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Francois Ganot (France)

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Bizet: Carmen
Bizet: Carmen
Price: £13.28

21 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A total disaster ..., 6 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Bizet: Carmen (Audio CD)
I am sorry not to agree with the former comments, but I can't let say that this Carmen is a "great modern recording". Since I am french this opera is of great importance to me. Nothing works in this recording, except Kaufmann who sings a marvellous Don José despite his german accent. Kozena (Mrs Rattle in the life) is definitely not Carmen, she uses portamento and "parler-chanter" in order to build her role and the result is only crude and ridiculous (listen to the final scene for instance). Carmen is a very complex role, but she definitely cannot be unrefined. Escamillo does not sing, Micaëla is only acceptable. And what about Rattle ? With one of the best possible orchestra, he conducts the score as he would play "Der Fliegende Hollander". Bizet requires subtil art of conducting together with passion. Those qualities are not fulfilled here, far from ...
The sound by EMI is probably a little responsible, the low part of spectrum beeing much too loud. The present recording has originally done for a multichannel SACD release, but EMI, as usual and stupidly, gives access to SACD only to japanese customers ! Whatever the reasons are, the stereo sound is bad. Concerning the booklet, nothing but marketing (as the music itself) ... some pictures ... but no text and no translation at all for people not speaking french.

Let's come to what should be Carmen. Fortunately, the discography offers some treasures :
First of all, the Beecham recording with Victoria de Los Angeles, almost a perfect Carmen ; the rest of the cast, Gedda, Blanc and Micheau are wonderful. This recording is an absolute reference, never surpassed.
Maria Callas gave us also a breathtaking Carmen, an incarnation of the role, even if she could have been still vocally better a few years before. Gedda is still there, excellent, and Prêtre conducts with good taste.
More recently, Michel Plasson with Gheorghiu and Alagna offer a good alternative to the former historic performances (and Hampson is Escamillo). One cannot forget José Carreras who was a great Don José (in CD or DVD) as well as Vickers, both with not bad Carmen.

To conclude, if you wish enjoy the Don José by Jonas Kaufmann, buy the DVD or the Blu-ray. Antonacci is better than Kozena and Pappano less superficial than Rattle.

But no doubt that several recordings are necessary ... several except the present one !
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 17, 2015 9:58 PM BST

Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 (Philharmonie Berlin 1992) (Euroarts: 2011404) (Berliner Philharmoniker/ Sergiu Celibidache) [Blu-ray][Region Free] [2012]
Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 (Philharmonie Berlin 1992) (Euroarts: 2011404) (Berliner Philharmoniker/ Sergiu Celibidache) [Blu-ray][Region Free] [2012]
Dvd ~ Berliner Philharmoniker
Price: £28.90

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, 11 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Celibidache did not conduct the Berlin Philharmonic for 38 years, after the death of Furtwängler with whom he shared it during the post-war years. Then, Karajan was finally chosen as the lifetime conductor. What would have been the musical story of this orchestra, undoubtedly very different !

The concert given here is a miracle. Far beyond the questions of tempi, the music is always moving forward, in the time and in the space (yes, maybe it is slow, but this is not what you hear eventually). Such an experience is in accordance with the will of the master, recorded live and without any technical trick. Listening to Celibidache is already a unique experience, but watching a concert is another journey, a kind of mass. For Bruckner, another testimony is now available on DVD with "his own orchestra", the Munich Philharmonic Sergiu Celibidache Conducts Bruckner [DVD] [2012] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]. May be the osmosis is still more achieved in Munich, as in a long wedding life. However, we are here on the verge of tears during all the performance ... listen to the Adagio ... as well as at the end, when Celibidache turns into the direction of the orchestra with his hands clasped together, an act of humility and gratitude of this giant facing the orchestra (at least !). We just can humbly have the same feeling for this genius, and thank him for his gift.

Some words about the BluRay : the original format of the screen was 4/3 (I recorded this concert many years ago at the french TV when it was broadcasted) and the editor has chosen to crop the top and bottom in order to provide a 16/9 screen. This option is questionable since we lose a part of the image, but it doesn't matter indeed. The sound is rendered in a splendid stereo without any artificial surround effects. In addition, a documentary is given as a bonus.

To conclude, this testimony is no less than a part of the musical patrimony of the twentieth century. As far as I know, that was also the last time, four years before he died, that Celibidache appeared with the Berlin Philharmonic. Do not miss this breathtaking event ! (I apologize for my English which is obviously not my native language).

Face to Face [DVD] [1976] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Face to Face [DVD] [1976] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Price: £19.57

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Bergman, 21 Dec. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
At least this masterwork by Bergman is available on DVD. The questions dealing with the quality of the transfer appear to be irrelevant. Of course it is not a high definition DVD, and this is originally a film done for the Swedish television in 1975, but fortunately one could also see it on a larger screen in the last seventies (in France) and I remember the first time I saw it more than 35 years ago. That was a shock, and it remains one. The performance of Liv Ullmann is definitely overwhelming and terrifying, may be in her best one among her breathtaking roles in other film by Bergman. The movie itself questions about love, death, illness, depression and "how death and love permeate each other" as written in the English subtitles. Bergman plays with light and dark in a magical way. Close-up shots emphasize the drama. The only small technique critic about this DVD is the chosen 16:9 format whereas the original was not so wide. Anyway, this is the first time I can watch this movie in such good conditions. One can evoke here Woody Allen who pays homage to "Face to Face" in "Annie Hall" in his own way. To summarize, if you don't know this movie, please seize the opportunity to discover it. You will not regret this human experience which talks about the essential question of life. Thank you Bergman and deep respect for Liv Ullmann.

Dexter Season 2 [DVD]
Dexter Season 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael C. Hall
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £8.69

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars French Subtitles, 4 Mar. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dexter Season 2 [DVD] (DVD)
Does anybody have informations concerning the subtitles available in this edition. My question is related to french subtitles but it can be useful to other languages.

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