STRAUSS: SALOME
Inga Nielsen, sop. (Salome); Reiner Goldberg, tenor (Herodes); Anja Silja, sop.(Herodias); Robert Hale,bass-bar. (Jochanaan); Deon van der Walt, tenor (Narraboth); Danish National Radio Orch/Michael Schønwandt, cond.
Chandos 9611 (2 CDs) (F) (DDD) TT: 99'  

Another complete Salome and it turns out to be of considerable interest because of the title-role performance by Inga Nielsen, a young Danish soprano who appears regularly at the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, Covent Garden and other opera houses, as well as at festivals and on television. She is an impressive Salome. Her sound is appropriately youthful, she sings on pitch and develops characterization effectively. This is, indeed, an impressive performance. It seems obvious that Nielsen has studied Ljuba Welitsch's performance. 

Aside from Nielsen, there is little to recommend in this new recording except for the typical Chandos high quality sound. Reiner Goldberg's Herodes is unevenly sung, not as disturbing as Anja Silja's Herodias. Silja was a fine Salome decades ago, but that time has past. Herodias is supposed to be an unpleasant, shrewish character, but Silja's incredible wobble is enough to, as they say, take the paint off the ceiling. Other notable Salomes of the past have switched from daughter to mother, notably Astrid Varnay and Leonie Rysanek, but they never exhibited the vocal distress displayed by Silja. Robert Hale's Jochanaan also is unsteady, far removed from the richness and security of Bryn Terfel, Sherrill Milnes and Eberhard Wachter in their recordings. Michael Schønwandt's conception of the opera is dynamic, the orchestra is in top-shape. In a fantasy world, Nielsen's performance would be substituted into the Sony recording replacing Eva Marton! Now that would be a performance! (NOTE: also read the feature on Salome and select recordings of music from the opera since the first excerpt recorded in 1908).

R.E.B.