- - - - - - - - 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 copy! - 795754223125
"Ljuba Welitsch's Salome is legendary, and this recording documents her first Met performances of the rôle....No one knew what to expect her Salome to be, although it was known she had studied the rôle with the composer and had given numerous acclaimed performances in Europe. Irving Kolodin said of Reiner's conducting (which was his début with the company), ‘...(he) 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….This Guild release, remastered from the original NBC broadcast transcriptions, has the finest sound I've ever heard for this broadcast, voices quite prominent permitting us to hear Welitsch's total performance, including the gasps as Jochanaan walks back to the cistern after cursing her
In those days the Met surely gave audiences their money's worth. On this occasion, SALOME was preceded by Puccini's GIANNI SCHICCHI which also had an all-star cast. Both of these Guild CDs are filled to capacity including Milton Cross' radio commentary, a glimpse into the past, indeed!”
- Classical CD Review
“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.”
- Paul Jackson, SATURDAY AFTERNOONS AT THE OLD MET, pp.445-46
"...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