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Georges Bizet: Carmen

18 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jan 18, 2005)
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$63.99 $17.90

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Editorial Reviews

CARMEN is the classic tale of forbidden passion between a young man and a spoken-for woman, Carmen.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Carlos Kleiber, Elena Obraztsova, Placido Domingo, Juri Mazurok, Isobel Buchanan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Alliance
  • DVD Release Date: January 18, 2005
  • Run Time: 171 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006U6Q6Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,912 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Georges Bizet: Carmen" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 2, 2005
Format: DVD
When this production of 'Carmen' was mounted at the Vienna State Opera in 1978 it caused quite a stir. Mostly that was because Carlos Kleiber rarely conducted opera and when he did it was always an occasion. And Zeffirelli, controversial but brilliant as an opera conductor, always created a stir with any new production of his. This film was also directed by Zeffirelli for Austrian television and as far as I know it has not been available in general circulation since its initial airing. It is a fitting tribute to Kleiber whose death this last summer was a blow for the classical music world. He was surely one of the great conductors of recent times.

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.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By C. Boerger on March 29, 2006
Format: DVD
Having recently reviewed the von Karajan film of Carmen, I was compelled to rewatch this production, which came out about the same time, in order to compare two very different versions of Bizet's masterwork, one of the greatest operas of all time. Having explored them both, it's hard for me to choose a favorite. This one has less of a "name" cast than the von Karajan, but that shouldn't be a deterrent, the cast here, though less well known, is scarcely less wonderful, and it features Placido Domingo, arguably the best Don Jose of modern times. Therefore, an educated decision is probably going to come down to a couple of factors. One, the von Karajan version is a film, this is a live performance of a Zefferelli production, so it depends on the viewer's preference. Two, the conductors have different styles: do you favor the languourous pace of von Karajan, or the speedy, headlong assault of Carlos Kleiber? Of course, if you are like me, you enjoy various approaches to the same work of art, and will want to buy them both!

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.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Ilovesunshine on December 21, 2004
Format: DVD
This is Carlos Kleiber's Carmen. He is the star of the production, how sensational his interpretation is! Together with the brilliant orchestra and singers, he creates the definite Carmen for me. He just knows how to make the music come to life. How lucky we are that this performance has been documented and available to us all now.

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.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By MDFinMIA on May 22, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Afficianados the world over must surely be grateful for the release of this historic 1978 new production for Vienna. The superb cast is headed by a vocally strong Obraztsova and clarion Domingo, with special merit to the Micaela of Isobel Bchanan.

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.
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