18 times Carmen 1985-05-03, 1991-05-06, 1992-11-07, 1998-10-21, 2000-02-05, 2000-06-25, 2002-05-15, 2002-06-22, 2002-06-23, 2002-06-26, 2002-09-29, 2003-06-27, 2003-06-30, 2003-07-29, 2003-08-23, 2004-09-25, 2008-05-24, 2009-10-10
So what can one possible say about this one of the most popular operas. Georges Bizet's CARMEN. Almost no note of the opera has not been played on the radio even if we are just talking about pieces of opera played. Every note is so famous that one hardly know which tune is when in the opera. Carmen is so much the standard opera that it is hard to say something new. It is based on CARMEN by Prosper Mérimée. In the novella it is all told by Don José to the writer.
Anyone who knows me would not be surprised that I recommend the DVD from Met (also Deutsche Grammophon) with Agnes Baltsa and José Carreras, and the CD box set from Deutsche Grammophon with Agnes Baltsa and José Carreras. The highlight version from DG is also great for any one who has too many Carmen's already.
CARMEN - G. BIZET
Carmen - TERESA BERGANZA
D. José - PLACIDO DOMINGO
Escamillo - RUGGERO RAIMONDI
Mikaela - KATIA RICCIARELLI
Director - PIERRE DERVAUX
L `OPERA DE PARIS
I vaguely remember that I have another CD boxset with Carmen, also Deutsche Grammophon, with Teresa Berganza and Plácido Domingo, and not to forget the DVD of the movie with Plácido Domingo and Julia Migenes. Also a DVD from Wiener Staatsoper with Domingo and Elena Obratszova, I have it but I still haven't watched it from beginning to end.
A point that is often overlooked when one talk about the opera Carmen is that it is different versions of the dialogues and recitatives. I am on the fence in regard of whether I prefer dialogue to recitatives. But often the dialogue are cut so much that it is harder to understand the action if one did not know the whole dialogue from before. Then there is the cut in the duel duet between Don José and Escamillo, I don't like the cut.
LESSON FROM THE OPERA: I think one has to be careful not think that one knows what Spain and Andalucia is about from this opera. Even more care must be taken in thinking you know what "Gipsy" life is about in Spain and elsewhere. We are too ignorant as it is about the truth of that people. Much has been done to romanticize the reality and too make them seem dangerous. More truth is needed not more fantasy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romani_people_in_Spain
Read more: http://www.unionromani.org/pueblo_in.htm
For more reviews from my travels, see www.operaduetstravel.com