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Subject: Re: Salome
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 17 Dec 2016 21:16:16 -0800
Content-Type:text/plain
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Leonie Rysanek once said that there were three types of Salome: those who can sing it, those who can dance it and those who should be shot.

Rysanek was the second Salome I saw, in 1974, and she certainly could sing it.

The first one I saw, who could dance it and actually sing it more successfully than I expected, was Anja Silja.  Her performance shattered me.  She definitely had all the notes and while her voice never sounded lush or powerful, it penetrated.  But the baby doll sound and appearance, her youthful slender figure with her halter top and bare midriff and her exceptional acting created a picture of innocence mixed with the debauchery that I found profoundly disturbing (I was only 17 myself).

Rysanek's acting (sometimes overacting) was more conventionally "operatic" and, while a beautiful woman, she didn't look like a young girl. But the visuals were good enough that, with her big, luminous voice (seeming much more even in this role than elsewhere) and extraordinary gleaming high register, she was electrifying.

I saw Ewing, Barstow and a number of others but another who exceeded my expectations was Gwyneth Jones.  I think she was already past 50 and I was regretting not having caught her earlier in the role when this stunning, nimble young girl came scampering out and breathlessly sputtered "Ich kann nicht bleiben!".  She perhaps went the furthest distance from naive excitement to full blown lascivious, a laser beam F# after "the kiss" (hers the most carnal I experienced) as she rose up, "Was tut's?" and then a surge of molten lava soaring her last lines.

I like big voiced Salomes.  I remember being very aware, with both Ewing and Barstow, of how the conductors were struggling to keep the orchestra down.  To me, it took away a lot of the power and color of the work. I don't want the orchestra kept down; I want it to be able to seethe and snarl and dazzle, as it could with the likes of Rysanek and Jones on stage.

Strauss may have talked about playing it like Mendelssohn but he sure as hell didn't score it like Mendelssohn.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 17, 2016, at 19:36, Clarissa Cheer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Well, Salome was unhinged to begin with! And this opera is about debauchery
> and unstable characters that were evil. Other than the voice of Salome, does
> anyone one mention the production on opera-l? It should be overwhelmingly
> lavish, Salome has to be seductive. Does she remove her clothes? I've seen
> three productions of this opera, the best with Maria Ewing in Los Angeles,
> where she opens her robes briefly and is totally nude - the opera came to a
> stop while the audience roared their approval. In London's ENO, the Salome
> was American I forgot her name, she shed her clothes among a topless female
> cast. 
> 
> Cheers, 
> 
> 
> Clarissa Lablache Cheer
> 
> 
> 
>> From: Ron Magnuson <[log in to unmask]>
>> Reply-To: Ron Magnuson <[log in to unmask]>
>> Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2016 15:24:25 -0500
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Subject: Re: Salome
>> 
>>> On Dec 17, 2016, at 2:43 PM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> 
>>> Challenge accepted! She understands the role but the vocalism
>>> is incompetent.
>> 
>> She started loud and got louder with a vibrato that increased in width with
>> the volume.  Where are the pianissimi, dynamic gradations and the seduction?
>> She sounded unhinged from beginning to end.
>> 
>> 
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