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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maria Callas record
it isa first class record and i love Maria Callas. and I think I will be buying more if something takes my fancy
Published 15 months ago by michael bolland

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1.0 out of 5 stars Optimism
Nice that all these reviewers have found such variety and satisfaction from performers ranging across the world in a disc whose image includes a cast with Djanel Albanese and Jobim conducted by Beecham and listed next to the image by Amazon as having been conducted by Karajan. Did they know? And does Amazon know what you will be sent if you buy it?
Published 23 hours ago by Peter Street


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1.0 out of 5 stars Optimism, 11 July 2014
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This review is from: Bizet: Carmen (Audio CD)
Nice that all these reviewers have found such variety and satisfaction from performers ranging across the world in a disc whose image includes a cast with Djanel Albanese and Jobim conducted by Beecham and listed next to the image by Amazon as having been conducted by Karajan. Did they know? And does Amazon know what you will be sent if you buy it?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars no need to hesitate . . ., 5 May 2014
By 
Stanley Crowe (Greenville, SC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bizet: Carmen (Audio CD)
I picked this up in London for under seven pounds, and found it surprisingly good. Surprisingly, because I had read some rather ho-hum reviews years ago. But it's a very good sounding-recording, and Ozawa does a marvelous job with the colorful orchestral writing, and in general the balance of the voices to the orchestra is just fine. I like that the singers do their own parts in the spoken dialogue, and the fact that many of the singers of the smaller parts are French is a definite strength in the ensembles. Of the non-French singers, Simon Estes as Escamillo is perhaps the least fluent. Still, he's in fine voice, and if he lacks the suavity of Jose van Dam in the role . . . well. so do most other Escamillos. As Micaela, over twenty years on from her recording of the role for Karajan, Mirella Freni is fine. The voice has lost some of its amazing beauty, but it's a richer, fuller sound, and her command of the music and the expression is impressive. By Act 3, she's hardly a shrinking violet but rather a brave and determined woman. The Jose here is Neil Schicoff, and he is absolutely convincing as the weak and desperate soldier who gives up his career and his self-respect for what he takes to be love. He is every bit the equal histrionically of Domingo and Corelli, and has better French than both. As for Jessye Norman as Carmen . . . the role is certainly in the voice, and if she starts a bit tamely (as if resisting the urge to cut loose), by the end she is fully engaged. The final scene is very well paced by Ozawa (as indeed are all the ensembles), and Schicoff and Norman rise to it admirably.

One often reads that there is no perfect "Carmen" -- maybe not, but I haven't heard a really bad one either. The music is consistently appealing and dramatically charged where necessary, and it seems to bring out the best in its performers. If you collect recordings of "Carmen," you won't regret adding this to your list.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maria Callas record, 31 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Bizet: Carmen (MP3 Download)
it isa first class record and i love Maria Callas. and I think I will be buying more if something takes my fancy
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Carmen and excellent mp3 quality, 24 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Bizet: Carmen (MP3 Download)
This is one of the best performances of this opera that you will ever hear. The sound quality of this mp3 version is amazing especially given the era. There is no hiss, crackle, noise etc, the colours are bright and the dynamics are powerful, the only thing is it is not stereo - but you soon forget that. I much prefer this mp3 version to the CD version on MYTO. Whoever has done the restoration on this has done an amazing job.

This is a "live" performance from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It is what the audience heard that night. Most modern "live" recordings are an edited and "improved" version, stitched together from at least 2 performances. The musical standard on this live performance, however, is way beyond anything I hear in the major opera houses today. In particular the orchestral playing is in another league - what has happened to the orchestras of the Met, Covent Garden etc., to make their standard of playing fall so far in the last 50 years? You can take any five minute slice of this performance and the phrasing, the voicing, the rhythmic energy, of the musicians, the chorus and the soloists is marvelous.

The singers are some of the greatest performers of the twentieth century. Styles are undoubtedly different today, (with modern directors taking a more visual approach to interpretation), but there are few singers that can match these for excitement.

So, why is this such an important recording - it is of course because of the conductor Dmitri Mitropoulos. If you do not know his work, then this is a perfect introduction. There is no conductor in the world today who can match his ability to generate excitement while maintaining musical integrity. His control of colour, rhythm and tempo is unparalleled. I do not recall hearing an orchestra today execute such potent rhythm and true graduated changes of tempo - the effect on the music is massive. There is always a sense of rightness, a combination of freedom, expressiveness and discipline.

I believe the objective of the performer should be always to make the audience think "my goodness, The Composer was a genius" . Only a few performers really achieve this (Emil Gilels was another I think). It requires not only phenomenal technical ability, but also the will to go deeper into the meaning of the little black dots and dashes that make up the imperfect instructions supplied by the composer. By revealing the greatness of the composer's imagination, the performer shows less of their own personality. Ironically this means the listener might undervalue the contribution of the artist - unfortunately, as in most areas of life, fame comes to those who shout me me me.

If Mitropoulos had been a more ambitious individual, and played the "game" with the record companies - then we may have had more recordings, but he would not have been the same person - so his "work" would not have been the same.

We just have to be grateful these historic recordings exist at all.

Anyone who is conducting Carmen (or any other opera) MUST listen to this set. Anyone who likes Carmen should own it.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful!, 26 April 2011
This review is from: Bizet: Carmen (MP3 Download)
Without question the best version of Bizet's Carman, magical and deeply vibrant it is must for any decent collection. Solti has that golden touch that brings that is light and fanciful at one moment and deeply moving the next. This is for me a masterclass in how that is done and joyful to the heart and delight on the ear!
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Bizet: Carmen
Bizet: Carmen by Kiri Te Kanawa and London Philharmonic Orchestra and Plácido Domingo and Sir Georg Solti and Sir Thomas Allen and Tatiana Troyanos and The John Alldis Choir
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