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Bizet: Carmen / Magdalena Kozena, Jonas Kaufmann, Genia Kuhmeier, Kostas Smoriginas

Album Summary

>Bizet, Georges : Carmen, opera
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

EMI Classics' 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. Sir Simon Rattle, who recently appeared at the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony in London conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, directs the Berliner Philharmoniker in this incredible interpretation of the Osier edition, as used in Vienna in 1964, of this timeless opera. This fascinating performance features a stellar cast of soloists, including Magdalena Kozená in the title role and Jonas Kaufmann as Don José.

Bizet's Carmen tells the story of the mesmeric but ultimately fatal attraction of the gypsy girl Carmen, and the tragedy of Don José, who falls in love, but is ultimately rejected. Unable to live in a world without her, Don José kills Carmen, to the accompaniment of the triumphs of her new lover, the bullfighter, Escamillo. Carmen is packed with some of the most familiar and striking melodies ever written, including Carmen's Habanera, Séguedille, 'Chanson bohème', Don José's poignant 'Flower Song' and Escamillo's swaggering 'Toreador Song.'

With more than 32 years - and 250 works - Sir Simon Rattle is an exclusive EMI artist and many of his recordings, principally with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Wiener Philharmoniker, have been ground-breaking and award-winning. Rattle has received three Grammy Awards in the United States, three Classical Brit and Gramophone Awards in the UK and two Echo Klassik Awards in Germany to date.

Sunday Times, 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 JosT in their final confrontation. The German tenor is the main reason for acquiring this set.

The Guardian, September 2012
[KoPenß] 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 JosT. The glamour in his tone is perfect, and so too are the hints early on of the nervous moodiness that will gradually become pathological.

MusicWeb International, August 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 KoPenß 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.

Gramophone Magazine, September 2012
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.

The Guardian, 13th September 2012
[Koená] 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.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Philharmonie, Berlin (04/16/2012-04/21/2012).



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Works Details

>Bizet, Georges : Carmen, opera
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic
  • Notes: Philharmonie, Berlin (04/16/2012-04/21/2012)
  • Running Time: 70 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1873-1874