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BIZET - CARMEN - ELIE COHEN COLUMBIA SET 78 RPM

€400.00

Complete  Opera  1928 / 29

BIZET  - CARMEN

ELIE  COHEN  Conducting

  • Carmen: Raymonde Visconti (mezzo-soprano)
  • Don José: Georges Thill (tenor)
  • Micaëla: Marthe Nespoulpous (soprano)
  • Escamillo: Louis Guénot (baritone)
  • Frasquita: Andreé Vavon (soprano)
  • Mercédès: Andreé Bernadet (soprano)
  • Dancaïro: Robert Roussel (tenor)
  • Remendado: Téo Mathyl (tenor)

 PLEASE  READ

DISCS  ARE  IN  Excellent to Mint Minus  CONDITION BUT  MAY  NEED  TO  BE  CLEANED  BEFORE  PLAYING ,

COVER  HAS  SOME  WEAR  BUT  ALL INNNER  WALLETS  ARE  IN  STUNNING  CONDITION 

 THIS  IS  A  VERY  HEAVY  SET AND  HAS  TO  BE  CAREFULLY  PACKED  FOR  SHIPPING

  PLEASE  ASK  FOR  SHIPPING  QUOTE 

  THIS  SET  MUST  BE  INSURED  FOR  SHIPPING    

This pioneering Columbia recording of 1927, the first in electric rather than acoustic sound, offers us a welcome opportunity to experience the work as it was performed by an all-French company, and what a benefit that is! These artists know by nature than the text is as important as the music: all the principals play with the words in a way quite lost in an age of international casts, singers who have seldom if ever worked as an ensemble.

Cohen was Columbia’s regular conductor of French opera at the time, and as in other works, completely enters into the spirit of the work in hand (oddly, the Flower Song was recorded separately and conducted by Philippe Gaubert). It may well be that the set was built around the great French tenor, Georges Thill, who sings the role in a way it has seldom been sung since. Words and music are perfectly wedded in his delivery. His voice is a strong lyric tenor bordering on the heroic. He is as adept at singing sweetly, as in the duet with Micaéla, and then truly forceful but never forced in the finales to Acts 3 and 4. The Flower Song is sung with weight and feeling, but it is a pity Thill sings the final B flat forte, rather than piano as Bizet wanted.

Visconte at first seems a rather matter-of-fact Carmen: the first-act solos are not sufficiently characterised. But then this slightly casual reading seems deliberate: the Card Scene is sung accurately and with a real sense of foreboding and in the grand finale she defies José with magnificent courage and insouciance. Nespoulos was a popular soprano in Paris and elsewhere at the time: her Micaëla is sung in that clear, clean light, secure tone then favoured in this and so many soprano roles. Guénot is a personable and vivid Escamillo. The smaller parts are well taken, Zuniga and Morales apparently by members of the company.

What we hear is a potted Carmen; all the essentials are there except the Act I finale, and no dialogue or recitative. The excellent transfers added to my pleasure in a set I had never encountered before. I recommend it as a second version in any reputable collection of French opera.

CLASSICALNET:


This classic recording deserves a return to the catalogue with a host of great French singers and the inimitable Elie Cohen at the helm; it truly takes its place amongst the great "Carmen's" of all time.

Although the set is definitely not complete as it clocks in at just over 110 minutes, it is hard to find a better version. The aura of Francophile experience permeates every single note and with singers such as the great Georges Thill and Raymonde Visconti, you cannot really go wrong.


First was Carmen (Bizet) with Raymonde Visconti as Carmen, Marthe Nespoulous as Micaela and Georges Thill as Don José, recorded between 13 February and 9 June 1928, matrices LX 177-5, 178-79, 196, 197-5, 229-32, 235-37, 243, 244-4, 245, 248-53, 254-4, 255, 276-78, 286-87, 289-5. There are two curiosities in this set. Thill made the Flower Song, conducted by Philippe Gaubert, on 11 February 1927, matrix LX 46, a full year before the complete set was begun. Nespoulous remade Micaela’s air on 1 December 1928 as LX 648-1, but it is not clear whether this was inserted in the set to replace LX 231-3. The set was issued as D 14222-36; UK, 9527-41; US, 67544-58D in set OP 1.


  • Model: 78 12 INCH SET
  • Manufactured by: UK

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