Bizet: Carmen

This page lists all recordings of Carmen, by Georges Bizet (1838-75) on CD, DVD, Blu-ray & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

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DVD of the Month
November 2010
Re-issue of the Month
December 2007

All recordings

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Bizet: Carmen

Bizet: Carmen


Vesselina Kasarova (Carmen), Jonas Kaufmann (Don José), Isabel Rey (Micaela), Michele Pertusi (Escamillo)

Chor der Oper Zürich & Philharmonia Zurich, Franz Welser-Möst

In 2008 the Opernhaus Zurich staged this magnificent production starring virtuoso tenor Jonas Kaufmann as Don José and the Bulgarian Vesselina Kasarova as the flirtatious prima-donna of the title role. Mezzo-soprano Kasarova is dazzling as the tough-as-nails, beautifully unsentimental heroine – think classic Sophia Loren meets West Side Story.

Kaufmann, in the guise of a Spanish police officer, brilliantly portrays the blustering but naive Don José as a modern contrast of hard-edged machismo and out-of-his-depths vulnerability.

Director Matthias Hartmann refreshed one of the greatest and most popular operas of all time with touches of a contemporary setting and costume designs that emphasize the timeless archetypes of the characters. This production of Carmen enthralled audiences with the visceral physical quality of the performances, enhanced by a single panoramic set for all four acts that is stripped of the traditional Spanish styling.

Kaufmann superbly presents Don José as awkward, socially inept and doomed for disillusionment. Kasarova’s Carmen commands attention with a soft and sensual exterior that hides her ruthless and sinister heart in plain view.

Menus: English • Picture Format: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen • Colour Mode: Colour • Region Code: 0 (worldwide)

DVD Format: NTSC • Duration: 166 mins • Sound: 1 LPCM Stereo • 2 DTS Digital 5.1 Surround Subtitles: French (sung language), English, German

Released or re-released in last 6 months

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

DG - 0743881

(DVD Video)

Normally: $21.25

Special: $19.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bizet: Carmen

Bizet: Carmen


Vesselina Kasarova (Carmen), Jonas Kaufmann (Don José), Isabel Rey (Micaela), Michele Pertusi (Escamillo)

Chor der Oper Zürich & Philharmonia Zurich, Franz Welser-Möst

In 2008 the Opernhaus Zurich staged this magnificent production starring virtuoso tenor Jonas Kaufmann as Don José and the Bulgarian Vesselina Kasarova as the flirtatious prima-donna of the title role. Mezzo-soprano Kasarova is dazzling as the tough-as-nails, beautifully unsentimental heroine – think classic Sophia Loren meets West Side Story.

Kaufmann, in the guise of a Spanish police officer, brilliantly portrays the blustering but naive Don José as a modern contrast of hard-edged machismo and out-of-his-depths vulnerability.

Director Matthias Hartmann refreshed one of the greatest and most popular operas of all time with touches of a contemporary setting and costume designs that emphasize the timeless archetypes of the characters. This production of Carmen enthralled audiences with the visceral physical quality of the performances, enhanced by a single panoramic set for all four acts that is stripped of the traditional Spanish styling.

Kaufmann superbly presents Don José as awkward, socially inept and doomed for disillusionment. Kasarova’s Carmen commands attention with a soft and sensual exterior that hides her ruthless and sinister heart in plain view.

Menus: English • Picture Format: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen • Colour Mode: Colour • Region Code: 0 (worldwide)

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

DG - 0743882

(Blu-ray)

Normally: $28.00

Special: $24.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bizet: Carmen

Bizet: Carmen

sung in German


Christa Ludwig (Carmen), Melitta Muszely (Micaëla), Ursula Schirrmacher (Frasquita), Ursula Gust (Mercédès), Rudolf Schock (Don José), Hermann Prey (Escamillo), Leopold Clam (Dancairo), Karl-Ernst Mercker (Remendado), Iwan Rebroff (Zuniga) & Georg Völker (Moralès)

Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin & Berliner Symphoniker, Horst Stein

Bizet’s masterpiece sung in German by an all German cast, led by mezzo diva Christa Ludwig as Carmen, Rudolf Schock as the fiery Don José and macho Hermann Prey as Escamillo. A true highlight in the legendary Electrola Collection series of opera sung in German!

“[Ludwig] is absolutely stunning...She is superb, vocally and dramatically in the long second act duet scene with Don José, doom-laden in the card scene in act III and magnificent in the finale...[Muszely] sings with such enticing beauty in the duet with Don José in act I that one totally forgets that it is the ‘wrong’ language.” MusicWeb International, 26th July 2013

EMI Electrola Collection - 9123002

(CD - 2 discs)

$16.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bizet: Carmen

Bizet: Carmen

Oeser edition as used in Vienna (1964) (Vienna timing is 149')


Magdalena Kožená (Carmen), Jonas Kaufmann (Don José), Genia Kühmeier (Micaëla), Kostas Smoriginas (Escamillo), Christian van Horn (Zuniga), Andrè Schuen (Moralès), Christina Landshammer (Frasquita), Rachel Frenkel (Mercédès), Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (Remendado) & Simone del Savio (Dancairo)

Chor der Deutschen Staatsoper Berlin & Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Simon Rattle

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.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“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.” Financial Times, 18th August 2012 ***

“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.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2012

“[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” MusicWeb International, August 2012

“no other recording brings out the crazily mismatched chemistry of the lovers to the same degree: it sounds as if the protagonists from an opera comique and a grand opera have been thrown together by some twist of fate....a refreshing, unhackneyed take on an opera which has been weighed down with clichés over the decades.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 20th 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” Sunday Times, 26th August 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” The Guardian, 13th September 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.” The Independent, 18th 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.” The Telegraph, 24th 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” The Times, 17th August 2012 ***

EMI - 4402852

(CD - 2 discs)

$24.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bizet: Carmen

Bizet: Carmen


Elina Garanča (Carmen), Roberto Alagna (Don José), Teddy Tahu Rhodes (Escamillo), Barbara Frittoli (Micaela), Keith Miller (Zuniga), Elizabeth Caballero (Frasquita), Sandra Piques Eddy (Mercedes), Earle Patriarco (Dancaire), Keith Jameson (Remandado), Trevor Scheunemann (Morales)

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Solo Dancers: Maria Kowroski & Martin Harvey

Production: Richard Eyre

Set & Costume Designer: Rob Howell

Lighting Designer: Peter Mumford

Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon

As well as triumphant successes as Carmen in London, Vienna and Munich, Elīna Garanča, “the Carmen of our day” (News, Austria), took New York’s Metropolitan Opera by storm in this ‘Met Live in HD’ performance, transmitted to cinemas around the world and now available for the first time on BluRay. Starring alongside her is star tenor Roberto Alagna as Don José, Barbara Frittoli as his first love Micaëla and New Zealand baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes as the toreador Escamillo. The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra is conducted by rising star Canadian maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Extra material: Backstage at the Met with host Renée Fleming: Interviews with Elīna Garanča and Roberto Alagna as well as with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Barbara Frittoli, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Christopher Wheeldon.

Format: BD-50

Region: 0 (All regions)

Picture format: 1080i60 HD 16:9

Duration: 150 mins (opera)/ 23 mins (extras)

Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish

Classification: Exempt

“everyone on stage, from stars to comprimarios and children (authentically underfoot), crackles with individual life, ideal on video... Garanča's clean-cut Baltic mezzo and fresh good looks suggest not the stereotypical gypsy wench, but a free spirit, intelligent and wilful” BBC Music Magazine, December 2010 *****

“Here is an opera DVD where, rare in my experience, each individual element matches the excellence of the others: production, cast, performance, film direction and use of the medium....Garanča has a fine sparring partner in Alagna - both roles are as well acted as they are sung...Halvorson's fluent direction conveys a real sense of occasion to the whole evening.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2010

“Not only does Ms Garanča sing with wonderful enunciation, but also with meaning and a wide variety of tonal colour. In her singing and acting she exudes Carmen’s sexuality whilst not over-egging it with hip swinging and flaunting...Along with Elina Garanča, the big plus of the performance is found in Yannick Nézet-Séguin. His idiomatic conducting has verve, vitality and sensitivity.” MusicWeb International, August 2012

“Garanča is right up there with the best. She sings with a seductive and alluring tone, and her technique is superb. The combination of her film star looks and her natural acting draw you into her character completely...Alagna also makes an excellent Don José. I think this is one of his strongest roles and he sings with both real power and refinement.” Chris O'Reilly, Presto Classical, 23rd August 2010

“Elina Garanca's striking Carmen and Barbara Frittoli's Micaela stand out, with Alagna unexpectedly affecting as Don Jose.” The Observer, 19th December 2010

“This is a calculating Carmen, who knows the worth of her assets. Some of her wily intelligence is reflected in the voice — strong in all reaches, flaming at the top...[Tahu Rhodes] prov[es] himself to be an ideal toreador, virile of voice, and very tall. All in all, a Carmen well worth seeing and hearing.” The Times, 28th August 2010

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

DG - 0734799

(Blu-ray)

$28.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bizet: Carmen

Bizet: Carmen

Live Recording from The Wiener Staatsoper, 1978


Elena Obraztsova (Carmen), Plácido Domingo (Don José), Yuri Mazurok (Escamillo), Isobel Buchanan (Micaëla), Cheryl Kanfoush (Frasquita), Axelle Gall (Mercedes), Paul Wolfrum (Le Dancaïre), Heinz Zednik (Le Remendado), Hans Helm (Moralès), Kurt Rydl (Zuniga)

Wiener Staatsoper, Carlos Kleiber (conductor) & Franco Zeffirelli (stage director)

Set Design by FRANCO ZEFFIRELLI

Arthaus presents a sensational filmed document from the musical legacy of Carlos Kleiber: The wonderful staging of Carmen by director Franco Zeffirelli in a live recording from the Vienna State Opera in 1978. The meticulous conductor only ever conducted a highly selected repertoire and among his very few audio and video recordings are only seven complete operas.

The Zeffirelli staging is the only premiere that Kleiber ever conducted. In December 1978, the masterly Franco Zeffirelli created a colourful and atmospheric imagery while the musical genius of Kleiber drew from the music a rhythmic vitality and subtle passion that never lost its transparency and lightness.

Carlos Kleiber conducted an extraordinary cast. Plácido Domingo, still the young lyrical tenor, starred as Don Jose, and Elena Obraztsova gave a wonderful natural Carmen, a far cry from the usual she-devil erotic cliché. The cast was completed by the young Isobel Buchanan who stood in at this production at short notice and included Yuri Mazurok who was later to become a high ranking Verdi baritone. The Viennese audience in the opera house hailed the performance as a triumph. “The applause”, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, “threatened to last as long as a full-length opera”, and the legend of Carlos Kleiber’s Vienna Carmen was born.

Nearly 35 years has passed since then, and the Vienna State Opera has seen many a performance of the Zeffirelli production of Carmen, with singers who were certainly no less eminent than the first cast – but none of them have achieved the cult status the first night enjoys in the memories of opera- lovers. The reason for it surely lies in the conductor Carlos Kleiber, who directed that première and stamped it with his own personality.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 4:3

DVD Format: DVD 9, NTSC

Subtitle Languages: FR (Original Version), GB, DE, ES, IT

Running Time: 154 mins

FSK: 0

“Star turns from Obraztsova's grand-scale gypsy, Domingo's corporal, Mazurok's bullfighter and Buchanan's fresh-faced village-girl. Kleiber's conducting is outstanding.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2012 ****

“Apart from its authentic Spanish settings and star performances this production owes much to the exacting standards set by Carlos Kleiber... Zeffirelli’s staging is complex and a joy to behold.” MusicWeb International, July 2012

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Arthaus Musik - 107263

(DVD Video)

$35.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bizet: Carmen

Bizet: Carmen


Risë Stevens (Carmen), Richard Tucker (Don José), Nadine Conner (Micaëla), Paolo Silveri (Escamillo), Lucine Amara (Frasquita), Margaret Roggero (Mercédès), George Cehanovsky (Le Dancaïre), Alessio De Paolis (Le Remendado), Clifford Harvuot (Moralès), Osie Hawkins (Zuniga)

The Metropolitan Opera & Chorus, Fritz Reiner

Recorded live on 16th February 1952

For a generation of opera-goers, Risë Stevens was the definitive Carmen; the mezzo-soprano appeared at the Met 124 times in the role. "Deft and assured" according to The New York Times, her beguiling, smoky voice enticed listeners into Carmen’s sensual world, where gypsies smuggled contraband, then danced with soldiers and flirted with matadors. Star tenor Richard Tucker gives an emotionally and musically thrilling performance as Don José, the man Carmen ruins. Nadine Conner sings Micaëla and Paolo Silveri is Escamillo in this broadcast, which captures the excitement of the then-new production by the great theatrical director Tyrone Guthrie. The Met Opera Orchestra and Chorus are conducted with electric tension under the baton of the legendary Hungarian conductor Fritz Reiner.

Sony Met Matinées - 88697961892

(CD - 2 discs)

$14.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bizet: Carmen

Bizet: Carmen


Elina Garanča (Carmen), Roberto Alagna (Don José), Teddy Tahu Rhodes (Escamillo), Barbara Frittoli (Micaela), Keith Miller (Zuniga), Elizabeth Caballero (Frasquita), Sandra Piques Eddy (Mercedes), Earle Patriarco (Dancaire), Keith Jameson (Remandado), Trevor Scheunemann (Morales)

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Solo Dancers: Maria Kowroski & Martin Harvey

Production: Richard Eyre

Set & Costume Designer: Rob Howell

Lighting Designer: Peter Mumford

Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon

After her triumphant success as Carmen in Riga, London, and Munich, Elîna Garanča, “the Carmen of our day” (News, Austria), took the Met by storm when filmed live in January 2010.

Every generation has its “go to” Carmen. In 2010, the list of definitive gypsy seductresses – glittering with names like Baltsa, Bumbry, Calvé, Farrar, and Stevens – is enriched by the addition of Elîna Garanča.

The Wiener Zeitung said it all when it observed of Garanča’s Carmen that “the role and the singer are perfectly matched”.

This production was also seen at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2009 with Garanča and Alagna in the lead roles.

2 DVD Set in 5.1 DTS surround sound.

Subtitles: French (orig. lang.), German, English, Spanish, Chinese

“...everyone on stage, from stars to comprimarios and children (authentically underfoot), crackles with individual life, ideal on video... Garanča's clean-cut Baltic mezzo and fresh good looks suggest not the stereotypical gypsy wench, but a free spirit, intelligent and wilful” BBC Music Magazine, December 2010 *****

“Here is an opera DVD where, rare in my experience, each individual element matches the excellence of the others: production, cast, performance, film direction and use of the medium....Garanča has a fine sparring partner in Alagna - both roles are as well acted as they are sung...Halvorson's fluent direction conveys a real sense of occasion to the whole evening.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2010

“Not only does Ms Garanča sing with wonderful enunciation, but also with meaning and a wide variety of tonal colour. In her singing and acting she exudes Carmen’s sexuality whilst not over-egging it with hip swinging and flaunting...Along with Elina Garanča, the big plus of the performance is found in Yannick Nézet-Séguin. His idiomatic conducting has verve, vitality and sensitivity.” MusicWeb International, August 2010

“Garanča is right up there with the best. She sings with a seductive and alluring tone, and her technique is superb. The combination of her film star looks and her natural acting draw you into her character completely...Alagna also makes an excellent Don José. I think this is one of his strongest roles and he sings with both real power and refinement.” Chris O'Reilly, Presto Classical, 23rd August 2010

“Elina Garanca's striking Carmen and Barbara Frittoli's Micaela stand out, with Alagna unexpectedly affecting as Don Jose.” The Observer, 19th December 2010

“This is a calculating Carmen, who knows the worth of her assets. Some of her wily intelligence is reflected in the voice — strong in all reaches, flaming at the top...[Tahu Rhodes] prov[es] himself to be an ideal toreador, virile of voice, and very tall. All in all, a Carmen well worth seeing and hearing.” The Times, 28th August 2010

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - November 2010

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

DG - 0734581

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$35.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bizet: Carmen

Bizet: Carmen


Maria Callas (Carmen), Nicolai Gedda (Don José), Andréa Guiot (Micaëla), Robert Massard (Escamillo), Nadine Sautereau (Frasquita), Jane Berbié (Mercédès), Jean-Paul Vauquelin (Le Dancaïre), Jacques Pruvost (Le Remendado), Claude Cales (Moralès), Jacques Mars (Zuniga)

Chœurs René Duclos, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l’Opéra de Paris & Chœurs d’enfants Jean Pesneaud, Georges Prêtre

The brand new series celebrates EMI - The Home of Opera with Pretre's legendary recording of Carmen with Maria Callas and Nicolai Gedda. Includes complete libretto and synopsis on a bonus CD ROM.

EMI - The Opera Series - 9667172

(CD - 2 discs)

$21.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bizet: Carmen

Bizet: Carmen


Anna Moffo (Carmen), Franco Corelli (Don José), Piero Cappuccilli (Escamillo), Helen Donath (Micaëla), Arleen Augér (Frasquita), Jane Berbié (Mercédès ), Jean-Christophe Benoit (Le Dancaïre), Karl-Ernst Mercker (Le Remendado), Barry McDaniel (Moralès), José Van Dam (Zuniga)

Schoneberger Sängerknaben & Orchester Der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Lorin Maazel

Bizet’s tale of passion and jealousy which ends so tragically ranks as possibly the greatest of all French operas, so it’s all the more remarkable that Carmen was not a resounding success from the outset — largely due to the low-life theme and violent conclusion. The poor reaction to the opera was soon overturned and today it has worldwide appeal for audiences and performers alike — from the opening, rousing bars of the prelude to the inevitable tragic ending of the opera.

Release includes a booklet with a three language synopsis [English / French / German], full cast list and detailed track list.

Recorded in 1970

RCA - The Sony Opera House - 88697446202

(CD - 2 discs)

$14.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

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