Carmen (Bizet), Vienna Opera, 1978 (complete)

One of the best versions of Georges Bizet’s famous opera Carmen, by Vienna Opera, 1978. Carmen, the gypsy girl is played by the Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Obraztsova and Don José, Corporal of Dragoons is played by the Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo. Conductor: Carlos Kleiber. Directed by: Franco Zeffirelli.

Carmen is was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, on 3 March 1875. The libretto was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. At first, it was not particularly successful. Unfortunately the French composer Georges Bizet died just three months later, on 3 June 1875, and couldn’t see the opera’s later celebrity.

Carmen initially gained its reputation through a series of productions outside France, and was not revived in Paris until 1883; thereafter it rapidly acquired celebrity at home and abroad, and continues to be one of the most frequently performed operas; the “Habanera” from act 1 and the “Toreador Song” from act 2 are among the best known of all operatic arias.

Georges Bizet
Georges Bizet; 25 October 1838 – 3 June 1875

Carmen (Elena Obraztsova)

Elena Obraztsova
Elena Vasiliyevna Obraztsova

Elena Vasiliyevna Obraztsova (born 7 July 1939 in Leningrad, currently St. Petersburg, Soviet Union – 12 January 2015) was a Russian mezzo-soprano, widely recognized as one of the greatest opera singers of all time, thanks to her outstanding stage presence and the vocal abilities.

She played many roles throughout her career, including performances under the baton of such leading conductors as Claudio Abbado and Herbert von Karajan. In December 1977 she opened the 200th opera season in La Scala singing Don Carlos’s Eboli with Abbado as conductor.

Obraztsova died on 12 January 2015 in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany, while undergoing medical treatment. She was 75 years old.

Don José (Plácido Domingo)

Plácido Domingo
Plácido Domingo

José Plácido Domingo Embil (born 21 January 1941), known as Plácido Domingo, is a Spanish tenor, one of The Three Tenors; and conductor known for his versatile and strong voice, possessing a ringing and dramatic tone throughout its range.

He has recorded over a hundred complete operas and is well known for his versatility, regularly performing in Italian, French, German, Spanish, English and Russian in the most prestigious opera houses in the world. Although primarily a lirico-spinto tenor for most of his career, especially popular for his Cavaradossi, Hoffmann, Don José, and Canio, he quickly moved into more dramatic roles, becoming the most acclaimed Otello of his generation. In the early 2010s, he transitioned from the tenor repertory into almost exclusively baritone parts, most notably Simon Boccanegra. He has performed 147 different roles.

Domingo has also achieved significant success as a crossover artist, especially in the genres of Latin and popular music. In addition to winning fourteen Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards, several of his records have gone silver, gold, platinum and multi-platinum. His first pop album, Perhaps Love (1981), spread his fame beyond the opera world. The title song, performed as a duet with country and folk singer John Denver, has sold almost four million copies and helped lead to numerous television appearances for the tenor. He also starred in many cinematically released and televised opera movies, particularly under the direction of Franco Zeffirelli. In 1990, he began singing with fellow tenors Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras as part of The Three Tenors. The first Three Tenors recording became the best-selling classical album of all time.

Conductor: Carlos Kleiber

Carlos Kleiber
Carlos Kleiber

Carlos Kleiber (3 July 1930 – 13 July 2004) was a German-born Austrian conductor who is widely regarded as being among the greatest conductors of the 20th century.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli

Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli

Franco Zeffirelli (born 12 February 1923) is an Italian director and producer of films and television. He is also a director and designer of operas and a former senator (1994–2001) for the Italian centre-right Forza Italia party.

He is principally known for his 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, although his 1967 version of The Taming of the Shrew (with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton) remains the best-known film adaptation of that play as well. His miniseries Jesus of Nazareth won acclaim and is still shown on Easter weekend in many countries.

He received an honorary knighthood from the British government in 2004 when he was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

He was awarded the Premio Colosseo in 2009 by the city of Rome.


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