Bizet's Carmen

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Saturday, September 08, 2012

Bizet's Carmen is among the most frequently staged operas in the standard repertoire and it's easy to understand why. The work packs in memorable tunes as well as knife fights, bullfights, and even girl fights.

This week's broadcast, recorded last fall at the San Francisco Opera, features mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili as the gypsy temptress. Tenor Thiago Arancam is Don José, the soldier whose obsessive love for Carmen ultimately undoes them both. Niccola Luisotti conducts.

Carmen   Anita Rachvelishvili
Don José   Thiago Arancam
Micaëla   Sara Gartland
Escamillo   Paulo Szot
Frasquita   Susannah Biller
Mercédès   Cybele Gouverneur
Le Dancaïre   Timothy Mix
Le Remendado  Daniel Montenegro
Moralès   Trevor Scheunemann
Zuniga    Wayne Tigges
Lillas Pastia   Yusef Lambert


CONDUCTOR:  Niccola Luisotti
STAGE DIRECTOR:  Jose Maria Condemi

Comments [3]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

CARMEN is one opera that many have seen in performance or heard on radio, records or TV. This performance while sung well enough could not compare to "standard" performances at the Met Opera or most major opera companies. Being an opera singer myself and having heard operas in many cities throughout the world, I do remember performances of this very same San Francisco Opera of Carmen much superior. However, it is wrong to imply that given the singers available one can always match or be superior than previous productions. Kudos to all concerned for doing their best and learn to do still better. HAPPY HANNUKAH, MERRY XMAS AND HAPPY NERW YEAR !!! HANDEL'S ORATORIOS ARE THE MOST REVERED OF HIS COMPOSITIONS. ONE THAT IS NOT AS OFTEN PERFORMED AS IT DESERVES TO BE IS HIS "JUDAS MACCABAEUS." ITS "SOUND AN ALARM"' IS STIRRING. IT'S MY CLOSING SELECTION ON MY SOLO DEBUT IN THE ISAAC STERN AUDITORIUM OF CARNEGIE HALL CONCERT "{LIVE" ON MY VALHALLA RECORDS CD AND MAY BE DOWNLOADED FROM MY THREE WEBSITES. My cousin MICHAEL BLANKFORT wrote both the books and screenplays for the 1953 film THE JUGGLER Hollywood film made in Israel starring KIRK DOUGLAS and the 1950 Hollywood film BROKEN ARROW starring JAMES STEWART and JEFF CHANDLER [Cochise]. The music for THE JUGGLER was composed by opera composer GEORGE ANTHEIL, in whose opera VOLPONE I sang the tenor leading role [Mosca] in its professional world premiere in NEW YORK in 1953. ANTHEIL, famous for his opera TRANSATLANTIC and BALLET MECHANIQUE looked exactly like Peter Lorre. I am a romantischer heldentenor. I have sung four solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. As part of my Ten Language Solo Debut concert at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, I opened my three hour concert with the Invocazione di Orfeo from Jacopo Peri's opera EURIDICE composed in 1600, the first opera, composed in the same year as Shakespeare wrote HAMLET. It can be heard from the live performance on my three websites,, ,, and It received rave critical notices in newspapers and magazines. My voice teachers were the legendary MET OPERA singers Alexander Kipnis, Friedrich Schorr, Martial Singher, John Brownlee, Karin Branzell and Margarete Matzenauer. In another commentary on one commented about all operas that were once NEW but now not new and therefore should be relegated to museum status. As an opera composer myself ["Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare"] I fully comprehend the assumed urgency of recognition of the still living. However, it's important to revere and enjoy the MASTERPIECES of art, music, literature, architecture and science in its multiple formats . I am the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute in Boonton, NJ where I train actors in all the Shakespeare roles and big-voiced singers in all the Wagner opera roles.

Dec. 09 2012 10:19 AM
Tony from NYC

When will "world class" singers learn to sing in French? This performance was most regrettable in that regard.

Sep. 08 2012 04:06 PM
Vegan Vicki from Vinegar Hill, Harlem

No doubt, Shirley Verrett was the most exciting Carmen I ever saw. Without any male dancer's lift, she leapt to Lillas Pastia's table to do a throbbing flamenco while driving "Les tringles des sistres tintaient" to a frenetic climax to begin Act II. That role was her Met debut, 1968, and she became an instant fave. I don't believe I saw her debut, but I did catch her Carmen later that year.

Sep. 08 2012 12:58 PM

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