Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a magnificent achievement on all sides, but chief praise must go to Cheryl Studer for giving such an all-consuming account of the title-role, one to set beside those of Nilsson (Solti/Decca) and Behrens (Karajan/EMI) on disc, and to be spoken of in the same breath as the legendary Ljuba Welitsch, whom Studer most recalls. Studer has every qualification for the part. The voice, fresh, vibrant and sensuous in tone, carries total conviction as she presents Salome's growing fascination, infatuation and eventual obsession with the body of Jokanaan, ending in the arresting necrophilia of the famous final scene. Studer expresses Salome's wheedling, spoilt nature, strong will, and eventual ecstasy in tones apt for every aspect of the
What pleased me more than anything was her wonderful control of sweet pianissimos, as at ''Lass mich ihn beru''hren dein Leib'' (''Let me touch your body'') in her attempted seduction of Jokanaan. Throughout, her voice is at once flexible and powerful enough to fulfil every demand of the composer without exaggeration or false gesture: Strauss would surely have been delighted with her assumption, which culminates in the growing intensity and voluptuousness of the final scene, carried through with not a trace of strain. In one she seems to have the power of Nilsson, the understanding of Behrens and the subtlety of Caballe (Leinsdorf/RCA).
She is supported up to the hilt by Sinopoli's incandescent conducting. In another score his forceful, overwhelming direction might seem a mite exaggerated but Salome, for better or worse, can take such treatment as Solti has already shown. Sinopoli certainly matches him in decibels but also in expounding Strauss's inspired scoring, although the spacious DG recording seems rather more intent on emphasizing the general picture rather than focusing on detail. Nor can Sinopoli here be accused of going slow. Indeed, his reading is if anything on the swift side, his speeds similar to those of Leinsdorf, never one to linger. Sinopoli appears to have honed his own Berlin orchestra into an instrument that willingly does his bidding. Though his reading certainly isn't as finely honed as Karajan's it is happily more subjective, more immediate in impact.
Sinopoli seems to have inspired his entire cast to great things. Bryn Terfel's Jokanaan is a notable debut for him in a substantial role on disc. His voice sounds too distant when he is heard from his dungeon, a misjudgement on the producer's part, but once above ground he delivers Jokanaan's imprecations with splendid conviction and unflagging tone. His voice sounds uncannily like Thomas Allen's writ large, particularly so at Jokanaan's prophesy of Christ's coming. He is no more nor less commanding in the role than Solti's Krauss or Karajan's van Dam. Leonie Rysanek, now in her fifth decade in the front rank of singers and a former Salome herself, is a predictably colourful and wilful Herodias. Hiestermann's Herod is properly neurotic and crazed, though his keen-edged tenor occasionally becomes unsteady when he puts too much pressure on it. Clemens Bieber, a new name to me, provides a pleasingly lyrical Narraboth. Marianne Rorholm, Glyndebourne's Cherubino this summer, makes her mark as the Page. The other small roles are filled by stalwarts of the Deutsche Oper, some of them not as ingratiating as those on the rival versions.
Nobody is going to dispense lightly with their Karajan or Solti versions, both valid and well-tried views of the work, but the Sinopoli is fully worthy of standing beside them. For a newcomer to the work I would say that Studer's superb portrayal tips the balance in favour of the new set. She has all her rivals' accomplishments and something more.'
-- Alan Blyth, Gramophone (9/1991)
Works on This Recording
Salome, Op. 54 by Richard Strauss
Klaus Lang (Bass),
Cheryl Studer (Soprano),
Leonie Rysanek (Soprano),
Horst Hiestermann (Tenor),
Clemens Bieber (Tenor),
Bryn Terfel (Baritone),
Marianne Rorholm (Mezzo Soprano),
Uwe Peper (Tenor),
Karl-Ernst Mercker (Tenor),
Warren Mok (Tenor),
Aimée Willis (Mezzo Soprano),
Peter Maus (Tenor),
Manfred Röhrl (Baritone),
Friedrich Molsberger (Bass),
Ralf Lukas (Tenor),
William Murray (Bass),
Bengt Rundgren (Bass)
Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Written: 1903-1905; Germany
Date of Recording: 12/1990
Venue: Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin
Length: 101 Minutes 46 Secs.
Featured Sound Samples
Scene 3: "Wo ist er, dessen Sündenbecher jetzt voll ist?"
Scene 3: "Du bist verflucht"
Scene 4: "Ah, ich habe deinen Mund geküßt, Jokanaan!"
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