WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Bizet: Carmen Highlights / Troyanos, Domingo, Solti

Bizet / Troyanos / London Phil Orch / Solti
Release Date: 04/20/2010 
Label:  Eloquence   Catalog #: 4803520   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Georges Bizet
Performer:  José Van DamPlacido DomingoDame Kiri Te KanawaTatiana Troyanos
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic OrchestraJohn Alldis Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Import   
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



BIZET Carmen: Excerpts Sir Georg Solti, cond; Tatiana Troyanos ( Carmen ); Plácido Domingo ( Don José ); Kiri Te Kanawa ( Micaëla ); José van Dam ( Escamillo ); John Alldis Ch; London PO DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 3520 (74:55)

Read more /> Here are excerpts from one of the better recordings of Carmen, recorded, as it happens, 100 years after the opera’s unsuccessful first run. Actually, Carmen was more of a critical failure than a public one and, once Ernest Guiraud composed recitatives to replace the spoken dialogue, the opera’s popularity took off, a phenomenon predicted by Tchaikovsky after he attended one of the first-run performances. For years, most people knew Carmen in Guiraud’s edition, even in France, although there were some theaters that must have used the spoken dialogue; there was one spirited opéra-comique recording led by André Cluytens that still holds up more than 60 years later. The situation changed during the 1960s when the musicologist Fritz Oeser discovered passages that had been cut before and during the first run and issued them in his own edition, which uses spoken dialogue (but also puts the Guiraud contributions on an opposite page). Unfortunately, he also omitted some things that had initially been part of the opera, like the second half of the knife fight in act III.


This has left the choice of which passages to include in performance up to the conductor and, in my opinion, the most intelligent choice of Oeser passages was made by Sir Georg Solti—not only that, his recording included his explanations of why he omitted some Oeser passages and included others. That’s not in play here since we’re dealing with excerpts and the only time Oeser enters the picture is the introduction to the “Toreador Song,” which contains some additional singing by the chorus and some spoken dialogue. Otherwise, one hears the expected Overture (but not the statement of the “fate” motif), “Habañera,” “Seguidilla” (including Don José’s contribution), the “Gypsy Song” (executed by the three gypsies as well as I’ve ever heard it done), the “Toreador Song,” the Quintet (sometimes delivered with appealing delicacy as well as speed), the “Flower Song” (with the B? inevitably belted out but otherwise on target), Carmen’s suggestion that José join the smugglers, ending just before Zuniga enters, the “Card Song” (during which Tatiana Troyanos proves that you don’t need to have a big, dark voice to bring it off), Micaëla’s aria, the chorus that accompanies the procession to the bullring, and the final scene.


Throughout, Solti chooses moderate tempos and keeps the rhythms crisp and bouncy, giving his singers excellent support, and the sound, if it doesn’t overwhelm one, is up to 1975 par. Troyanos has a rapid quaver that may irritate some listeners but I think she more than compensates for that with agility and nuance. Plácido Domingo’s José, if not the ultimate in eloquence, is highly proficient and vocally healthy. José Van Dam, a high bass, has the right voice for Escamillo and some might argue that Kiri Te Kanawa is overqualified as Micaëla. If all you want is a representative sampling of the opera or of this particular recording, this CD does the job with some distinction. Among the complete recordings, I would certainly cite the aforementioned Cluytens (mono), this one, and the Maazel Erato soundtrack (also Oeser-based but different from his eccentric Eurodisc recording), Beecham (Guiraud), and Frühbeck (dialogue—the edition used on opening night). The title role has been done extremely well by Teresa Berganza, Maria Callas, Régine Crespin, and Risë Stevens on other recordings. On the whole, Carmen has fared rather well on recordings, partly because Bizet has presented conductors and casts with a vehicle that’s hard to run off the rails.


FANFARE: James Miller
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Carmen: Act 1 Prelude "Les toréadors" by Georges Bizet
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
2. Carmen: L'amour est un oiseau rebelle "Habañera" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  José Van Dam (), Placido Domingo (), Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (),
Tatiana Troyanos ()
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Written: 1873-1874 
Length: 5 Minutes 33 Secs. 
3. Carmen: Parle-moi de ma mère by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Placido Domingo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
4. Carmen: Près des ramparts de Seville "Seguidilla" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  José Van Dam (), Placido Domingo (), Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (),
Tatiana Troyanos ()
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 47 Secs. 
5. Carmen: Les tringles des sistres tintaient "Gypsy Song" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  José Van Dam (), Placido Domingo (), Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (),
Tatiana Troyanos ()
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Length: 4 Minutes 56 Secs. 
6. Carmen: Votre toast je peu vous le rendre "Toreador Song" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  José Van Dam (), Placido Domingo (), Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (),
Tatiana Troyanos ()
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Length: 6 Minutes 59 Secs. 
7. Carmen: Nous avons en tête une affaire! by Georges Bizet
Performer:  José Van Dam (), Placido Domingo (), Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (),
Tatiana Troyanos ()
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Written: 1875 
Length: 4 Minutes 59 Secs. 
8. Carmen: La fleur que tu m'avais jetée "Flower song" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  José Van Dam (), Placido Domingo (), Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (),
Tatiana Troyanos ()
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 52 Secs. 
9. Carmen: Non, tu ne m'aimes pas by Georges Bizet
Performer:  José Van Dam (), Placido Domingo (), Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (),
Tatiana Troyanos ()
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 22 Secs. 
10. Carmen: En vain pour éviter les réponses amères "Card Aria" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  José Van Dam (), Placido Domingo (), Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (),
Tatiana Troyanos ()
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Length: 7 Minutes 29 Secs. 
11. Carmen: Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante "Micaëla's Aria" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  José Van Dam (), Placido Domingo (), Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (),
Tatiana Troyanos ()
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Length: 5 Minutes 47 Secs. 
12. Carmen: Les voici! Les voici! by Georges Bizet
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
13. Carmen: C'est toi! C'est moi!...Carmen, il est temps encore by Georges Bizet
Performer:  José Van Dam (), Placido Domingo (), Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (),
Tatiana Troyanos ()
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Length: 10 Minutes 9 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook