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Bizet: Carmen (Karajan, 1982, 1983)

The complete version of the opera in four acts “Carmen” composed by Georges Bizet, a 19th century French composer known for his incidental music for plays and operas.

The libretto was based on the novella of the same title (1845) by Prosper Mérimée. The opera was first performed in 1875.

A masterpiece of French opera characterized by its Spanish, exotic mood and accessible melodies.

A story is about a freewheeling gypsy girl Carmen. Set in Seville, Spain around 1820.

“Prélude (Prelude)” (orchestra) to Act 1, Carmen’s aria in Act 1 “Habanera: L’amour est un oiseau rebelle (Love is a Rebellious Bird)” with using a habanera (Cuban dance) “El Arreglito” composed by a Spanish composer Sebastián Iradier, Carmen’s aria in Act 1 “Seguidilla” with the Castilian (Spanish) folksong and dance form in quick triple time, a bullfighter Escamillo’s aria in Act 2 “Toreador Song”, Corporal of Dragoons Don José’s aria “The Flower Song”, Don José’s fiancée, Micaëla’s aria in Act 3 are widely known.

Herbert von Karajan conducts Berliner Philharmoniker. Karajan’s second recording of “Carmen”. Performed in the original opéra comique form with dialogues. Recorded in 1982 and 1983, and released from Deutsche Grammophon.

Sung by Agnes Baltsa (Carmen/mezzo-soprano), José Carreras (Don José/tenor), José van Dam (Escamillo/bass), Katia Ricciarelli (Micaëla/soprano), Choœur de l’Opéra de Paris, and others.

The runtime is about 2 hours and 50 minutes (a set of 3 CDs).

Georges Bizet "Carmen" Baltsa, Carreras, Van Dam, Ricciarelli; Karajan CD I