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The thrillingly atmospheric soundtrack to a film of Carmen – directed by Francesco Rosi and released in 1984 – this recording unites Plácido Domingo, in one of his greatest roles as Don José, with Julia Migenes Johnson, a spirited, volatile Carmen of striking theatrical immediacy. Lorin Maazel demonstrates his mastery of French style in a performance that does full justice to Bizet’s amalgam of wit, elegance, romance and high drama.
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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