'Carmen', the Universal Favorite, is Your Met Opera Broadcast

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Danielle Talamantes as Frasquita, Clémentine Margaine in the title role, and Shirin Eskandani as Mercédès in 'Carmen'. Danielle Talamantes as Frasquita, Clémentine Margaine in the title role, and Shirin Eskandani as Mercédès in "Carmen". (Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera)

Georges Bizet’s Carmen is one of, if not the most performed opera in the world. If you’ve somehow missed it, then be sure to tune in at 1 PM for this Saturday’s edition of the Met Opera Radio Broadcast.

Over the years, Carmen has been propelled and buoyed by its past success. As discussed in this week’s episode of He Sang, She Sang, conductor Asher Fisch attributes this to the memorable nature of the tunes and the demanding nature for an excellent portrayal of the story’s femme fatale of a protagonist. For years, the role of Carmen has been the yardstick of excellence for rising stars, and any time a new mezzo-soprano rises to the occasion, opera buffs will flock to the theater to hear her interpretation.

Carmen is set in Seville, and even though Spain borders Bizet’s France, the opera revels in its exoticism: Carmen’s sensual and seductive guile, “foreign” sounding musical modes and a climactic bullfight set the tone for a captivating operatic spectacle. But it was these same attributes, combined with the “immoral” and “base” behavior of the main characters, that caused a massive scandal. It was a flop when it premiered in premiered in Paris. Bizet, who never had much success as a composer, was most likely deeply affected by the negative critical reaction. He died exactly three months after the disastrous opening night.

But history told a different story. It quickly was embraced and became an archetypical example of opera as a medium. Bizet was only 36 when he died, and we are left to wonder what other masterpieces he had in mind for the operatic stage.


Conductor: Asher Fisch

Micaëla: Maria Agresta

Carmen: Clémentine Margaine

Don José: Roberto Aronica

Escamillo: Kyle Ketelsen


Comments [5]

Francesca from Manhattan

The conductor is one of the best I've heard in this opera.

Feb. 11 2017 05:50 PM
christoph blumrich from Huntington, Long Island

What a great performance! All voices tops. The conductor could hardly do better. Let me go back to listening and enjoying!

Feb. 11 2017 03:52 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Toreador Song is played when winners are on the podium for Formula 1 races. Car Men, get it.
Vroom Vroom

Feb. 11 2017 02:18 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Very thin voice on our Carmen. De Los Angeles sang the part of Carmen when her voice darkened. Wonder if anyone remembers that?

Feb. 11 2017 02:11 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

This opera is about a slut and a whore who is redeemed by the dignity of tragedy. Stupid Don Jose who should have gotten drunk on wine rather than vinegar.
Actually, I prefer the film Carmen Jones with Pearl Bailey and a Husky Miller rather than Escamillo with his spandex pants.
CBC: Hope you are well.

Feb. 11 2017 12:08 PM

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