Dec 10, 2020Liked by Opera Daily

I welcomed Bizet's "Habanera" today. I now know this is the entrance aria of the title character in Act 1, Scene 5. Not only is the music wonderful, but you've given me permission to sample some of the many interpretations.

I ran the gauntlet of the divas you mentioned, and added a couple of my own choosing.

Here are my snap judgments on what I heard, after listening twice to each, and a third time to Maria Callas. Her interpretation was seductive, her French diction impeccable, her voice magnificent. What else can I do but praise her?

Victoria de Los Angeles, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR9AWv5TMDg

I found her voice sweet, alluring and fortunately, not overwhelmed by the chorus or orchestra

Leontyne Price, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60xFeualnp8

She has a lovely voice, is technically excellent, but I found her delivery somewhat leaden.

Elīna Garanča, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHjnVz7Ayyw&feature=youtu.be

I felt her lighter, prettier soprano captured the spirit of the wild, free-spirited gypsy Carmen.

Grace Bumbry, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByFMbyQJhgs

She sounded, to me, a tad overwrought and her rendition a bit too grand for the character. 

Denyce Graves, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V9woZuVIO4J

Her mezzo soprano voice has grown richer, fuller and more beautiful with time and experience.

Curiosity about Madeleine Mathieu led me to the source of the image in "Forgotten opera singers" http://forgottenoperasingers.blogspot.com/2014/02/madeleine-mathieu-soprano.html

I enjoyed the "Sesame Street" whimsy. It brought an old Bugs Bunny cartoon spoof to mind:


I will return to "Rinaldo" soon because Handel is always a good choice for the holiday season. Happy Hanukkah, everyone!

P.S. So much great opera throughout these past months has made 2020 bearable. I look forward to seeing what else you have up your sleeve. 🎶🎵

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CARMEN is brilliant musically but the libretto, not so much. We sang CARMEN in a vapid English translation in high school. The Met version by Leonard Bernstein w Marilyn Horne was rough and ready. Callas brilliant but Bizet died before it premiered. De Los Angelas very late in her career sang CARMEN at City Opera that got scathing reviews. CARMEN still thrives,

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Dec 10, 2020Liked by Opera Daily

Thank you Michele. Carmen is one of my favourites.

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