Bizet: Carmen

This page lists all recordings of Carmen, by Georges Bizet (1838-75) on CD, SACD, 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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March 2015
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All recordings

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Bizet: Carmen

Bizet: Carmen

Marilyn Horne (Carmen), James McCracken (Don José), Adriana Maliponte (Micaëla), Tom Krause (Escamillo), Colette Boky (Frasquita), Marcia Baldwin (Mercédès), Russell Christopher (Le Dancaïre), Andrea Velis (Le Remendado), Raymond Gibbs (Moralès), Donald Gramm (Zuniga)

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein

Digitally re-mastered on 2 SACDs, this release also features a complete libretto both in French and English.

With delight, PENTATONE re-releases Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen, which remains one of the world’s most frequently performed operas from his repertoire. In one of its reviews in September 1982, the New York Times declared, “a strong vote for Bernstein’s much-debated 1973 recording of Bizet’s ‘Carmen,’ with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the great Marilyn Horne in the title role. Bernstein’s daringly slow tempos, though criticized by some, are revelatory. Ms. Horne’s ‘Habanera’ is all the more seductive for its reined-in pacing and sultry phrasing”. Many claim that it is by far the best recording of Carmen. Leonard Bernstein’s rendition is as sharp as Marilyn Horne and James McCracken’s performances are stunning.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD


Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone - PTC5186216

(SACD - 2 discs)


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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)

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

Towards the end of Callas’s career, there were many rumours that she was planning to perform Carmen on stage. This was never to be, but Carmen became her penultimate complete recording of an opera – and her only complete recording of a French opera. With Georges Prêtre, one of her favoured conductors, and the ever-stylish Nicolai Gedda as her Don José, she captured every facet of the role. As Gramophone said when the set was first released: ‘Hers is a Carmen to haunt you.’

Warner and Erato Specials - up to 40% off

Warner Classics Maria Callas Remastered - 2564634110

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $14.00

Special: $9.80

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)


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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.

“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

“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 ***

“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 ***

“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 *****

“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] 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

EMI - 4402852

(CD - 2 discs)


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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

“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

“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

“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

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

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

DG - 0734799



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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)


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Bizet: Carmen

Bizet: Carmen

Julia Migenes (Carmen), Plácido Domingo (Don José), Faith Esham (Micaëla), Ruggero Raimondi (Escamillo), John Paul Bogart (Zuniga), François Le Roux (Moralès), Lillian Watson (Frasquita), Susan Daniel (Mercédès), Jean-Philippe Lafont (Le Dancaïre), Gérard Garino (Le Remendado), Julien Guiomar (Lillas Pastia) & Accurzio di Leo (Un Guide)

Choeurs et Maîtrise de Radio France & Orchestre National de France, Lorin Maazel

Building a Library

First Choice - March 2015

Erato - The Opera Collection - 2564682961

(CD - 2 discs)


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)


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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)


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Bizet: Carmen

Bizet: Carmen

Anna Caterina Antonacci (Carmen), Jonas Kaufmann (Don Jose), Norah Amsellem (Micaela), Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (Escamillo), Jacques Imbrailo (Morales), Matthew Rose (Zuniga), Elena Xanthoudakis (Frasquita), Viktoria Vizin (Mercedes), Caroline Lena Olsson (Lillas Pastia), Jean Sebastien Bou (Le Dancaire), Jean-Paul Fouchecourt (Le Remendado)

The Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano (conductor) & Francesca Zambello (stage director)

The New Production from The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Filmed in HD

“Two dazzling stars” (Daily Telegraph)

"Physical and sexy" (Evening Standard)

Kaufmann and Antonacci are that rare breed: superb singers who can also act with subtlety and passion (The Guardian)

With Anna Caterina Antonacci and Jonas Kaufmann bringing rare erotic intensity to the drama of Carmen and Don Jose, this new Royal Opera production is a darkly passionate reading of one of the world's favourite operas. Under the baton of Music Director Antonio Pappano, Bizet's irresistible score drives the tragedy forward - powering a landmark staging of a musical masterpiece. Jonas Kaufmann smoulders as Don Jose in this acclaimed production recorded at the Royal Opera House, London in 2007.

“…traditionalists can relax with the Royal Opera's Raymond Gubbay-style, grand-opera Carmen. Antonio Pappano…steers the music with panachet… The production has a star in Jonas Kaufmann's José, a dangerous, lived-in interpretation of the part, sung and acted with a rare ability... Antonacci's Carmen works hard - she's stylish and genuinely sexy... Norah Amsellem's Micaëla is well vocalised and presented but never quite breaks through into a complete character.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2008

“Pappano in the pit takes the whole thing at a tremendous lick while coaxing some lovely playing from the Royal Opera House Orchestra. For all that, this is opera as spectacle with good tunes attached.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2008 ***

Building a Library

DVD/Blu-ray Choice - March 2015

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Decca - 0743312

(DVD Video)


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