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Bizet: Carmen Box set, Limited Edition

10 customer reviews

Price: £11.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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£11.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 12 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Bizet: Carmen + Puccini: Madama Butterfly
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Product details

  • Performer: Magdalena Kozena, Jonas Kaufmann, Genia Kühmeier, Kostas Smoriginas, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt
  • Orchestra: Berliner Philharmoniker
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Composer: Georges Bizet
  • Audio CD (20 Aug. 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set, Limited Edition
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B0083YRT4U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,227 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

EMI 4402852; EMI ITALIANA - Italia; Classica Lirica

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Trev-R TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Aug. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The quick review - This is a very good modern Carmen that will not disappoint. You will need to be very critical indeed to find too much wrong with this set. Perhaps this would be ideally suited to someone who is looking at buying their first Carmen or who just wants the opera to add to a collection. The set comes in a booklet form with card slots in the front and back cover for the two discs. The booklet forms the filler pages and is around 60 pages long. The usual multi-lingual offering with track information, synopsis, some photos etc, just what you would expect.

The slightly longer version - Magdalena Kozená has a beautiful mezzo voice but I thought one that was not quite suited to playing the role of Carmen. How wrong I was, she brings her own magic to this recording and somehow seems to balance out the beautiful rich tones of Kaufmann who in my opinion is even more magnificent in this recording than the 2007 Royal Opera House DVD/Blu-ray. Every recording I hear of him he just seems to get better. I wonder however if his voice will soon be just too much for the role of Don Jose and he will have to leave the role behind.

Kostas Smoriginas's Toreador is believable and quite reasonable but not as good as D'Arcangelo from the 2007 ROH recording. In my opinion the singer that surprised me the most was the Soprano Genia Kuhmeier who's Micaëla has the youthful effervescence I associate with the sublime Mirella Freni, still I think unsurpassed in this role.

Apparently Rattle said that his mission was to present the score in its original `Opera Comique' incarnation rather than as grand opera with spoken dialogue rather than the recitatives which were added later.

The real question for me was would Kozená be any good in the role.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Abert on 19 Sept. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Well, this recording is controversial.
I own at least 6 other sets of Carmen recordings. This one is unique in the sense that -
(1) Kozena is not born to sing this role, since her fach is inapt for the low tessitura, but she manages to depict, by her inflections and nuances, a Carmen that is more wilful and hard-headed than sexy and wild;
(2) Kaufmann sings most probably the best Don Jose for the past decade, Roberto Alagna included;
(3) Rattle's reading of the score places emphases on the despair more than the struggle, and one hears, almost at the outset, the despairs in the respective roles - Carmen, Jose, Escamillo, Micaela.
Kozena's Havanaise is not a mere display of sexual allure - it is an outcry of loneliness. Similarly her Avez-vous quelque chose a repondre? and Pres des remparts de Seville are a lonely heart's outbursts, with her slightly subdued yet nuanced renditions. The real deal of Kozena's Carmen lies in Act III's En vain pour eviter, forming the pillar of Kozena's characterisation.
In a similar veim, the dark bass baritone Kostas Smoriginas's Escamillo is a doomed figure despite the apparent glamour and excitement - he would never win his Carmen despite his aspirations and challenges to Jose.
In yet a similar vein, Rattle's choice for Micaela in Genia Kuhmeier is a cool and aloof 'onlooker' to the saga of Don Jose/Carmen/Escamillo than the involved jilted lover.
The passionate tenor Jonas Kaufmann sung a virtually perfect Jose in this recording, and his passion contrasts striking with the relatively cool castings of Carmen, Micaela and Escamillo. Just savour his Va-t'en...Tu ma disde la suivre!
This is definitely not a conventional 'Carmen' that one would wish for. The non-inclusion of libretto in a deluxe setting further adds to the fact that this purported production of a Carmen is aimed at conoisseurs instead of newbies.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Kass on 16 Sept. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Every man has his own Carmen".
This has become clear to me after reading the reviews on Amazon UK and USA.
This makes it well-nigh impossible to discuss this new recording with ojectivity.
This figure seems to be the ideal projection surface for the erotic fantasies of the listeners of this opera.
How sexy is she, how rebellious, how defiant, how proud, how evil? Many listeners seem to have found their own "Carmen" a long time ago and any new interpretation is almost sure to fail when measured with this. What gets forgotten is that Bizet's opera is not only about her. There is Don Jose`s acute and devastating drama, the sad story of Micaela, the arrogance of the Toreador, not to mention the social aspects of the time. One could argue that Don José is actually the most interesting character; he certainly changes the most, from the loved son and well-behaved Brigadier to a muderer.
This fixation on the figure of Carmen has unfortunately blinded some reviewers to the merits of this new recording. That Kaufmann's Don Jose is an extraordinary achievement is almost universally recognized. Kümeier`s Micaela has even been compared to the legendary version by the young Freni. The duet in Act 1 between these two is very beautiful and touching indeed.
Then there is the orchestra and the conducting. They are of central importance in this opera, more so than in early Verdi operas for example. The Berliner Philharmoniker play their part with the necessary verve, passion and accuracy but also with an exceptional and seldom to be heard sensitivity and subtlety. Many passages have gained for me at any rate new significance and beauty. In addition I have heard details of the score and the instrumentation as never before. This alone makes this recording worth buying.
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