[Met Performance] CID:235230
Salome {93} Metropolitan Opera House: 10/10/1973.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
October 10, 1973


SALOME {93}

Salome..................Grace Bumbry
Herod...................Robert Nagy
Herodias................Regina Resnik
Jochanaan...............Norman Mittelmann
Narraboth...............William Lewis
Page....................Batyah Godfrey Ben-David
Jew.....................Charles Anthony
Jew.....................Andrea Velis
Jew.....................Gabor Carelli
Jew.....................Paul Franke
Jew.....................Richard Best
Nazarene................John Macurdy
Nazarene................Robert Goodloe
Soldier.................Edmond Karlsrud
Soldier.................Andrij Dobriansky
Cappadocian.............Russell Christopher
Slave...................Robert Schmorr
Mannassah...............Gilbert Ireland

Conductor...............James Levine

Review of Speight Jenkins in the Dallas Times Herald

"Salome" at the Metropolitan mainly offered a chance to enjoy Strauss' remarkable orchestra. James Levine, in his German opera bow at the house, distinguished himself with a moving, extremely beautiful reading of Strauss' first hit score. It is a truism by now that the Met orchestra works for Levine, but it cannot be stressed too much how well the horns, strings and winds really exerted themselves to turn out a perfectly played "Salome" for the young conductor.

Eschewing Boehm-like volume, Levine concentrated on clarity, clean approaches and a stress of the constant freshet of melody that runs through "Salome." Such really tricky passages as the Jews' quintet have never sounded listenable before. From the [beginning] silver, fountain of sound that precedes Narraboth's comment on Salome to the last brutal chords, the orchestra was alive and vibrant; the Met's principal conductor again proved his costly mettle.

In the title role Grace Bumbry, kept very much alive the idea of a young, proud princess, never before frustrated, who now sought to have what she wanted no matter how absurd or revolting her request. Miss Bumbry seemed less fixated than some Salomes; not consumed with blood lust for its own sake, she simply was determined to get even with her frustrator.

Vocally it should be stressed that on this, the fourth performance of the Strauss' work, many said she had less voice than usual. On the evidence of the dress rehearsal, it sounded like a low night for her, but even with more voice she does not have the visceral punch that Salome needs. She sang all the notes, but her command of the stage and the vocal line-a Straussian command such as Carol Neblett had at the City Opera's "Ariadne" - was not to be found. Her dance was sensationally successful. She has the body for it; she moved well; and with Levine's drawing the most possible out of the orchestra, the dance was really the performance's highlight.

Morley Meredith contributed a rough-hewn Jokanaan, and Robert Nagy a well-sung, though not very pleasing to hear, Herod. Regina Resnik sounded her age as Herodias, hard as it is to write, and John Macurdy found the first Nazarene's low notes too low. The only person really to shine was William Lewis as a marvelous Narraboth: he looked and sang the part to perfection. But one mustn't forget the five Jews: Each responded to Levine with precision and good style.



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