by Georges Bizet
Links to the libretto and to synopses can be found at http://rick.stanford.edu/opera/Bizet/Carmen/main.html
"The purpose of adapting a work of art is to allow for its universal themes to emerge in a context readily identifiable and relevant for audiences. In transporting the action of George Bizet’s opera Carmen from 19th-century Seville to the tumultuous backdrop of the free trade protests in Quebec and post-September 11 Wall Street, Lowell House Opera’s (LHO) new adaptation fails to shed light on the complex, weighty issues of free trade and globalization, while confusing and compromising the dramatic appeal of the opera itself," wrote Michelle Chun in the Harvard Crimson of March 15, 2002.
A popular recording of Carmen stars Maria Callas, Nicolai Gedda, Andréa Guiot, and Robert Massard with the Choeurs René Duclos and the Orchestre du Théâtre de l’Opéra conducted by Georges Prêtre. This is a studio recording, made in Paris July 6-20, 1964, for EMI. The standard version with recitatives by Ernest Guiraud was used. John Ardoin wrote of Callas in this recording: “In her voice, Carmen is a bright, defiant creature; her singing is very French in attitude and in its fastidiousness and wealth of detail.” Available from amazon.com
A rousing recording is the first of Franco Corelli’s two studio recordings of Carmen. With Leontyne Price, Mirella Freni, Robert Merrill, the Vienna Boys Choir, the Vienna State Opera Chorus, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Herbert von Karajan. Corelli’s French pronunciation is less than perfect, but his singing is ardently beautiful and moving. Leontyne Price, who never sang the role on stage, is a thoroughly convincing and seductive Carmen. Mirella Freni’s French pronunciation leaves something to be desired, but she sings beautifully in her duets with Corelli. The orchestra, choruses, and conductor are superb. This recording also uses the standard version with recitatives by Guiraud.
Another studio recording of Carmen conducted
by Herbert von Karajan features
the Paris Opera Chorus and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra with Agnes Baltsa, José Carreras, Katia Ricciarelli, and José von Dam.