Cher Public

“It’s a return!”

salomePatricia Racette will add a new role to her Met repertory as the title character in all performances of Strauss’s Salome this season, replacing the originally announced Catherine Naglestad…” says the Met press office.

  • ER

    Oh, this is a disappointment. What was the reason for the change?
    Also, while I am sure that Racette will be dramatically committed, I’d like a more deluxe voice singing this luscious music.

    • Krunoslav

      Was Laila Andersson unavailable?

  • QuantoPainyFakor

    This scene change at the Teatro Colon is worth watching. Some theaters have partial and obstructed view seats I wonder if the Colon warns the audience they will only hear percussion, brass and banda sitting here (starting at :58, or sooner for the brave at heart). The conductor is a master of décollage.

    • We had the same prod in Brussels. I found it a bit half-hearted.

  • PCally

    I will definitely be skipping this then. And this was exceptionally disappointing as I was very much looking forward to these performances

  • Opera Teen

    It seems that Herod won’t be the only one wobbling on blood come this December!

  • spiderman

    Naglestad sang Salome with a broken rip on opening night in Berlin’s new production last January -- and since then has canceled all Salomes in Berlin / Luxembourg and now at the Met. Interesting.

    • Bill

      I have seen Naglestad sing Salome in Vienna a couple
      of years ago and she was indeed impressive. It is a pity for sure that she will not be doing the role at the Met particularly as I have a certain aversion these past years to the wobble and unsteadiness of voice which has plagued Racette.
      No doubt Racette, a reasonable actress, will make something of the role, but if nothing else Salome requires a luminous vocal effort to be effective and that Racette certainly does not possess. This change in cast is extremely unfortunate -- Salome is an opera which
      depends (other than the lush orchestration) upon a vocally radiant prima donna.

      • Krunoslav

        “Salome is an opera which depends (other than the lush orchestration) upon a vocally radiant prima donna.”

        • Armerjacquino
          • PCally

            Not sure what these examples do other than prove bills comment. Does anyone think either of these ladies are accomplished salomes? I saw Michael in the role twice and she abominable and mine was certainly not minority opinion as she was pretty loudly booed at both performances. And Barstows name is hardly the first to be mentioned when people are discussing who the great salomes are (were).

            • grimoaldo2

              Barstow hardly made a career of performing “Salome”. She did the role at ENO *forty years ago* and then at a few more houses. For some strange reason this seems to bother Kruno.

            • Armerjacquino

              I have been among the first to call Kruno on his idee fixe, but this one was pretty obviously a gag.

            • Krunoslav

              Thanks for talking sense.

            • Krunoslav

              Doesn’t bother me at all; did I imply that it did? In the theater she made something of the roles- as she did of every role I saw her in, But of vocal radiance it is better not to speak: even Ewing had more, at least the first time out (by the time she did it in San Fran (where Barstow made quite a dramatic impact in the part) she made almost no sound at all-- and yes, Leonie luxuriated in Herodias’ high notes.

            • rhinestonecowgirl

              Even ENO has fielded finer Salomes than Barstow -- particularly the rather under-rated Vivian Tierney and Kristine Ciesinski. Checking the spelling I noticed that both did a Seven Veils dance choreographed by Wayne McGregor which included a brief nipple flash. Probably the first time I encountered his choreography.

            • Armerjacquino

              They serve the function of ‘being jokes’.

        • PCally

          Naglestad is an interesting singer. The voice is IMO a bit dry until it goes above the staff and suddenly aquires a beautiful sheen. Dramatically too she’s not a stage animal and yet I find her quite compelling.

          • Bill

            I shall probably go to hear one Salome with
            Racette though with trepidation based upon her uneven vocal presentations in the last few years -- we have all heard uneven Salome performances but the music just in itself is so fascinating that one can be swept away even with some wretched singing. Salome is role sung by so many different types of sopranos (and even a few Mezzos) from a true lyric such as Cebotari to a true dramatic (Nilsson, Jones). As my moher did not let me go hear
            Welitsch in the role when I was 12 (not because of Welitsch but the theme of the opera which was then coupled with
            Gianni Schicchi my first was Goltz who had
            the unenviable task of following Welitsch in he role at the Met and Goltz had a great triumph though Bing never brought her back to New York as she took a solo bow
            at the end of the opera (Bing having banned solo bows for a couple of seasons for some reason or other) o Bing was annoyed with
            Goltz. During that era with no solo bows
            one could of course give prolonged applause after an individual aria to show one’s appreciation (even for Milanov just for one B flat which she sang radiantly in
            Gioconda) and entrance applause for an artist -- but Salome has no arias and
            I never heard any entrance applause for any Salome no matter how famous -- the music itself does not allow a break.
            I have no idea who might be considered
            the reigning Salome today --


  • Racette just did Salome in Pittsburgh, and a friend relates that she went the full monty in the Dance of the Seven Veils.

  • John

    Looking foward to a committed , thoughful performance from

  • fletcher

    Have any of the naysayers actually heard Racette sing the role at Ravinia, in San Antonio, in Pittsburgh? The reviews, which I’ve been reading since she was scheduled to sing the role in LA, have been positive. I also read good things about her recent Minnie in Santa Fe. Is the eminent Parterriat being a bit presumptuous here?

    • PCally

      Your probably right, though on some level I do think it’s fair to avoid an artist based on the overall quality of there previous work. If racette triumphs than more power to her and I will most certainly attend a performance. However with the exception of a capable nedda, just about every performance I’ve seen racette give over the past couple of seasons have been vocally mediocre at the very best and bordering on disastrous at the very worst. And her acting has always been overrated in my eyes, committed and nothing more, which is a problem considering that this particular production of Salome is very much associated with the singer who premiered it. And racette isn’t singing rep that is lacking in superior alternatives.

    • Bill

      I have noticed that some reviewers. particularly in the provinces have a tendency to gush about the casts even when they do not approach international standard.

      • fletcher

        You’re definitely right about that -- some of the reviews read more like promotional material (though it’s not as if New York is exempt from that). Anyway I’m hoping for the best; LAO hasn’t performed a Strauss opera since 2005 and Salome is one of my very favorites.

  • nalasa1

    I saw her in San Antonio. I thought she was quite good vocally and dramatically.

  • Cicciabella

    From a review of the Pittsburgh Salome:

    Strauss remarked that the role of Salome demands a 16 year old with the voice of Isolde. Ms. Racette may not be either of those things (16-year-old Isoldes don’t exist), but at 51 she has the vocal stamina to get through sounding as fresh at the end as in her first lines, clear German diction, and the physical prowess to create an illusion of youth and give an unembarrassed flash of nudity at the end of her dance.

    I know New York operates by different rules, but give Ms Racette a chance to prove herself.

    • fletcher

      “First and foremost, Racette can sing the music—really sing it all, with no faking or strain from the top to the bottom of the scale, no evidence of tiring during the character’s grueling nonstop ninety minutes on stage.”

      Review in Opera News

  • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

    Some video has turned up of Racette’s Pittsburgh Salome. Here is a bit of the dance:

  • CarlottaBorromeo

    There’s only a glimpse in this trailer but Jennifer Holloway was quite exceptional in the recent new production at the Semperoper in Dresden…

  • almavivante

    And will Miss Recette bare all for her art?

    • rapt

      Manou, this one has your name on it--surely you can cook up something appropriate!

  • Two things come to mind.

    One is the state of Racette’s voice. She’s no longer at her best but she can still hit all the notes. There is some definite stridency and squaliness of tone to her high notes. But I also think that this will be less of a problem in Strauss than in Italian opera where purity of tone is more of a concern.

    The other factor is how she will inhabit the role dramatically. I think we can all agree that she is a committed and hard-working actress but I don’t think she has any glamour. Not only does Salome need glamour, this particular production requires Salome to have tons of it. Matilla did — effortlessly. Racette, for all her hard work, will not be able to embody the role in the way it was presented in the original production.

    Now, if the Met were one of those places where they gave thoughtful reconsideration to revivals and were able to re-imagine revivals to suit the current cast as opposed to the original one, this wouldn’t be so much of a problem…

    • rapt

      On the other hand, remember how she brought to life the Tosca that didn’t work so well with Mattila (who, of course, is nevertheless incomparable). I think Racette’s power of making a role work in her own way is pretty formidable. (Wasn’t she also an improvement over Gallardo-Domas, who did the premiere of the Met Butterfly?) I see the point about vocal glamor--but wouldn’t rule out Racette bringing surprises to the role.

      • PCally

        Well racette also had Kaufman, Terfel, and Luisi and some of the more egregious aspects of the production had been toned down. She was a big improvement in the butterfly to be sure though and in that case she exclusively deserves all the credit IMO.

      • Gualtier Maldè

        The “Tosca” with Racette, Kaufmann and Terfel was reviewed on this site:
        Racette is an intelligent resourceful singer and many sopranos have had successes in the part with less than perfect instruments.

      • I saw the Tosca HD with Racette and Alagna. She was OK at best. She utterly lacked grandeur and her voice was already showing signs of strain. So, there wasn’t a single element of her portrayal that I thought was anything more than a middling success.

        As you say, the Bondy production didn’t work all that well for Matilla either (though I think her problem was more about the suitability of the voice). Even then, Matilla was much better in the sequence at the end of the second act than Racette was. And she was more magnetic overall than Racette.

        But my point is that the Salome production was very much tied to Matilla’s glamour and particular stage persona. It doesn’t mean that the production couldn’t be reworked to suit Racette but not at the Met, where revivals are paint-by-number affairs.

        • rapt

          Not to be argumentative… But I was thinking of the performance with Kaufmann (which I only heard, though talked to some who saw it); the HD with Alagna was definitely at a lower level. I agree too that glamor is not part of Racette’s equipment, though for me other qualities compensate.

          • Not argumentative at all. I did not hear the better broadcast with Kaufmann, though I do remember hearing about it. I will say that I liked her Butterfly HD very much. But I think that role suits her dramatically much more than Tosca or Salome.

  • LMacbeth