The Met's 1972 production of Carmen was something of a landmark for the operatic world not only as a staging of the original...

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THE CARMEN CHRONICLE: The Making of an Opera

The Met's 1972 production of Carmen was something of a landmark for the operatic world not only as a staging of the original opera-comique dialogue in place of the usual grand-opera spectacular but because the project's originator and guiding impulse, general director Goeran Gantile, died tragically in an automobile accident just prior to the production. Phillips was among the numerous outsiders hovering about as acting general manager Bode Igesz, conductor Leonard Bernstein, designer Josef Svoboda, choreographer Alvin Alley and opera stars Home, McCracken (both originally scheduled for Wagner's Tannhauser instead of Carmen), Krause and Maliponte (who stepped in for Teresa Stratas) tried to do what Gentile would have wanted. He turned on his recorder forty days before the curtain rose on the premiere, and finally shut it off after the cast had recorded the production for Deutsche Grammophon: doubtless he's done some editing, but we still get a lot of trivia like Horne's complaint, ""Lenny, I can't sing a 't' on a B"" and Bernstein's rejoinder ""Well, at least get the 'e'."" Unfortunately words cannot substitute for music, and it's almost impossible to convey the supercharged atmosphere to those who weren't there. Those who care about Carmen will find the record or a ticket to the opera itself to be a better buy.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Stein & Day

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1973