Bizet: Carmen (3-CD + Bonus CD) – Elisabeth Höngen, Torsten Ralf

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Item: 881488160765


Bizet: Carmen (3-CD + Bonus CD) – Elisabeth Höngen, Torsten Ralf

Composer: Georges Bizet
Artists: Elisabeth Höngen, Torsten Ralf, Josef Herrmann, Kurt Böhme, Elfriede Weidlich, Karl Wessely, Heinrich Tessmer, Elfride Trötschel, Helena Rott, Robert Büssel, Jan Rittel, Staatskapelle Dresden, Sachsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden
Conductor: Karl Böhm
Number of Discs: 4
Label: Profil – G Haenssler
CD Release Date: May 18, 2021

The present release is a 1942 live recording from the opera house of the State Theatre of Saxony, the Semperoper, destroyed by bombing three years later and finally reopened in 1985. The opera chorus and orchestra are to be heard performing alongside an outstanding ensemble of soloists under the musical direction of Karl Böhm, then principal conductor in Dresden as successor to Fritz Busch.

Sung in German to a text by Julius Hopp, the new production – advertised as being in its 500th performance in mid-June 1942 – was created by Heinz Arnold, then Oberspielleiter (chief production supervisor) and post-war opera director to the Dresden State Opera. The performance is an irresistible delight.

Bonus CD includes arias and duets recorded between 1905 and 1949.

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Georges Bizet’s Carmen, which takes place in and around Seville, Spain tells of the downfall of a soldier, Don José, seduced by the wiles of the fiery gypsy, Carmen. José abandons his sweetheart and his military duties for Carmen, yet loses her love to the glamorous matador Escamillo, after which José kills her in a jealous rage.

Among the best-known of all operatic arias are Carmen’s “Habanera” from Act 1, sung by the title character and the toreador’s song, “Votre toast” in Act 2, performed by the matador Escamillo.  

On January 9, 1884, Carmen was given its first Metropolitan Opera performance. Thereafter it was quickly incorporated into the Met's regular repertory. By the beginning of its 2018/2019 season the Met had performed Carmen well-over a thousand times.

Though the March 3rd,1875 world premiere at the Opéra Comique in Paris was a scandal, Carmen, soon became a triumphal success and has remained one of the most frequently staged operas in the world. Three months after its 33rd performance, Bizet died suddenly at the age of 37 never knowing how immensely popular Carmen would become.





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