Salome  (Reiner, Welitsch);  Gianni Schicchi  (Antonicelli;  Tajo, Albanese, Elmo) - TWO Operas   (2-Guild 2230/31)
Item# OP0752
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Salome  (Reiner, Welitsch);  Gianni Schicchi  (Antonicelli;  Tajo, Albanese, Elmo) - TWO Operas   (2-Guild 2230/31)
- - - - - - - - A Met Opera Double Bill - - - - - - - -

OP0752. SALOME, Live Performance, 12 March, 1949, w.Reiner Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Ljuba Welitsch, Kerstin Thorborg, Herbert Janssen, Frederick Jagel, etc.;

GIANNI SCHICCHI, Live Performance, 12 March, 1949, w.Antonicelli Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Italo Tajo, Giuseppe di Stefano, Licia Albanese, Cloe Elmo, Virgilio Lazzari, Alessio de Paolis, etc. (England) 2-Guild 2230/31. Final Sealed Copy! - 795754223125


“This has long been one of the most famous and treasured Met broadcasts, and justifiably so. On February 4, 1949, both conductor Fritz Reiner and soprano Ljuba Welitsch made their triumphant Met debuts in SALOME, the second half of a twin bill paired with Puccini’s GIANNI SCHICCHI. Both Welitsch and Reiner earned rave reviews, and the broadcast audience waited for the opportunity to hear these electrifying artists. When the March 12, 1949 performance arrived, neither disappointed. Although Welitsch’s Met career and vocal prime were both short-lived, she is in magnificent voice for the broadcast. And what a voice! It is probable that no other soprano has sung the role of Salome with such assurance, power, dramatic intensity, and interpretive daring, all the while couched in a timbre that actually convinces as emanating from a teenager. Although Welitsch hardly looked the part of a lithe young girl, she was by all accounts an absolutely mesmerizing stage presence as Salome. The sound document is mesmerizing in its own right. From her agitated entrance to the ecstatic final bars, Welitsch embodies the role as few have.”

- Ken Meltzer, FANFARE, Nov./ Dec., 2017

"Ljuba Welitsch's performance in the title role of SALOME on 4 Feb, 1949, was regarded as one of the most memorable in Metropolitan Opera history. The packed house had turned out mainly to hear Fritz Reiner make his Met debut as a conductor, but by the time the performance ended, with at least 15 minutes of cheering and whistling from an ecstatic audience, Miss Welitsch had become an international star. A few days later, Miss Welitsch dazzled the critics again, displaying her versatility in the title role of Verdi's AIDA and prompting Howard Taubman of The Times to call her 'one of the few perfect singers to come to the Met in recent years'. But Miss Welitsch's extensive repertory and her determination to make up for the years on the international stage that she had lost during World War II shortened her operatic career. She drove her voice mercilessly, and by the mid-1950s, critics seemed to agree that her best singing was behind her.

At the Met, she appeared in 63 performances between her debut and her final appearance, in the nonsinging role of the Duchesss of Krakenthorp in Donizetti's FILLE DU REGIMENT on 17 Feb., 1972. Besides Salome and Aida, her Metropolitan Opera roles included Donna Anna in DON GIOVANNI, the title role in TOSCA, Rosalinde in Johann Strauss' DIE FLEDERMAUS and Musetta in LA BOHEME.

But most of Miss Welitsch's career was spent in Europe, where she was coached by the composer when she made her Vienna Opera debut in a special performance of SALOME that celebrated Richard Strauss' 80th birthday in 1944. Even when her career in grand opera faded, Miss Welitsch's love of performance kept her busy into the early 1980s in operetta, films, radio, television and on the stage.

Welitsch began her professional career in 1936 with the Graz Opera Company which played a 10-month season that enabled Miss Welitsch to build her repertory. From 1941 to 1943 she sang in Hamburg and from 1943 to 1946 in Munich. In 1943 she also joined the Vienna Opera, where she made her noteworthy Vienna debut in SALOME the next year. When she made her English debut with the company in 1947, she dazzled audiences at Covent Garden, and by 1948 she had sung SALOME more than 50 times and appeared in more than 40 other roles. That summer, while abroad, Edward Johnson, the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, heard Miss Welitsch and engaged her to sing in New York the following year."

- Lawrence van Gelder, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 6 Sept., 1996

“If there was ever justification for a candle to burn bright, it was Welitsch’s Salome as heard on the broadcast of 12 March, 1949….the afternoon belongs to Welitsch. The voice is an ideal Salome voice, suggesting the child seductress with delicate, shimmering tones which never fail to penetrate the orchestral mass, or spewing forth in strong bands of steel in the highest tessitura and middle voice; often she wraps its cutting edge in a sheath of honeyed, almost Rethberg-like tone. Welitsch is mistress of Strauss’ sinuous line. She whips her voice in and out around the torturous melodies with seemingly complete spontaneity; the utter freedom of her vocal manner is mesmerizing.”


"Ljuba Welitsch's Salome is legendary, and this recording documents her first Met performances of the role....No one knew what to expect her Salome to be, although it was known she had studied the role with the composer and had given numerous acclaimed performances in Europe. Irving Kolodin said of Reiner's conducting (which was his debut with the company), ...[‘Reiner] delivered as tense and comprehending a performance of the orchestral score as the Metropolitan has ever heard...and...with Ljuba Welitsch as Salome, the most absorbing production of the drama in its considerable Met history...for her Salome alone, Welitsch was a new figure of legend’. And, indeed, it is legendary. Fortunately Welitsch's voice was still in its prime….voices are quite prominent permitting us to hear Welitsch's total performance, including the gasps as Jochanaan walks back to the cistern after cursing her.”

- Classical CD Review

"...the [Welitsch] voice has everything in it. It has the brilliancy and edge needed for the Straussian climaxes. It has colors and richness of timbre in the lower registers. Miss Welitsch is a musician and an interpreter of flaming temperament who has the part absolutely in her hand. She is an actress of individuality and power."

- Olin Downes, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 5 Feb., 1949

"There is a magnificent grandeur about Tajo's singing, whether comic or serious....Tajo's working with the text, coupled with a firmness of tone and a commanding presence add up to an impressive display of operatic art."

- Charles H. Parsons, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May/June, 2006