Strauss: Salome (In Swedish) - Nilsson, S. Björling, Bergström; Ehrling. Stockholm, 1954
Listen to a Sample:
Swedish is an uncommonly beautiful language, and it is a crime that there are so few operas composed in that language. Hearing one of the greatest Swedish sopranos of the 20th century sing one of her best roles in her native language, especially when caught just after her star began to rise, is an uncommonly rich experience. She is a beguiling Salome, abundant in texture, exhilarating in power and, in Swedish at least, bewitching in delivery. Her supporting cast (and the conductor) are more serviceable than outstanding, but there's a very fine Johannaan from Sirgud Björling. To compare and contrast, we've included the second half of the opera (beginning with Herod's entrance) from a 1955 performance in Munich, also starting Nilsson. She is in resplendent voice but is less specific. The sound quality of both Salomes tends to range from very good to fine, and provides an excellent portrait of Birgit Nilsson at the height of her powers.