Bizet : Carmen
Bizet : Carmen
Marylin Horne (Carmen), James McCracken (Don Jose), Tom Krause (Escamillo), Leonard Bernstein conducting the Manhattan Opera Chorus and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (1972)
Deutsche Grammophon DGG 2709043
Speakers Corner Records : 3 LPs 180 gram, box with booklet
Brand New and Sealed Record
Georges Bizet (1838 - 1875) composed Carmen in 1873 and 1874, on a libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on a novella by Prosper Mérimée. The opera was first performed in Paris on 3 March 1875. Bizet died suddenly after the 33rd performance, unaware that the work would achieve international acclaim within the following years. Carmen has since become the most frequently performed all over the world.
“This is a problem recording, and even fans of Leonard Bernstein and Marilyn Horne will find it odd” writes a large mail-order media company about this "Carmen" production. However, discerning listeners who submerge themselves in the music will soon conclude that the problem is rather to be found among the many highly acclaimed and styled-up other recordings that present the fiery musical portrait as a sanitized, spirited indoor ballet. This is very different from Bernstein, who hints at the work’s inevitable tragedy already in the agonisingly weighty clashing cymbals of the surprisingly slow opening. His rustic-sounding street scenes are filled with vaudeville, raw and authentic, and so typical of how people behave when they dance out-of-doors. This Carmen is far closer to the cracking "Westside Story" than a saturated "Traviata".
Marilyn Horne in the title role lends the full-blooded Carmen such an incredible voice in all manner of moods that one can hardly believe that we are listening to just one singer. One minute we hear the bright voice of a young girl lusting for life, and in the next minute the mezzo-like pained cry of a man-killing heroine.
James McCracken has a distinctive dry voice, which is full of rousing passion, and is ideal in the role of Don José. He is complemented by the dramatic, powerful baritone Tom Krause as the torero Escamillo.
Harry Pearson, the founder and former Editor in Chief of the specialist magazine "The Absolute Sound", accorded this outstanding recording a regular mention in his 'super disc' list – no problem!
Recorded in September and October 1972 at Manhattan Center, New York City, by Günter Hermanns.
This Speakers Corner LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the original analogue studio tapes through to the cutting head and was pressed with virgin vinyl at Pallas. More information under http://www.pure-analogue.com