Steve, and anyone interressed,
About Carmen recordings :
The 1950 Cluytens recording with Solange Michel, Raoul Jobin, Martha Angelici
and Michel Dens is, IMHO, a set to buy while it is still possible.
Solange Michel has been a very famous Carmen. She sang it 400 times in Paris.
She is a great mezzo wo deserves to be known. She's at home as Carmen like no
Raoul Jobin is supposed to be well known. He was not very young anymore at the
time of this recording, but he delivers a purely styled singing.
Martha Angelici and Michel Dens were two of the best regular singers of the
former Opera Comique in Paris.
This CD set offers a kind of singing that is not to be found in the
Callas/Bumbry/Price, etc. sets. The dialogs are lively, the singing natural, the
French perfect. Solange Michel even has a slight Parisian accent.
I find Cluytens conducting ideal. The only flaw of this recording is the sound
itself, from 1950, not the Decca quality.
It is presently available, maybe not in America. In this case the German Music
Express (telnet : musicexpress.com) sells it (I have no connection with them. I
am even not their consumer). Any British mail order should be able to provide
If you miss it you may regret it during years. Last time it has been
unavailable, it has lasted 15 years. If you don't like it, you will be able to
re-sell it easily.
This is what Bill Fregosi wrote about it :
"Other sets perform CARMEN. Cluytens/Michel/Jobin/Dens/Angelici *IS* CARMEN."
This is what Bob Kosovsky wrote :
"It's an EMI Import: CDMB 65318
(...) I got it a few months ago solely based on what people on the list said
about it. It is indeed a lovely recording, particularly for unity of
intention among the principal singers."
* except maybe Suzanne Juyol on a Decca recording, unavailable for years.