How great, my friends….wonderful sounding, TAS listed masterwork.
Reposted, now with FF links
# Composer: Georges Bizet
# Performer: Tatiana Troyanos, Placido Domingo, José van Dam, Kiri Te Kanawa
# Orchestra: London Philarmonic Orchestra
# Conductor: Sir Georg Solti
# Vinyl (1975)
# Number of Discs: 3
# Format: Flac
# Label: Decca
# DR-Analysis: DR 14
# ASIN: B0000041QH
# Size: 3.0 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FileFactory
Tatiana Troyanos was reportedly never comfortable on stage as Carmen, but she sings it ravishingly well in this recording, in good voice and at home with the character. Placido Domingo, seemingly the only Don José of our era, gives one of his best accounts of the role; Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sings beautifully as Micaëla, and Jose van Dam’s Escamillo offers just the right blend of macho swagger. The dialogue is unusually well done, and Georg Solti’s conducting, though lacking some Gaelic wit, gets the serious parts spot-on. –Sarah Bryan Miller
Solti has not been given his due as an opera conductor, yet he was at the helm for at least half dozen recordings – “Tannhäuser”, “Arabella”, “Salome”, “Eugene Onegin”, “Aida”, “Le nozze di Figaro” and of course his “Ring” – which are always in the top recommendations. This “Carmen” joins that elite group: it is impeccably played and cast from Opera Central Casting Heaven.
Until now I have always favoured the 1982 Maazel filmed version for verismo thrills (yes; I know “Carmen” isn’t verismo but I also don’t want it too Gallically refined and under-stated – or indeed, undersung, as is the case with Berganza) and I still greatly esteem that version, especially as DVD, but Tatiana Troyanos’s knockout Carmen cruelly exposes the vocal frailties of Migenes-Johnson’s circus trick of even being able to sing the role at all with such a comparatively light voice. Troyanos is everything you want: dusky, smoky, sexy and nuanced. Her French, both sung and spoken, is miraculously good for an American – and I don’t mean that patronisingly; it’s just that non-native singers nearly always struggle with French and she doesn’t. To hear her balefully intone “Toujours la mort” is spine-tingling. Every fleeting mood is captured without caricaturing the gypsy femme fatale.
Solti gives us his own deeply considered amalgam between the Choudens original performing version and the complete Oeser score, not feeling bound by either but making judicious decisions about what to restore and where to return to the 1875 first night if it works better dramatically. Bizet was no doubt constrained by performance considerations to make some cuts he wanted to resist whereas in this recording Solti felt able take a more leisurely approach and include some lovely music unnecessarily discarded; thus this version is some fifteen minutes longer than most but seems wholly satisfying as a dramatic experience. The rationale behind Solti’s additions and choices is detailed in the booklet.
Domingo is in superb voice in a role which perhaps best suited his gifts – and his noticeable Spanish accent is no handicap in such a part as a Spanish corporal. He does well in the dialogue and sings an absolutely beautiful “La fleur”; his falsetto is honeyed and his top notes ring out. Te Kanawa’s ravishingly pure Micaëla points up where the workaday Faith Esham for Maazel is lacking and José van Dam’s virile and smoothly vocalised Escamillo tops even Raimondi’s account, his idiomatic French bringing greater authenticity to his vocal acting (not that Raimondi, an excellent linguist, is faulty). Smaller parts are expertly filled by mostly French singers yet British Norma Burrowes brings Frasquita alive more vividly than any other singer I know in that role; her singing is vibrant and charming. Similarly, the young Thomas Allen’s Moralès is a treat.
While I would never part with Callas as Carmen or even Corelli’s or Del Monaco’s visceral Don José, this recording now goes to the top of my list. Given that this Decca set in excellent sound was made in 1975, I merely wonder why it took me so long to discover it.
Analyzed folder: /96kBizCar_Troy/96k Bizet Carmen Troyanos Domingo
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR14 -1.29 dB -21.37 dB side2.wav
DR15 -1.13 dB -21.64 dB side1.wav
DR14 -0.98 dB -20.85 dB side4.wav
DR14 -0.29 dB -19.89 dB side3.wav
DR13 -1.35 dB -19.23 dB side6.wav
DR14 -1.06 dB -20.71 dB side5.wav
Number of files: 6
Official DR value: DR14
- Artwork By [Cover Art] – Giraudon, Paris
- Choir – John Alldis Choir
- Chorus – Boys’ Chorus from Haberdashers’ Aske’s School, Elstree, The
- Chorus Master – John Alldis
- Co-producer [Assistant] – Richard Beswick
- Co-producer [Recording] – Christopher Raeburn
- Conductor – Sir Georg Solti
- Engineer [Recording] – Colin Moorfoot, Kenneth Wilkinson, Nigel Gayler
- Libretto By – Henri Meilhac, Ludovic Halévy
- Orchestra – London Philharmonic Orchestra, The
- Other [Musical Adviser] – Janine Reiss
- Photography [Booklet Cover] – J. Heffernan
- Repetiteur [Choir Coach] – Alan Taylor, Jean Povey
- Repetiteur [Editorial Adviser And Coach] – Jeffrey Tate
- Vocals [Carmen] – Tatiana Troyanos
- Vocals [Dancairo] – Michel Roux
- Vocals [Don José] – Placido Domingo
- Vocals [Escamillo] – José Van Dam
- Vocals [Frasquita] – Norma Burrowes
- Vocals [Guide] – Pierre-Jean Remy
- Vocals [Lillas Pastia] – Jacques Loreau
- Vocals [Mercédès] – Jane Berbié
- Vocals [Micaëla] – Kiri Te Kanawa
- Vocals [Moralès] – Thomas Allen
- Vocals [Orange Seller] – Balvina De Courcelles
- Vocals [Remendado] – Michel Sénéchal
- Vocals [Zuniga] – Pierre Thau
- RCM: Okki Nokki
- TT: Clearaudio Champion Level II
- System: Special Edition Denon DL 103
- Phono stage: Pro-Ject Phono Box II
- Pre Amp: Unison Research Unico Pre (Tube)
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
- Software: iZotope RX Advanced v2.02, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
- Light de-Clicking with ClickRepair, significant clicks manually removing, no De-Noising
If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music. Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.
- DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
- Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
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