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Bizet: Carmen Great Recordings of the Century


4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, August 15, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

As remastered for EMI's Great Recordings of the Century series, this classic 1959 Carmen sounds marginally better than its previous silver disc incarnation. Tape hiss is reduced, but without any compromise in residual overtones. A/B comparisons also tipped the scales in favor of the present reissue for newfound clarity and character among the lower-pitched instruments and the choral forces. Like many conductors of his generation, Beecham viewed Carmen as grand opera, instead of opera comique, and opted for the once-ubiquitous, now-discredited Guirard recitatives. But the great conductor's ebullient pacing and light-handed orchestral balancing galvanizes his splendid cast to idiomatic heights. Victoria de los Angeles gets under the skin of the complex title role as few mezzos have--so much so that it is easy to take for granted her alluring timbre and meticulous musicianship. Nicolai Gedda's ardent and alive Don José is vocally fresher but a tad less insightful than his 1964 remake partnering Callas. Well sung but less individually portrayed are Ernst Blanc's Escamillo and Janine Michaeau's Micaela. Carmen sets of more recent vintage offer more authentic presentations of Bizet's text, to be sure. Yet Beecham's theatrical flair still burns brightly and will enrich Carmen lovers who have yet to experience this delightful, ageless recording. --Jed Distler

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Carmen: Prelude (Orchestre)
  2. Carmen: Sur la place (Choeur - Morales - Micaela)
  3. Carmen: Avec la garde montante (Choeur d'enfants - Morales - Jose)
  4. Carmen: C'est bien la, n'est-ce pas (Zuniga - Jose)
  5. Carmen: La cloche a sonne... Dans l'air, nous suivons des yeux la fumee (Choeur)
  6. Carmen: Quand je vous aimerai? L'amour est un oiseau rebelle (Carmen - Choeur)
  7. Carmen: Camen! sur tes pas, nous nous pressions tous! (Choeur - Carmen - Jose)
  8. Carmen: Quels regards ! Quelle effronterie !
  9. Carmen: Parle-moi do ma mere !
  10. Carmen: Reste la, maintenant, pendant que je lirai (Jose - Micaela)
  11. Carmen: Au secours ! Au secours ! (Choeur - Zuniga)
  12. Carmen: Mon officier, c'etait une querelle (Jose - Zuniga - Carmen - Choeur)
  13. Carmen: Pres des remparts de Seville (Carmen - Jose)
  14. Carmen: Voici l'ordre ; partez (Zuniga - Carmen)

Disc: 2

  1. Carmen: Entr'acte
  2. Carmen: Les tringles des sistres tintaient
  3. Carmen: Messieurs, Pastia me dit
  4. Carmen: Vivat ! vivat le Torero !
  5. Carmen: Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre
  6. Carmen: La belle, un mot
  7. Carmen: Eh bien ! vite, quelles nouvelles ?
  8. Carmen: Mais qui donc attends-tu ?
  9. Carmen: Haite la !
  10. Carmen: Enfin, c'est toi !
  11. Carmen: Tout doux, Monsieur, tout doux
  12. Carmen: La fleur que tu m'avais jetee
  13. Carmen: Non, tu ne m'aimes pas... La-bas, la-bas, dans la montagne
  14. Carmen: Hola Carmen ! Hola ! Hola !

Disc: 3

  1. Carmen: Entr'acte
  2. Carmen: Ecoute, ecoute, compagnon, ecoute
  3. Carmen: Reposons-nous une heure ici, mes camarades
  4. Carmen: Melons ! Coupons !
  5. Carmen: Eh bien ?
  6. Carmen: Quant au douanier, c'est notre affaire
  7. Carmen: C'est des contrebandiers le refuge ordinaire Je dis, que rien ne m'epouvante
  8. Carmen: Je ne me trompe pas... c'est lui sur ce rocher
  9. Carmen: Quelques lignes plus bas
  10. Carmen: Hola, hola ! Jose !
  11. Carmen: Entr'acte
  12. Carmen: A deux cuartos ! A duex cuartos !
  13. Carmen: Les voici ! voici la quadrille !
  14. Carmen: C'est toi !... Camen, il est temps encore
  15. Carmen: Viva ! viva ! la course est belle !

Product details

  • Orchestra: Choeur & Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française
  • Conductor: Sir Thomas Beecham
  • Composer: Georges Bizet
  • Audio CD (August 15, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00004VVZC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,246 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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