Georges Bizet: Carmen
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Top Customer Reviews
Plácido Domingo is in his prime here as Don José. In Act II 'La fleur que tu m'avais jetée' ('The Flower Song') is thrilling, even though he doesn't quite manage the pianissimo ending Bizet intended. There is a five-minute-plus ovation at its finish, and it is well-deserved. It is interesting that Zeffirelli left the entire ovation in his edited film because there are many other places in the performance where the applause has been edited out. One wonders if he wasn't playing favorites with his cast. Elena Obraztsova gets silence after several of her arias, but Isobel Buchanan gets a huge ovation after her Act III 'Je dis que rien ne m'epouvante,' again deservedly so. It is true that Obraztsova is not an ideal Carmen, at least in the early going when she is supposed to be the alluring, devil-may-care gypsy woman. Later, though, in the Card Scene where she repeatedly turns up cards that predict 'La mort!' ('Death!) she is riveting. Our Escamillo is, to my mind, rather a cipher. Yuri Mazurok has a solid baritone, but his torero does not have the necessary vocal or physical swagger, and his French is almost unintelligible.Read more ›
The main but definitely not only selling point of this DVD is Domingo's Don Jose. We all know the tenor is a beautiful singer, even today, but when this was done in the late '70's he was in his prime, both physically and vocally. His Flower Aria is a literal showstopper. The audience must have been informed that the performance was being taped and instructed to save most of their applause for the curtain calls, because the crowd stays fairly sedate throughout most of the opera; Domingo's aria, however, inspires a nearly three minute ovation, and justifiably so,it is poignant, dramatic, heartbreaking, incomparable. I'm glad the editors didn't cut the applause, seeing it in its entirety adds to the live feel of this DVD.Read more ›
Placido Domingo is at his prime, I guess he has never been better as Don Jose and Isobel Buchanan as Micaela is just stunning.
The second act - from 'Les tringles des sistres tintaient' to the flower aria , it just takes your breath away. Not only for opera lovers, anyone who doesn't know the opera, should start with this one. This version will show us what an opera is all about.
Kleiber (in one his rare forays into the opera pit) leads a brilliant reading, at times very fast, but thrilling always. Zefirelli's production is over-the-top, and he's adept at pulling both nuanced performances from his principles and expertly managing the large crowd scenes.
It's a minor pity, therefore, that the technical aspects of this DVD fall somewhat short. Yes, it's a soon-to-be 30 year-old recording, but audio remastering hasn't altogether corrected a somewhat dull and shrill (at times) soundtrack. It's not enough to get in the way, but does take away a star in my opinion.
Nonetheless, highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a vivid, electric Carmen with the great Carlos Kleiber at the helm—one of the best I've ever seen. Zefferelli's production, of course, is passionate and colorful. Read morePublished 7 days ago by D. R. M.
Having just been very impressed with the Met's 2010 "Carmen" with Garanca and Alagna, I thought I would check out this one too. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Stanley Crowe
Who wants to look at the conductor in the middle of a scene? Not me. It is the first Zefferelli staging I haven't liked. There are so many better performances staging-wise. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Lois Gowen
Domingo, Kleiber, and the Vienna Opera are all wonderful. They give brilliant performances. Obraztsova is a great singer, but her acting isn't very good. Read morePublished on March 9, 2013 by Boz
Why claustrophia? TDK, usually an excellent producer of videos, unfortunately chose to display this production with blank white sidebars bracketing its 4:3 picture format on my... Read morePublished on May 9, 2011 by Fair and balanced critic
December 9, 1978- some great talents of opera assembled at the Wiener Staatsoper and delivered a magical performance of "Carmen". Read morePublished on April 14, 2010 by S. Erickson
Fail at the premiere and after the taste of the public is not new in the world of opera. La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, La Forza Del Carmen destination and are classic examples. Read morePublished on July 30, 2009 by Ali Hassan AYACHE
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