[Met Performance] CID:247830

Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, December 29, 1976

Debut : Ernesto Gasco

Salome (100)
Richard Strauss | Oscar Wilde
Grace Bumbry

Ragnar Ulfung

Barbro Ericson

Guillermo Sarabia

Kenneth Riegel

Sheila Nadler

Charles Anthony

Andrea Velis

Nico Castel

Ernesto Gasco [Debut]

Richard Best

James Morris

Robert Goodloe

Philip Booth

Andrij Dobriansky

Russell Christopher

Alma Jean Smith

Gilbert Ireland

Erich Leinsdorf

Günther Rennert

Rudolf Heinrich

Romayne Grigorova

Stage Director
Bodo Igesz

Salome received nine performances this season.
At later performances some alternate Salomes did not utilize Grigorova's choreography.

Review 1:

Raymond Ericson in The New York Times
Opera: Leinsdorf Conducts “Salome”

The excitement in Wednesday night's performance of "Salome" at the Metropolitan Opera was mainly in the orchestra pit. Erich Leinsdorf, conducting with the company for the first time since 1973-74, unleashed all the power in the Richard Strauss score without sacrificing any of the meticulous control for which he is famous.

The orchestra played its very best for him. Beginning quietly enough, the music was given its full eloquence early on. The emotional momentum was unflagging until the final chords. The Met was obviously fortunate in having Mr. Leinsdorf back.

"Salome," being revived after an absence of three years from the Met's repertory, again had Grace Meizia Bumbry in the title role and Ragnar Ulfung as Herod. Several of the other parts were newly cast, however, and in one of the small roles, that of the Fourth Jew, Ernesto Gasco made his debut.

Miss Bumbry's Salome is something of a puzzle, because the ingredients for a fine performance are hers, yet her characterization does not finally come off. If her voice is not particularly powerful, it has thrust and can usually cut through the heavy Straussian orchestration. Within a certain range it has a rich timbre, and the soprano is well-routined in the difficult music. Yet on crucial high notes resonance was lacking. Others would fly off pitch. There was a feeling that her full resources were being used all the time so that she had little chance to color the music as much as it should be. Her princess was arrogant enough, oddly primitive in stance and gesture, even barbaric. Like most Salomes, she had not been able to solve the problem of the Dance of the Seven Veils, which was labored and certainly not sensual.

Mr. Ulfung's Herod looks startlingly like Telly Savalas, but the tenor is an infinitely resourceful actor, responding minutely to what's going on around him. If his voice is dry, it has an intensity suitable to the part.

Among the newcomers, Barbro Ericson was quite effective as Herodias, because she made her such an unusual blowzy creature. Despite this, she had a fine shrewish authority and handled her music well with a voice that sounded less than fresh. Guillermo Sarabia's Jochanaan had little of the standard prophetic rant, but could have used more vocal weight and nobility. Kenneth Riegel was excellent as a fervent Narraboth, and Sheila Nadler's Page was very decently sung.

All the smaller roles were expertly handled. They should have been, with singers of the quality of James Morris cast as the First Nazarene.

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