Bill Fregosi applauds the complete Stevens CARMEN on
RCA under Fritz Reiner's direction. There's also a
hilites recording from a few yrs previously, available
on cassette, in which Paris-based Hungarian maestro
Georges Sebastian directs Stevens & cohorts Raoul
Jobin, Robert Weede, & Nadine Conner.
In comparison to her studio recording, Stevens is
friskier here, in lither voice. The lively spirit
created by Sebastian - slightly faster, brighter tempi
than Reiner, perhaps due to recording timing
exigencies - brings more of the zest of her stage
performances into the studio. Jobin, who also left a
complete account of his r?le, sings a fervent Don
Jos?, though lacking in dynamic niceties [I crave to
hear the pianissimi in the flower song, among other
Met stalwarts Weede & Conner are @ their best: he
full-toned & swaggering in an excellent toreador song,
she bright & sweet-sounding in her aria. Sebastian
leads the Met chorus & orchestra w/ a decided flair.
I agree w/ Bill: I don't like the kicking & screaming
that was part & parcel of Ris?'s death as Carmen - it
damages the character's dignity. But she's still one
helluva Carmen, as Reiner told her, & we are given a
fuller view of that quality by remembering these
Anyone else have comments on them?
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