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Subject: Inghelbrecht's Carmen - xpost
From: Beckmesserschmitt <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Beckmesserschmitt <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 2 Dec 2008 14:42:18 -0500
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This Carmen from 1942 is available on Malibran, and I bought it last
week in London largely for the conductor, Desire-Emile Inghelbrecht.
Malibran is a strange label - they put out a lot of French stuff that
no one else does, but the sound quality can be charitably described as
variable (as one can also say about some of the pitching).
Ingheelbrech is probably best known for his 1962 Pelleas, which is
always close to the top of most peoples' recommendations - I suppose
for his familiarity with the score, rather than largely the cast - and
I had hoped for something equally enlightening from his Carmen (he
also has a Roi d'Ys out on Malibran which I haven't listened to in
years). He was a protege of Debussy (and the great Manuel Rosenthal
was in turn Inghelbrecht's assistant), and most of his productive
musical life was spent in France, but in the event this Carmen, while
not uninteresting, doesn't seem to me to have much to offer. Far and
away the best is the chorus - this was recorded in Vichy France - and
I thnk that of all the singers, oddly enough the men distinguish
themselves better than the women - Raymond Berthaud, the Jose, has
real metal in his voice and dominates in the last act duet, and the
baritone, Lucien Lovano, has a wonderful and almost Italianate sense
of legato. The Carmen, Germain Cernay, had recorded excerpts years
earlier, and she's authoritative but not unique, and not largely worth
seeking out for this performance, and I'd describe the Micaela,
Ginette Guillamat, as a bit more tart and enjoyable for that, but
again not particularly unique.

Inghelbrecht's Carmen is quite deliberate in tempo - I am tempted to
say almost Germanic, but certainly without any sense of French color
as we would understand it, I think - but while it has little charm,
its sense of deliberateness grows on you after a while.

Overall, a curio, and not likely to get many more replays (and for
those interested, it's apparently part of Mike Richter's Opera From
Paris), but one question for those who may know - the liner notes
refer to a little booklet Inghelbrecht wrote on the performance of
several of the major French Romantic operas. I've been searching the
internet for this, and it hasn't come up. Does anyone have an idea
where I could get this, or in what collection it might appear. French
is fine - doesn't need to be translated. He had, apparently, very
specific thoughts on what was needed for a "Carmen" performance style,
and I'd be curious to see what he wanted (as opposed to what he got in
this performance).

If Malibran (or Mike - hint, hint) would only put out something with
the now lost on lp operettas conducted by Carivan, and including an
Elisir he did in France in the early 1940s, now THAT would be worth
having.

Many thanks.

Beckmesserschmitt

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