[Met Performance] CID:243510
Carmen {734} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/2/1975.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 2, 1975


CARMEN {734}

Carmen..................Régine Crespin
Don José................Plácido Domingo
Micaela.................Katia Ricciarelli
Escamillo...............José Van Dam
Frasquita...............Alma Jean Smith
Mercédès................Marcia Baldwin
Remendado...............Andrea Velis
Dancaïre................Russell Christopher
Zuniga..................Richard Best
Moralès.................Gene Boucher
Lillas Pastia...........Paul Franke

Conductor...............Henry Lewis

Review of Scott Porter in Encore AM & Worldwide News

A 'Carmen' Well Spoken and Well Sung

Georges Bizet's "Carmen" has once again brilliantly come to life at the Metropolitan Opera. The latest revival stars Regine Crespin and Placido Domingo as the ill-fated lovers.

Crespin plays Carmen as an earthy, yet sophisticated, woman. No hip-swinging kid is this Carmen, but a mature adult, aware of her powers and willing to accept the consequences of her free spirit and independent nature. Crespin is not free with her movements but each one carries tremendous impact. This production at the Metropolitan uses the spoken dialogue dating back to the original Opera Comique version of 1875 and, as a native of France, Crespin is totally in command. She not only gives a Carmen that is sensational vocally and dramatically, but also offers the best stage French heard in years.

Crespin returns to the lyric stage - after a brief vocal crisis - in command of her generous instrument. She sings everything, from the Act I "Habanera" to the fatal confrontation with Don José in the last act with excitement and authority.

Placido Domingo is also in fine form. His Don José is world-famous and he more than lives up to his reputation of being one of the greatest tenors in international opera.

The beautiful Katia Ricciarelli in the all-too-short role of MicaeIa, the other woman in Don José's life, won the longest ovation of the evening for her perfect singing of "Je dis que rien ne m'epouvante." She is, as always. amazing. Jose Van Dam, the baritone from Brussels, makes his debut this season with the Met as a marvelous
Escamillo. This Escamillo is no cardboard figure that just sells his way through the famous "Toreador Song" and struts about, but rather is a man of great pride in his achievements and greater confidence still in himself as a man. Van Dam sings with tremendous life and energy.

The smaller roles are adequately filled, while Bodo Igesz' staging and Josef Svoboda's sets and lighting are as gripping now as they were that night in 1972 when the curtain rose for the first time on this production. Sadly, the conducting is less direct. Henry Lewis has little understanding of this familiar, yet complex score, and his conducting is irregular.



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