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Customer Review

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly good Carmen, one of the best modern versions, 21 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Bizet: Carmen (Audio CD)
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 MicaŽla 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. The answer is a resounding yes, if you have an preconceptions I would suggest you put them to one side and try this excellent recording. I would have given it 5 stars if D'Arcangelo had been cast as the Toreador, but that maybe just me.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Aug 2012 14:47:04 BDT
don't be kiddish, d'Arcangelo isn't the only Toreador in the world and i don't think he's really that good, btw i know he's looking good!

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Aug 2012 15:28:55 BDT
Trev-R says:
Andreas everyone is entitled to their opinion and mine is that D'Arcangelo is the complete package, terrific voice and tremendous stage presence. I cannot think of anyone in recent times who is as good? Bryn Terfel sounds great but looks as much like a Toreador as the vicars cat. Thomas Hampson again sounds great but just doesn't look as good. Looking a little further back we have the mid-field Escamillo's like Samuel Ramey, Simon Estes and Ruggero Raimondi. I must admit to quite liking Justino DŪaz in the 1967 film of Carmen but would have to go back further to Robert Merrill to find my favourite (vocal) Toreador.

And of course there is the just bad - Teddy Tahu Rhodes in the 2010 Met production was just awful. All of this is my opinion only and I am sure there are plenty who will disagree.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Aug 2012 13:58:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Aug 2012 14:00:49 BDT
my absolutely favorite would be...Hvorostovsky, a wonderful voice:-D and also good looking, but as you know, it's just a record, so we have to be modest. sorry you're right everybody has his idols and sometimes i'm just wondering why all the idols have to look this good these days...where is a new J.Norman? they have no chance at all now. btw Terfel could be my first choice on record, what a virile voice!
btw i own the record now and...mmhhh i'm not sure about Kozena, anyhow she's a blonde and she also sings a bit like that, no she-devil like Baltsa.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Sep 2012 14:11:34 BDT
Andreas:
I'm afraid that I agree with Trevor - D'Arcangelo is the best Toreador I've encountered in recordings or in an opera house. It is a shame that he wasn't cast here and before you sound off at me, as you did with Trevor, many professional opera critics and experts have made the same observation. Anyway, the torreador is a strange role; vital to the plot, but can be played absurdly. I don't dispute your comment that Hvorostovsky & his protege Schrott have wonderful voices indeed, but I suspect they would be poorly served if cast as Escamillo.
I also think that in 2012 you are exibiting a touch of naivety in thinking that looks don't count; I'm afraid the days have gone when such things - and not being able to act - didn't matter.
But as Trevor stated quite diplomatically (not one of my strong points), everyone is entitled to their opinion, which is the purpose of these forums. I also agree with him about the Escamillo in the 2010 Met production - but, he did have to step in at the last minute.
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Trev-R
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: Boston UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 184