Listen to a Sample:
Although hardly French in nature, this performance of Carmen is one of the most dramatic I have ever come across. Brigitte Fassbaender's career was hardly centered around the femme fatale and I must admit at first glance I did not see how she could take the qualities that made her such a great Octavian and apply them to a sultry gypsy. She more than proved me wrong. Although her Carmen may not be the most sexy, it is dramatically taut and at times wild. You really get the sense of her almost reckless resignation to die in the final scene. Her José is James King who shows that despite being a Wagnerterian, (a word I just made up) he could scale back his voice to fit the delicacies of the French style. That said, he matches Fassbaender in intensity in both the Act III finale and the final scene. Helen Donath adds some well-needed sweetness to the proceedings as Micaëla. The sound is very good
Both the Prelude and Opening Chorus are missing from this performance.