45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Silver Bells, the slightest Pianissimo and magnificent Temptress!,
This review is from: Bizet: Carmen (Audio CD)
This is my favourite "Carmen" performance, not the least since Katia Ricciarelli and José Carreras are likewise my favorite opera singers. Katia Ricciarelli with her pure, clear voice, like silver bells, is totally free from the almost "screaming", which so often happens to sopranos on hitting the highest notes. As Micaela she plays a rather small part in the performance, but she does it beautifully and her voice is perfect for that role. José Carreras is world known for his lyrical tenor. I love his "voice from the soul" and have always preferred him singing softly rather than with all his strength.
In this recording I am particularly fond of Act 1, scene 5: "Parle-moi de ma mère" between Don José (Carreras) and Micaela (Ricciarelli). But the finest and most special moment of all is the flower aria, Act 2, scene 11: "La fleur que tu m'avais jetée", sung by Don José (Carreras). Usually, tenors end this aria with a rising crescendo, as a tenor's voice is so often judged by its ability to reach and hold its strength at the highest notes.
However, late Conductor Herbert von Karajan, who favoured José Carreras as his preferred tenor, asked Carreras on this occasion if he would do the flower aria differently in this recording, and finish it not in a strong voice, but softly, tuning out into the slightest pianissimo, a slowly disappearing whisper.
How right he was. Never have I heard this famous aria sung so beautifully. So in accordance with the role of Don José and the mood the song is supposed to be reflecting.
It's these two scenes in particular I always go back to when I listen to this album, but also the rest of the recording is, of course, a delight. Agnes Baltsa has a strong and full voice perfect for Carmen, but it's her temperament I admire in particular, she is magnificent as the number one temptress of opera and even look perfect for the role. The last duet between Carmen and Don José, Act 3, scene 15: "C'est toi! - C'est moi!", is also a scene I listen too often, although it's far more dramatic than the two previous ones. It all depends on my mood.
As for my all time favourite tenor, José Carreras, whom I have had the luck to see performing on several occasions, Don José is one of his most famous opera roles and I dare say this is his finest performance to date.
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Initial post: 20 Aug 2011 22:20:54 BDT
Geoffrey Bellamy says:
I enjoyed your review. The score marks the Flower Song to be ended pianissimo. Carreras is right to do this, as Jon Vickers does on the Burgos recording. Bashing it out at full throttle is not what Bizet asked for, but often gets!
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