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#1567 - 02/09/10 08:40 PM Re: Opera 2
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
She recorded Carmen and sang arias in concert, but I don't think she ever performed in an onstage production. The dancing was the reason; she didn't want to display her thick ankles. Bizet added some higher bits to the published score so sopranos could sing the role. Consequently there have been quite a few soprano Carmens -- Geraldine Farrar, Emmy Destinn, Rosa Ponselle (who flopped), Victoria de los Angeles, etc. Soprano Angela Gheorghiu, for whom the current production was designed, has cancelled her two scheduled performances (and cancelled her marriage to Roberto Alagna as well). Gheorghiu said she needed more time to prepare, but I'll bet she just didn't want to follow Garanca in the role. She'll be replaced by Kate Aldrich, a mezzo.

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#1568 - 02/12/10 12:55 PM Re: Opera 2
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
Barbara is quite right (of course) about soprano Carmens; they were almost the rule in the early 20th century, when the role was considered the soprano's by divine right, and Farrar, Calvé, et al were the ones audiences wanted to see in the part. As far as I know, though, the soprano alternatives in the score aren't by Bizet; he died soon after the unsuccessful world premiere, didn't he? and didn't have time to touch it up for future productions.

The sopranos who have recorded the role but never sung it onstage include Leontyne Price, Callas, Victoria de los Angeles (a borderline case, as she did undertake the role briefly a number of years later, in Newark NJ and at NYCO, and not successfully), Jessye Norman, Julia Migenes (for the film in which she appeared), and Angela Gheorghiu. AG is actually quite effective and seductive on that recording, but live performance is another matter.

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#1569 - 02/22/10 07:02 PM Re: Opera 2
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
Next Season at the Met

Just picked this up on Facebook.
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Kay
Botticelli Moderator

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#1570 - 02/23/10 10:38 AM Re: Opera 2
Pete Offline


Registered: 01/10/02
Posts: 5177
Loc: Newport News, Virginia, USA
One knows he has gotten truly old when he recognizes only one name among the singers the Met has contracted for the new season. All the ones I knew have undoubtedly retired long since.
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#1571 - 02/25/10 12:46 PM Re: Opera 2
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
I know THAT feeling.

Ah, Jon, you're right. Bizet did die only a few months after the first performance, and the score wasn't published until two years later. Any idea who did add the soprano bits?

Curious selection for next season's simulcasts. Two by Wagner, two by Verdi, two by Strauss, two by Donizetti. One each by Moussorgsky, Rossini, Puccini. And the simulcasts' first repeat of an opera -- Lucia, so soon after the first. It must be a new production.

Interesting note on the Met's website. After the last two simulcasts of this season (Hamlet, Armida), the simulcasts will have been seen by over two million people. That's a 2 followed by six zeroes! The number of people who will have attended perfomances at the Met is 800,000.

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#1572 - 02/26/10 05:52 PM Re: Opera 2
Christopher Offline
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Registered: 07/02/02
Posts: 3558
Well, now, wait a minute. Didn't the Opéra Comique first try to cast a soprano in the role? And when she said no, the role was given to a mezzo? That would indicate the score was originally written for the higher voice. So when the higher passages were added to the published score, maybe that was just restoring what had been cut to accommodate the lower voice. Meaning the added bits were written by Bizet after all. Could it have happened that way?

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#1573 - 02/26/10 07:55 PM Re: Opera 2
Anonymous
Unregistered


The New Grove Dictionary of Opera (Hugh Macdonald) says that Bizet worked on the score in 1873, and at the end of that year Célestine Galli-Marié (a mezzo) was engaged to sing the title-role, which she did when it opened in March 1875. Bizet died on the night of the 33rd (of 45) performance. Absolutely no mention of sopranos having been approached.

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#1574 - 02/27/10 02:32 AM Re: Opera 2
Christopher Offline
Member

Registered: 07/02/02
Posts: 3558
Wikipedia says the role was first offered to soprano Marie Roze, who declined. This web page says Roze was thought to be Bizet's first choice. This site says she called the opera "scabrous" (no source cited).

But the lady changed her mind. This site says: "Marie Roze, who had earlier declined the role as 'scabrous,' played it to great acclaim in San Francisco." In fact, Carmen seems to have been one of Roze's two most successful roles, the other being Marguerite in Faust. Now, if she could handle Marguerite's high notes and Bizet did indeed want her to sing Carmen, would he have written it for mezzo voice? Lots of iffy stuff here.

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#1575 - 02/27/10 09:40 AM Re: Opera 2
Pete Offline


Registered: 01/10/02
Posts: 5177
Loc: Newport News, Virginia, USA
It sounds as if the soprano for whom Bizet may have written the part didn't like high notes, and thus Bizet wrote a role that could be sung by both sopranos and mezzos.
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#1576 - 02/27/10 01:26 PM Re: Opera 2
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
It sounds as if the soprano for whom Bizet may have written the part didn't like the opera.

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