• Carmen: Discography on audio media

    Carmen is an opera with many different recordings. Again, it would be very difficult to review all of them, so we will just select some few, based on their quality, their relevance or other factors.



    Carmen - Emmy Destinn
    Don José - Karl Jörn
    Micaela - Minnie Nast
    Escamillo - Hermann Bachmann

    Conductor: Bruno Seidler-Winkler (1908)
    Orchestra: Berlin Grammophone
    Studio


    One of the very first operas ever recorded complete, was precisely Carmen. But sung in German, instead of the original French. Carmen was the great Czech soprano Emmy Destinn, that creates a very lively and interesting Gypsy. However, this recording is only for people very interested either in Carmen, or in Destinn.

    Overall: C


    This article was originally published in forum thread: Carmen: Discography on audio media started by Schigolch View original post
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
      Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) -
      Right, 211 up to 2009 according to Operadis database, just a bit shy of Tosca's 250. Here is the list:

      1 1908(STU) - Seidler-Winkler Bruno - Königliche Hofoper Berlin*
      2 1908-15(SCE) - Setti Giulio - Metropolitan Opera*
      3 1911(STU) - Ruhlmann François - L'Opéra Comique de Paris*
      4 1919 or 1920(STU) - NOT KNOWN - Teatro alla Scala*
      5 1927-30(SCE) - Cloéz Gustav - Orchestra*
      6 1928(STU) - Cohen Elie - L'Opéra-Comique de Paris*
      7 1928(STU) - Coppola Piero - L'Opéra-Comique de Paris*
      8 1930(SE) - Weigert Hermann - Berliner Staatsoper*
      9 1930(SE) - Wolff Albert - Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux*
      10 1931(STU) - Sabajno Carlo - Teatro alla Scala*
      11 1932(STU) - Molajoli Lorenzo - Teatro alla Scala*
      12 1932-33(SE) - Ruhlmann François - Orchestre Symphonique*
      13 1935(RE) - Pelletier Wilfred (Wilfrid) - Orchestra*
      14 1936(LE) - Hasselmans Louis - Metropolitan Opera*
      15 1936(LI) - Hasselmans Louis - Metropolitan Opera*
      16 1937(LCE) - Walter Bruno - Wiener Staatsoper*
      17 1937(LI) - Papi Gennaro - Metropolitan Opera*
      18 1937(LI) - Papi Gennaro - Metropolitan Opera*
      19 1938(LE) - Cleva Fausto - Cincinnati Summer Opera*
      20 1940(Act 2;LE) - Merola Gaetano - San Francisco Opera*
      21 1940(SE) - Pelletier Wilfred (Wilfrid) - Metropolitan Opera*
      22 1941(LI) - Pelletier Wilfred (Wilfrid) - Metropolitan Opera*
      23 1942(LI) - Beecham Thomas - Metropolitan Opera*
      24 1942(RA) - Böhm Karl - Sächsische Staatskapelle*
      25 1942(RA) - Inghelbrecht Désiré-Emile - Orchestre National*
      26 1943(LI) - Beecham Thomas - Metropolitan Opera*
      27 1944(LE) - Halasz Laszlo - New York City Opera*
      28 1944(LI) - Beecham Thomas - Metropolitan Opera*
      29 1945(LI) - Pelletier Wilfred (Wilfrid) - Metropolitan Opera*
      30 1945-46(SE) - Sébastian Georges - Metropolitan Opera*
      31 1946(LI) - Stokowski Leopold - Hollywood Bowl*
      32 1946(SE) - Leinsdorf Erich - RCA Victor Orchestra*
      33 1949(FI) - Bellezza Vincenzo - Teatro dell'Opera di Roma*
      34 1949(STU) - Melik-Pasheyev Alexander - Bolshoi Theatre*
      35 1950(STU) - Cluytens André - L'Opéra-Comique de Paris*
      36 1950?(SE) - Allain Jean - Orchestra*
      37 1951(RE) - Fricsay Ferenc - RIAS Symphonie-Orchester Berlin*
      38 1951(STU) - Reiner Fritz - RCA Victor Orchestra*
      39 1951(STU) - Wolff Albert - L'Opéra-Comique de Paris*
      40 1952(LI) - Reiner Fritz - Metropolitan Opera*
      41 1953(LI) - Reiner Fritz - Metropolitan Opera*
      42 1953(LI) - Reiner Fritz - Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli*
      43 1953(LI) - Rodzinsky Artur - Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli*
      44 1953(SE) - Schüchter Wilhelm - Orchester*
      45 1953?(STU) - Nebolsin Vasily - Bolshoi Theatre*
      46 1954(LI) - Ehrling Sixten - Royal Swedish Opera*
      47 1954(LI) - Karajan Herbert von - Wiener Symphoniker*
      48 1954(LI) - Kozma Tibor - Metropolitan Opera*
      49 1954(RA) - Jochum Eugen - Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks*
      50 1955(LI) - Karajan Herbert von - Teatro alla Scala*
      51 1955(LI) - Rudolf Max - Metropolitan Opera*
      52 1956(LI) - Ghione Franco - Teatro Municipal de Rio de Janeiro*
      53 1956(LI) - Rudolf Max - Metropolitan Opera*
      54 1956(RA) - Sanzogno Nino - RAI Milano***
      55 1956(SE) - Basile Arturo - RAI Torino*
      56 1956(SE) - Rudolf Max - Metropolitan Opera*
      57 1956(STU) - Dervaux Pierre - L'Orchestre de l'Association des Concerts Pasdeloup*
      58 1957(LI) - Mitropoulos Dimitri - Metropolitan Opera*
      59 1957(LI) - Questa Angelo - Teatro dell'Opera di Roma*
      60 1957(SE) - Strasfogel Ignace - PIANO*
      61 1958(LI) - Beecham Thomas - Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires)*
      62 1958(LI) - Fabritiis Oliviero De - Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli*
      63 1958(RA) - Cluytens André - Orchester des Westdeutchen Rundfunks*
      64 1958(SE) - Fricsay Ferenc - Bayerische Staatsoper*
      65 1958(SE) - NOT KNOWN - Orchestre Symphonique*
      66 1958(SE) - Quadri Argeo - Wiener Volksoper*
      67 1958-59(STU) - Beecham Thomas - Orchestre Radio-Symphonique de Paris*
      68 1959(LI) - Dervaux Pierre - Teatro Massimo di Palermo*
      69 1959(LI) - Melik-Pasheyev Alexander - Bolshoi Theatre***
      70 1959(LI) - Verchi Nino - NHK Symphony Orchestra*
      71 1959(SE) - Benzi Roberto - L'Opéra de Paris*
      72 1959(STU) - Conte Pierre-Michel Le - Orchestre des Concerts de Paris*
      73 195?(SE) - Ghiglia Erasmo - Teatro Comunale di Firenze*
      74 195?(SE) - Goehr Walter - Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra*
      75 1960(LI) - Ehrling Sixten - Royal Swedish Opera*
      76 1960(LI) - Maag Peter - Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli*
      77 1960(LI) - Morel Jean - Metropolitan Opera*
      78 1960(SE) - Etcheverry Jésus - Orchestre Symphonique*
      79 1960(STU) - Kegel Herbert - Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Leipzig*
      80 1960?(SE) - Marszalek Franz - Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Köln*
      81 1960?(STU) - Marinov Ivan - Sofia National Opera*
      82 1961(LI) - Karajan Herbert von - Wiener Staatsoper*
      83 1961(LI) - Molinari-Pradelli Francesco - Arena di Verona*
      84 1961(LI) - Ochoa Salvador - Palacio de las Bellas Artes*
      85 1961(SE) - Davis Colin - Sadler's Wells Opera*
      86 1961(SE) - Martin Wolfgang - Städtische Oper Berlin*
      87 1961(STU) - Stein Horst - Berliner Symphoniker*
      88 1962(LI) - Guadagno Anton - Philadelphia Lyric Opera*
      89 1962(LI) - Schippers Thomas - Orchestra Filarmonica di Trieste*
      90 1962?(SE) - Couraud Marcel - Großes Opernorchester*
      91 1963(LE) - Herbert Walter - Philadelphia Lyric Opera*
      92 1963(LI) - Dervaux Pierre - Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires)*
      93 1963(STU) - Karajan Herbert von - Wiener Philharmoniker*
      94 1963(STU) - Schippers Thomas - Orchestre de la Suisse Romande*
      95 1963?(SE) - Couraud Marcel - L'Opéra de Karlsruhe*
      96 1963?(SE) - Melik-Pasheyev Alexander - Bolshoi Theatre*
      97 1964(LI) - Dervaux Pierre - Chicago Lyric Opera*
      98 1964(SE) - Ferencsik János - Hungarian State Opera*
      99 1964(SE) - Vasata Rudolf - Prague National Theatre*
      100 1964(STU) - Prêtre Georges - L'Opéra de Paris*
      101 1966(LI) - Karajan Herbert von - Wiener Philharmoniker*
      102 1966(LI) - Maag Peter - Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli**
      103 1966(LI) - Maazel Lorin - Wiener Staatsoper*
      104 1967(FI) - Karajan Herbert von - Wiener Philharmoniker**
      105 1967(LI) - Guadagno Anton - Teatro Municipal Santiago*
      106 1967(LI) - Karajan Herbert von - Wiener Philharmoniker*
      107 1967(RA) - Prêtre Georges - RAI Roma*
      108 1968(LI) - Guadagno Anton - Cincinnati Summer Opera*
      109 1968(LI) - Mehta Zubin - Metropolitan Opera*
      110 1968(LI) - Prêtre Georges - Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires)*
      111 1968(LI;April) - Lombard Alain - Metropolitan Opera*
      112 1968(LI;June) - Lombard Alain - Metropolitan Opera*
      113 1969(LI) - Baudo Serge - Wiener Staatsoper*
      114 1969(LI) - Mehta Zubin - Metropolitan Opera*
      115 1969(STU) - Frühbeck de Burgos Rafael - L'Opéra de Paris*
      116 1970(LI) - Fabritiis Oliviero De - Arena di Verona*
      117 1970(SE) - Lewis Henry - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra*
      118 1970(STU) - Maazel Lorin - Deutsche Oper Berlin*
      119 1971(LI) - Guadagno Anton - Philadelphia Lyric Opera*
      120 1971(LI) - Maag Peter - Teatro La Fenice di Venezia*
      121 1971(LI) - Maag Peter - Teatro la Fenice di Venezia*
      122 1971(LI) - Morel Jean - Metropolitan Opera*
      123 1972(LI) - Prêtre Georges - Teatro alla Scala*
      124 1972(SE) - Patanè Giuseppe - Dresdner Staatskapelle*
      125 1972(STU) - Bernstein Leonard - Metropolitan Opera*
      126 1973(LI) - Buckley Emerson - Orchestra*
      127 1973(LI) - Dohnányi Christoph von - Frankfurter Oper*
      128 1973(LI) - Fabritiis Oliviero De - Teatro São Carlos (Lisboa)*
      129 1973(LI) - Giovaninetti Reynald - L'Opéra de Marseille*
      130 1973(LI) - Solti Georg - Covent Garden*
      131 1974(LI) - Fabritiis Oliviero De - Macerata Festival*
      132 1974(LI;13/5/74) - Prêtre Georges - Teatro alla Scala*
      133 1974(LI;6/5/74) - Prêtre Georges - Teatro alla Scala*
      134 1974(STU) - Lombard Alain - Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg*
      135 1975(LE) - Simonov Yuri - Bolshoi Theatre*
      136 1975(LI) - Braithwaite Nicholas - English National Opera*
      137 1975(LI) - Ethuin Paul - Gran Teatro del Liceo*
      138 1975(LI) - Lewis Henry - Metropolitan Opera*
      139 1975(STU) - Solti Georg - London Philharmonic Orchestra (& National Philharmonic Orchestra)*
      140 1977(LI) - Abbado Claudio - London Symphony Orchestra*
      141 1977(STU) - Abbado Claudio - London Symphony Orchestra*
      142 1978(LI) - Kleiber Carlos - Wiener Philharmoniker***
      143 1978(LI) - Patanè Giuseppe - Metropolitan Opera*
      144 1978(LI) - Pérez Busquier Gerard - Gran Teatro del Liceo*
      145 1979(LI) - (Wendelken-)Wilson Charles - New York City Opera*
      146 1980 - Dervaux Pierre - L'Opéra Comique de Paris**
      147 1981(LI) - Casadesus Jean-Claude - Orchestre Philharmonique de Lille**
      148 1982(LI) - García-Navarro Luis Antonio - L'Opéra Comique de Paris*
      149 1982(LI) - García-Navarro Luis Antonio - Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid***
      150 1982(LI) - Périsson Jean - Peking Central Opera*
      151 1982(STU) - Karajan Herbert von - Berliner Philharmoniker*
      152 1983(FI) - Maazel Lorin - Orchestre National de France***
      153 1983(LI) - Delacôte Jacques - Gran Teatro del Liceo*
      154 1983(LI) - Korn Michael - Opera Company of Philadelphia*
      155 1983?(FE) - Constant Marius - Orchestre*
      156 1984(LI) - Abbado Claudio - Teatro alla Scala*
      157 1984(LI) - Casadesus Jean-Claude - Orchestre National de Lille*
      158 1984(LI) - Maazel Lorin - Wiener Staatsoper*
      159 1984(LI) - Périsson Jean - Moravian Philharmonic**
      160 1984(LI) - Santi Nello - Arena di Verona**
      161 1985(LI) - Karajan Herbert von - Wiener Philharmoniker*
      162 1985(LI;13/1/85) - Abbado Claudio - Teatro alla Scala*
      163 1985(LI;5/1/85) - Abbado Claudio - Teatro alla Scala*
      164 1985(STU) - Haitink Bernard - London Philharmonic Orchestra**
      165 1986(LI) - Karajan Herbert von - Wiener Philharmoniker*
      166 1986(LI) - Tchakarov Emil - Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli**
      167 1987(LI) - Levine James - Metropolitan Opera**
      168 1988(LI) - Baudo Serge - Teatro Regio di Torino*
      169 1988?(STU) - Ozawa Seiji - Orchestre National de Paris (France)*
      170 1989(LC) - Delacôte Jacques - National Philharmonic Orchestra**
      171 198? - Simonov Yuri - Bolshoi Theatre*
      172 1990(STU) - Rahbari Alexander - Czechoslovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bratislava*
      173 1991(LI) - Mehta Zubin - Covent Garden**
      174 1992(LI) - Marbà Antoni Ros - ORCHESTRA*
      175 1993(LI) - Bertini Gary - Orchestre de la Suisse Romande**
      176 1993(LI) - Sutej Vlekoslav - Arena di Verona*
      177 1994(LI) - Lombard Alain - Orchestre National de Bordeaux-Aquitaine*
      178 1995(LI) - Runnicles Donald - Wiener Staatsoper*
      179 1995(STU) - Sinopoli Giuseppe - Bayerische Staatsoper*
      180 1996(SE) - Neschling John - Orchestre des Rencontres Musicales Lausanne*
      181 1997(LE) - Abbado Claudio - Berliner Philharmoniker***
      182 1997(LI) - Campori Angelo - Arena di Verona*
      183 1997(LI) - Levine James - Metropolitan Opera**
      184 1998(LI) - Billy Bertrand De - Los Angeles Opera*
      185 1998(LI) - Croci Giorgio - Stagione d'Opera Italiana**
      186 1998(LI) - Davis Colin - London Symphony Orchestra*
      187 1999(LI) - Palumbo Renato - Arena di Verona*
      188 199? - Paternostro Roberto - Württenbergisches Staatsorchester Reuttlingen*
      189 19??(SE) - Menet Pierre - Orchestre*
      190 19??(SE) - Semkow Jerzy - Polish National Radio Orchestra*
      191 2000(LI) - Guadagno Anton - Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo***
      192 2001(LI) - Sutej Vlekoslav - Wiener Staatsoper*
      193 2002(LI) - Eschenbach Christoph - Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival Orchester*
      194 2002(LI) - Jordan Philippe - London Philharmonic Orchestra**
      195 2002(LI) - Plasson Michel - Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova*
      196 2002(STU) - Parry David - Philharmonia Orchestra*
      197 2002(STU) - Plasson Michel - Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse*
      198 2003(LI) - Lombard Alain - Arena di Verona**
      199 2003(LI) - Wildner Johannes - Neue Philharmonie Westfalen**
      200 2004(LI) - Chung Myung-Whun - Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France***
      201 2004(LI) - Lombard Alain - Teatro Massimo di Palermo**
      202 2004(LI) - Manahan George - Seattle Symphony Orchestra*
      203 2004(LI) - Williamson Dean - St. Louis Symphony Orchestra*
      204 2005(LE) - Maazel Lorin - O. Músics de la Cumunitat Valenciana**
      205 2005(LI) - Lord Stephen - Colorado Symphony Orchestra*
      206 2005(LI) - Märzendorfer Ernst - Brno National Theatre**
      207 2006(LI) - Pappano Antonio - Covent Garden***
      208 2008(LI) - Maschio Elisabetta - Teatro Coccia di Novara**
      209 2008(LI) - Mehta Zubin - Maggio Musicale Fiorentino*
      210 2008(LI) - Montanaro Carlo - Fondazione Orchestra Regionale delle Marche**
      211 2009(LI) - Letonja Marko - Münchner Rundfunkorchester*
      *AUDIO ---- **VIDEO ---- ***AUDIO & VIDEO
    1. HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
      HarpsichordConcerto -
      My oh my! That's one hell of a lot of Carmen, let alone on DVD/Blu-ray!
    1. Schigolch's Avatar
      Schigolch -


      Carmen - Rosa Ponselle
      Don José - René Maison
      Micaela - Hilda Burke
      Escamillo - Ezio Pinza

      Conductor: Louis Hasselmans (1936)
      Orchestra: MET
      Live


      There is another Carmen recorded by Ponselle, with Julius Huehn replacing Ezio Pinza, and conducted by Gennaro Papi. However, this is perhaps the better known version. Carmen was the last role sung on stage by Ponselle, and one of her favorites. Near to her forties, Ponselle had already lost her former ability to sing the soprano top notes, not only her feared C5 but even a B-flat 4 was troublesome for her. Understandably, she was at ease singing Carmen, that lied comfortably between her beautiful center, and her still immaculate low notes. She was still on possesion of "the most beautiful sound ever produced by a woman between F3 and B4)". Her Carmen was criticized as poor acting by the New York press, but from a vocal point of view is a splendid performance, and an operatic myth. Her partners and the orchestra are adequate, but the sound, logically, is not the best.


      Overall: B


    1. Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
      Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) -
      This is the copy of a review by OL member itywltmt (it also contains links to a playlist of highlights he prepared on YouTube, two other playlists of performances based on Carmen, as well as a link to a complete recording of Carmen on YouTube, and a video clip):

      ----------

      My favourite recording:



      Bizet: Carmen [Recorded 1950]

      There's a reason why this is my favourite: it puts Carmen where it belongs: on the stage of the Opera Comique, making it closer to a musical than an opera. The performance isn't "over done", the libretto and book are spoken clearly, so you can follow the action (something I apppreaciate as a fluent speaker of the language). The complete opera is avaible on Public Domain Classic, along with some highliughts, which I will be sampling as part of today's music selections.

      In addition to some of the Cluytens recording, I added a YouTube playlist of tracks from some of the Carmen suites put together by Fritz Hoffmann.

      Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy and Horowitz's Carmen Variations are popular pieces, and they are rendeered beautifully in the selections below. Finally, to illustrate how Bizet's approach and subject are well at home in the musical genre, I chose the "redo" of the Habanera, with words by Oscar Hammerstein II, in his "re-imaginig" of the opera, Carmen Jones, sung here "just right" by Dorothy Dandridge.

      Enjoy!

      DETAILED PLAYLIST

      Georges BIZET (1838-1875)
      Carmen - opéra-comique in four acts (1875)
      [playlist highlights]

      Main Characters:
      Carmen - Solange Michel
      Don José - Raoul Jobin
      Escamillo - Michel Dens

      Chorus of the Opéra-Comique, Henri Janin, Chorus Master
      Orchestra of the Opéra-Comique, conducted by André Cluytens
      Recorded 6-9 September, 1950

      [complete opera]

      Fritz HOFFMANN (1867 - 19??)
      Excerpts from Carmen suites nos. 1 & 2
      (Adapted from music by Georges BIZET)
      (Uncredited performances)

      http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL16D155C4AB910B61

      Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908)
      Concert Fantasy on themes from Bizet's Carmen, Op.25
      Gil Shahan, violin, Unidentified orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado
      http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0686FD2E319DF1D2

      Vladimir HOROWITZ (1903-1989)
      Variations on a Theme from Bizet's Carmen, for piano (1926)
      Vladimir Horowitz, piano
    1. Schigolch's Avatar
      Schigolch -


      Carmen - Solange Michel
      Don José - Raoul Jobin
      Micaela - Martha Angelici
      Escamillo - Michel Dens

      Conductor: André Cluytens (1936)
      Orchestra: Opéra Comique Paris
      Studio


      This is an excellent recording of Carmen, that however is not immediately enjoyable to some opera fans. This is because we have here the original dialogues version, as performed at the Opéra Comique for many years. And there is also the rather unfashionable way the performers speak and sing. Solange Michel was a great mezzo, and a veteran of more than two hundred Carmen, but her singing is too constrained and old style for quite a few modern ears. Raoul Joubin, a Canadian of impeccable French diction, was a rather tame and bland Don José, though very capable of beautiful singing. Michel Dens's voice is not really the one we dream about for an Escamillo. Martha Angelici is an angelical, heavenly Micaela. Cluytens's conducting is vibrant, though sometimes there is a little confusion in some passages.


      Overall: B+


    1. Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
      Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) -
      A review by Almaviva



      Conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos - 1969 (Studio recording)
      L'Orchestre du Théâtre National de L'Opéra de Paris
      Chorus - L'Opéra de Paris & Les Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois

      Carmen - Grace Bumbry
      Don José - Jon Vickers
      Micaëla - Mirella Freni
      Escamillo - Kostas Paskalis

      I like this recording a lot. It features very accurately the original version published in 1875 by Choudens and revised by Bizet himself with the spoken dialogue (these parts are spoken by a group of native French actors and actresses), and actually was considered to be a landmark recording to re-establish the supremacy of the original over its two main modifications (Guiraud and Oeser). It is very complete, with a couple of numbers rarely heard in other recordings.

      Mezzo Grace Bumbry does a superb job in the title role, and is expressive, rich, and powerful. John Vickers's rendition of Don José is less accomplished, though. I can't say I like the fit between this role and his voice. Vickers had a bigger voice than the kind that usually sits well for the lyric side of this role (in spite of its dramatic component) so he kind of sounded all the time like he was restraining himself (and probably was). On the other hand we also get an angelic Micaëla in Mirella Freni, one of the best! Paskalis was a specialist in the Escamillo role, and sung it with the same Bumbry and Vickers in the Karajan film of the Salzburg Festival production. His tessitura however sits a bit high, which makes Escamillo appear less macho. Therefore, I like a lot more the two females than the two males in this recording.

      The conductor is also an obvious choice for this opera, given his expertise in the music of his native Spain and Spanish-flavored music. He keeps a brisk pace and I like his reading. However it is in the orchestra that I see another bit of paradoxical weakness in this recording - it seems to me a bit too elegant, too delicate, too French (well, yes, it *is* French), not intense and resonant enough for this lively score, not Mediterranean enough if you see what I mean. Yes, it is very crystalline... but I like Carmen with a bit of more orchestral punch, more thickness. The chorus is very good.

      Some people complain that the dialogue spoken by French natives makes a strange contrast with the singers whose diction in French is not ideal. Actually this is one of the very reasons I love this recording... I really enjoy the impeccable French of the spoken dialogue; it makes the whole thing very convincing in terms of theater, as long as you don't pay much attention to the divorce between the voices of the actors and actresses and those of the singers.

      So, in summary, pros are Bumbry, Freni, R.F. de Burgos' brisk pace, the crispy dialogue delivered by native speakers who are trained actors and actresses therefore make it very convincing and theatrical, the chorus, and the completeness of this faithful version that recovers what Bizet intended.

      Cons are a less than ideal (for me) vocal match for the male principals (not that they do a bad job; it's a question of personal preference - I like a Don José with more lyrical abandon, and Escamillo with a darker voice), the divorce between the voices of the singers and those of the actors and actresses taking over the characters for the spoken parts, and an orchestra that is a bit too delicate for this piece (again, for my taste).

      Overall, B+
    1. Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
      Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) -
      Reviews by Almaviva

      Conductor Thomas Schippers - 1963(Studio)
      Orchestra - Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
      Chorus - Grand Théâtre de Genève
      Carmen - Regina Resnik
      Don José - Mario Del Monaco
      Micaëla - Joan Sutherland
      Escamillo - Tom Krause



      This recording is not recommended. Mario del Monaco shouts his way through the role of Don José way too loudly. Sutherland as Micaëla sounds beautiful as usual but seems detached and uninterested. Resnik shows a sort of unpleasant angry quality and was getting old for the role (which she did sing better elsewhere). Krause is a weak Escamillo. Overall, C-

      ------------

      Conductor Claudio Abbado - 1977(Studio)
      Orchestra - London Symphony Orchestra
      Chorus - Scottish Opera
      Carmen - Teresa Berganza
      Don José - Plácido Domingo
      Micaëla - Ileana Cotrubas
      Escamillo - Sherrill Milnes



      This one has a star-studded cast with strong leads in all four principal roles. Domingo shows his habitual competent mix of smoothness and power as Don José; Berganza is a rather perfect Carmen with her beautiful voice, with flirtatious and lively tones; Sherrill Milnes does one of the best Escamillos in record, and Cotrubas is kind of unusual, giving more substance to the usually delicate Micaëla. What I was saying about the orchestra of L'Opéra de Paris in the 1969 EMI recording being paradoxically too French doesn't happen here with the London Symphony which does sound very meaty and Spanish, although regretably Abbado sometimes seems to slow down too much, being less brisk than de Burgos'.

      Overall, A-
    1. Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
      Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) -
      A review by Almaviva

      Conductor Georges Prêtre - 1964(studio)
      Orchestra - L'Opéra de Paris
      Chorus - Choeurs René Duclos
      Carmen - Maria Callas
      Don José - Nicolai Gedda
      Micaëla - Andrea Guiot
      Escamillo - Robert Massard

      Of course we couldn't not mention Callas' 1964 studio recording, and all opera lovers regret that she never sang the role on stage, and only tackled a recording late in her career. Still, it's Callas doing Carmen, and she acts with the voice - fierce, loving, indifferent, all the necessary nuances at the necessary moments. We don't listen to this because of Gobbi and Massard... who get mixed reviews here. Guiot is fine. Prêtre is fine. But we listen to it because of Maria Callas.


      Overall, A- (the A is because of Callas)
    1. Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
      Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) -
      By reputation, I know that other great Carmens, in addition to the ones commented upon above, include Rise Stevens, Victoria de los Angeles, Leontyne Price, Giulietta Simionato... but I haven't heard their recordings. Hopefully we'll include clips in the "Characters and Their Voices" article.
    1. HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
      HarpsichordConcerto -
      Does anyone here have the version, under Sir John Eliot Gardiner with the Orchestre Revolutionnaire Et Romantique? Cast includes Anna Caterina Antonacci (Carmen), Andrew Richards (Don Jose). I do not, but eventually will. DVD only.

    1. Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
      Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) -
      These FRA releases are usually very good, and Anna Caterina is superb, so, chances are that it's a good one. Once you get it, feel free to review it, but there's a thread/article for the video Carmens, while this one is for the audio Carmens.
    1. MAuer's Avatar
      MAuer -
      According to the latest missive from Amazon, my copy of the new EMI recording with Kozená and Kaufmann (Sir Simon Rattle conducting) should arrive some time in the coming week. When it finally shows up, I'll give my impressons here.


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