And I still haven't heard the Studer version.
Did a bit of "Salome" revisiting over the last couple of days though. First the live Met recording from 1949 with Welitsch and Reiner conducting, and then the Behrens/Karajan.
Of course the sound on the Reiner mitigates against it, a boxy live recording in mono, but Welitsch is absolutely stunning, pouring forth silvery tone unstintingly. It certainly sounds like the right voice for the role. That said, there are greater subtleties in Behrens's performance, and, at this stage in her career, it too was a voice capable of silvery beauty. She also uses a wider range of tone colour than Welitsch. Sonically the Karajan easily trumps the Reiner of course, and his reading is much more lushly romantic; easy to forget, in the final moments, the horror of what is actually going on, and just bathe in the beauty of the music. Here Welitsch and Reiner bring you much closer to the drama.
I enjoyed both performances immensely and wouldn't be without either.