But Salome the opera rises or falls on the soprano playing Salome, and here San Francisco Opera’s broadcast truly enters the world of operatic legend with Leonie Rysanek. Just those two words could send shivers of anticipation down the backs of a couple generations of opera lovers. She was incapable of giving a routine performance, and when everything was working, her soaring, incandescent voice and no-holds-barred stage presence could drive audiences wild.
Paul Thomason (on Salome, 1974)
Optimism, in short supply when Die tote Stadt first came to the San Francisco Opera fourteen years ago, is in shorter supply today, and the need for it greater. Think of Korngold’s optimism as a synonym for beauty, readily accessible beauty, beauty of melody and texture, beauty that reminds us of the pleasures that humans can offer one another. Pleasures such as Die tote Stadt’s were once devalued for being too easily enjoyed, but composers have come to understand, as Korngold understood, that listeners long to be touched, that they crave the emotional full immersion that will refresh their sensibilities.
Larry Rothe (on Die tote Stadt, 2008)
Streaming the First Century
Session 4: Ho jo to ho!
Explore Streaming the First Century, San Francisco Opera’s historic archival recording release.
Historic Audio Recordings