Salome. Deutsche Oper Berlin 1990. Production: Petr Weigl. Catherine Malfitano (Salome), Simon Estes (Jochanaan), Léonie Rysanek (Herodias). Conductor: Guiseppe Sinopolis. Further information here.
In short: I don´t think Salome is particularly well-served on DVD, and I still wait for Karita Mattila´s Metropolitan Opera Salome or perhaps Mattila´s 2003 Paris Salome.
The major issue in Salome is indeed the casting of Salome. And I must admit to not being particularly taken with Catherine Malfitano, though she is in far better voice here than on the later Luc Bondy Salome DVD from Covent Garden. She hits the notes. She even strips naked for about two seconds (not looking particularly good, though I may not be the right judge of that). But for some reason, I simply do not find her Salome compelling, vocally or dramatically. And the chemistry between her and the other characters seemed non-existent.
Realizing Catherine Malfitano may be an acquired taste, I´d strongly recommend this DVD to her known admirers, since the remaining cast and production is rather fine.
Petr Weigl´s production is very stylish, with white-chalked house facades facing an open courtyard. A golden disc is seen in the background. Historical costumes are used. A fine setting for Salome.
The mighty Leonie Rysanek is easily the finest Herodias on DVD. As well as among the finest Salome´s as well in her day. She is the elegant Herodias in fine voice compared to Astrid Varnay´s decaying Herodias in shattered voice. Simon Estes furthermore is in superb voice as Jochanaan.
Guiseppe Sinopoli´s reading is nothing short of brilliant, drawing out myriads of details from the score without loosing the tension or general scope.
The bottom line:
Catherine Malfitano: 2
Léonie Rysanek: 5
Simon Estes: 4
Petr Weigl´s production: 3
Guiseppe Sinopoli: 4
Overall impression: 3