Bizet: Carmen. Price, Corelli. Freni, WPO. Herbert von Karajan. 3 LP. RCA. LDS 6164

LDS 6164

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 Georges Bizet: Carmen. Leontyne Price, Franco Corelli, Robert Merrill, Mirelli Freni singing with the Vienna Philharmonic will be conducted by Herbert von Karajan, in a recording from 1963.

 3 LP. RCA. LDS 6164  Press read more

*** Recommendation ***

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Georges Bizet: Carmen. (opera complete). Leontyne Price, Franco Corelli, Robert Merrill, Mirelli Freni singing with the Vienna Philharmonic will be conducted by Herbert von Karajan, in a recording from 1963.

 3 LP. RCA. LDS 6164

*** Recommendation ***

 

Carmen by Georges Bizet 
 
Performer: Leontyne Price (Soprano), Franco Corelli (Tenor), Robert Merrill (Baritone),
Mirella Freni (Soprano), Monique Linval (Soprano), Geneviève Macaux (Mezzo Soprano),
Jean-Christophe Benoit (Baritone), Maurice Besançon (Tenor), Frank Schooten (Bass),
Bernard Demigny (Baritone)
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Boys' Choir
Period: Romantic
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Date of Recording: 1963
 

If you like and want Carmen as the grandest of grand operas this is the set for you without question.

If you like and want Carmen as the grandest of grand operas this is the set for you without question. Even if you don't, you may find it hard to resist the combined assets of Price's smoky, sensual Carmen, Corelli's virile, exciting Jose, Freni's marvellously sung Micaela, Karajan's precisely, sensuously, leisurely yet vital conducting (so much more admirable than on his recent DG version) and, almost most commendable of all, the spacious, natural Culshaw recording.

John Steane in The Grand Tradition (London: 1974), states that Carmen is Price's most important contribution to the gramophone, giving chapter and verse for his view, and I am inclined to agree; it is certainly far superior to her second Aida (reviewed in August). Less genteel than los Angeles (Beecham), less tigerish than Callas (Pretre), more earthy than Berganza (Abbado), less blatant than Migenes (Maazel), Price's Carmen positively insinuates herself into your listening room, a very real and alluring presence, even if just occasionally she just overdoes the ero ticism. As singing, her account of the role marvellously contrasts the light, airy, seductive Carmen of the earlier acts with the fatalistic woman of the last two. Corelli, though his French is distracting (that coach, mentioned amusingly in Culshaw's memoirs, seems to have been employed in vain), gives us one of the most exciting Joses on disc, quite frightening in his agony and frustration in the last two acts, and not without signs of subtlety in the duets with Micaela and Carmen earlier. The heroic, tragic quality in his singing makes one forgiye his occasional liberties over note values. In the finale, Price and Corelli evince an extraordinary animal passion, overwhelming in its intensity. Freni's French can be worrying and she enunciates vaguely, but she sings her aria with a strength and beauty seldom equalled. Merrill is a strong but not very individual Escamillo. The smaller parts are well taken. Of course, we have Guiraud recitatives here, not dialogue.

The playing of the VPO is as excellent as that on any set I know of this work—listen to the sensuous quality of the postlude to Micaela's aria. Karajan, even in 1964, leaned towards slowish, slightly stately tempos, but I didn't feel the stiffening of the arteries of the later set. As I've already suggested, the recording is irreproachable, and It comes up with even more immediacy now on CD. This set must have an equal recommendation with the Abbado (DG), Maazel (Erato/RCA) and Beecham (EMI), all of which present different and valid views of the work.

-- Gramophone [10/1988]

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Very grand... Price is a highly dramatic Carmen, Mirella Freni contributes a most sensitively sung Micaëla, and Corelli sounds glorious...

-- BBC Music Magazine

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Karajan's RCA version, made in Vienna in 1964, owes much to Leontyne Price's seductive, smoky-toned Carmen... Robert Merrill sings with gloriously firm tone, while Mirella Freni is enchanting as Micaëla.

-- The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs & DVDs [2003/4 edition]

Reviews (1)

V Anders

Nov 4, 2019
5
(5/5
Her til den legendariske Carmen optagelse med den gudsbenåede amerikanske sopran Leontyne Price, der udfylder rollen som Carmen som ingen anden. Både Freni og Corelli er ligeledes på toppen af deres sangmæssige karriere.

At det er en af helt store Carmen indspilninger behøver du ikke kun at tage mit ord for, blot se alle de flotte anmeldelser sættet har fået ved trykke på det nedenstående link.
 
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