Salome at the New Met

December 20th, 2016

Some of the greatest sopranos of the past 50 years have thrown themselves into the title role of Richard Strauss’s still-scandalous Salome on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center. One legendary diva who did not bring her famed take on the teen temptress to the New Met, however, was Birgit Nilsson. Audiences at the new house missed Nilsson’s volcanic interpretation of the role by one season, as she sang her last Met Salome at the old house in 1965 before turning her attention to other dramatic soprano heroines such as Elektra and Isolde, both of which she sang during the Met’s first season at Lincoln Center. Salome eventually arrived at the New Met during the 1971-72 season, with Leonie Rysanek and Grace Bumbry (pictured above) sharing the title role. The conductor was Karl Böhm, a friend of the composer and one of his most eloquent advocates. This season, Patricia Racette adds her name to the distinguished list of sopranos who have sung the punishing title role with the company.