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Carmen - Georges Bizet

Information about the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet, and the best recordings available on CD or DVD, or for download.

A thrilling opera, skillfully orchestrated incorporating dances and gipsy songs. Based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée.


The opera is about a soldier's jealousy when his gipsy girlfriend becomes impressed by a heroic bullfighter.

Recommended recordings on CD

Karajan/Simionato/Gedda (Andante AN3100)


A legendary concert performance of Carmen performed in Vienna in 1954.

Vienna Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Herbert von Karajan, 1954.

Cast: Giulietta Simionato (Carmen), Nicolai Gedda (Don José), Hilde Güden (Micaëla), Michel Roux (Escamillo).

Andante AN3100 (mono)

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Abbado/Berganza/Domingo (Deutsche Grammophon 427 885-2)

427 885-2

A first-rate recording with an excellent cast.

Ambrosian Singers, London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Claudio Abbado, 1977.

Cast: Teresa Berganza (Carmen), Plácido Domingo (Don José), Ileana Cotrubas (Micaëla), Sherrill Milnes (Escamillo).

Deutsche Grammophon 427 885-2

Recommended recordings on DVD

(073 4581GH2)

073 4581GH2

A passionate production with a near-perfect cast, superbly filmed for DVD. Unmissable.

073 4581GH2

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Jordan/Otter/Haddock (OA 0867 D)

OA 0867 D

A new production from Glyndebourne by David McVicar.

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Glyndebourne Festival Chorus, conducted by Philippe Jordan.

Cast: Anne Sofie von Otter (Carmen), Marcus Haddock (Don José), Laurent Naouri (Micaëla), Lisa Milne (Escamillo).

OA 0867 D

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Kleiber/Obraztsova/Domingo (TDK DV-CLOPCAR)


Live from the Vienna State Opera in 1978, this historic recording features a legendary collaboration between Franko Zeffirelli's production, Carlos Kleiber's conducting, and Plácido Domingo's singing. It's a pity that the video and audio quality fall short.

Vienna State Opera Chorus, Vienna State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Carlos Kleiber.

Cast: Elena Obraztsova (Carmen), Plácido Domingo (Don José), Isobel Buchanan (Micaëla), Yuri Mazurok (Escamillo).


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Also included in the boxed set:
Magic Moments of Opera