays a cool, petulant youngster until the celebrated dance. From then on, she is in full command and fascinating. I have Witnessed only one other striking Salome in my time and that was the Ljuba Welitsch of a decade ago, already advanced in years. Her voice had bite and power and meaning, but who would trade her ridiculous dance for that of the graceful Miss Rhodes? And the dance is part of the opera whether you like it or not. Miss Rhodes' voice lacks the thrust it should have, alas, but it is still a voice of parts. I don't know what we're going to do about her and I doubt that Rudolf Bing does either. I just trust he doesn't simply dump her. She's too promising a performer for that.

Getting back to the others, Morley Meredith was a boomingly impressive Jochanaan, and William Olvis a commendable Narraboth. Joseph Rosenstock conducted.

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