Listen to a Sample:
The key word in this Carmen is Speed. Pierre Dervaux conducts this opera as if he were attempting to break a Guiness World Record, or perhaps as if he was in fear of missing the last train out of Palermo. Nearly the entire opera could be called “rushed”, which makes the moments where Dervaux does take time and deliver some plaintive lines all the more comfortable: the Flower song nearly stops time, and Franco Corelli sings it beautifully. A young Mirella Freni brings some welcome calm in her gorgeously-spun aria. Giulietta Simionato has some audible battles with the maestro (he usually wins) but she’s certainly seductive and sings the final scene with Verdian intensity. The audience seems to be of mixed opinion about Corelli, though I find him to be in excellent form throughout. Giangiacomo Guelfi is a woofy, unattractive Escamillo and the audience does not hesitate in announcing their displeasure, but the rest of the cast comes off extremely well. The sound is very good.