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EMI Classics's studio opera recording of Bizet's Carmen marks the 10th anniversary of the artistic 'dream-team' partnership of Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker. Carmen is by far the most popular French opera and this recording is boasting a stellar cast with Magdalena Kožená in the title role and Jonas Kaufmann as Don José.
Act 3 - "La mort" /"Parlez encor, parlez mes belles;"
Act 3 - "Eh bien?" - "Eh bien, c'est plus compliqué que prévu!"
Act 3 - No. 20 Morceau d'Ensemble "Quant au douanier"
Act 3 - No. 21 Air "Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante"
Act 3 - "Qui êtes-vous, répondez!"
Act 3 - No. 22 Duo "Je suis Escamillo, Torero de Grenade!"
Act 3 - "Elle avait pour amant"
Act 3 - "Mais pour nous enlever nos filles de Bohème"
Act 3 - "Enfin ma colère" - "Quelle maladresse"
Act 3 - Tout beau!"
Act 3 - No. 23 Final "Holá! holá! José!"
Act 3 - "Prends garde à toi Carmen"
Act 3 - "Moi! Je viens te chercher!"
Act 3 - "Va-t'en" - "Tu me dis de la suivre!"
Act 3 - "Toréador, en garde!"
Act 4 - ENTR'ACTE
Act 4 - No. 24 Chœur "A deux cuartos!"
Act 4 - No. 25 Chœur et Scène "Les voici! Voici la quadrille!"
Act 4 - "Si tu m'aimes, Carmen"
Act 4 - "Carmen, un bon conseil"
Act 4 - No. 26 "C'est toi" - "C'est moi"
Act 4 - "Tu m'aimes donc plus"
17 minute documentary
“The Berlin Philharmonic bring an intensified drama to the score without becoming weighty...theatricality is everywhere here, in what is one of the best-played Carmen recordings on disc...I'm glad [Kozena's Carmen] is recorded if only because it shows how beautifully the role can be sung while remaining largely convincing...What life and imagination [Kaufmann] brings to every phrase.”
17th August 2012
“There’s much to enjoy. Never an opera specialist, Rattle digs out details that other maestros let slumber. The high-speed energy is infectious; and the microphones keep the orchestral sound lovely...Rattle offers Carmen the gorgeous symphonic experience”
18th August 2012
“this studio recording of Bizet’s opera compels attention for a variety of reasons...[Rattle and Kozena] stress their wish to return to the “chamber feeling” of the French tradition into which the work was born, rather than the “grand opera” tradition in which it is routinely draped.”
18th August 2012
“Kozena and Jonas Kaufmann are perfectly matched in the lead roles, bringing a persuasive emotional chemistry to Carmen and Don Jose’s doomed affair...the support of minor roles and choir is exceptional, particularly the enchanting urchins’ chorus provided by the Kinderchor der Deutschen Staatsoper Berlin.”
24th August 2012
“what is pleasantly surprising is the success of Magdalena Kozená in the title role, which she presents as a convincingly cool and intelligent Carmen of real dignity and complex feelings...the Berlin Philharmonic lets down its hair and plays for Rattle with magnificent abandon. If you are tired of Carmen or think you know the score backwards, here is a performance to make you fall in love with it all over again.”
26th August 2012
“Rattle’s Berliners offer a dynamic Vorsprung durch Technik Carmen...[Kozena] is a subtle, intelligent singer with not-bad French, but she never convincingly suggests she is inside the skin of the part, and sounds ill-matched to Jonas Kaufmann’s unhinged, fearsomely intense José in their final confrontation. The German tenor is the main reason for acquiring this set”
13th September 2012
“[Kožená] is an intelligent Carmen, self-assured and self-determining, though you can't escape the facts that her voice sounds small and that the role, in places, is simply too low. The main reason to listen to the set is Jonas Kaufmann's beautifully sung, wonderfully perceptive José. The glamour in his tone is perfect, and so too are the hints early on of the nervous moodiness that will gradually become pathological”
“[Kozena] brings something compelling and exciting to her portrayal of the amoral gypsy... In many ways [Kaufmann's] dark, sexy tenor evokes the Mediterranean colour that Kožená avoids...Be in no doubt, however, that if there is a star in this recording then it is the man on the podium. Rattle’s reading of the score bristles with vitality and his vision brings the Berlin Philharmonic to life in a way that few other orchestras could manage for this opera, especially on disc”
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