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Carmen (1967)

 |  Drama, Music
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 45 users  
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Title: Carmen (1967)

Carmen (1967) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Complete credited cast:
Grace Bumbry ...
Jon Vickers ...
Mirella Freni ...
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Julia Hamari ...
Olivera Miljakovic ...
Robert Kerns ...
Anton Diakov ...
Kurt Equiluz ...
Milen Paunov ...
Mariemma ...
Dancer at Lilas Pastia's Cortijo
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Wonderful Grace Bumbry
27 October 2012 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This is the fourth production that I have reviewed, proving that I really love Carmen. There is a passion in this opera that I haven't experienced with any other. Some will be put off by the lip-synching, but that was also done in Rosi's film with Migenes and Domingo which was a triumph. Rosi knew how to recreate a nineteenth-century world with bored soldiers far from home and cigarette girls looking for a bit of fun. Something of this loving attention is missing from this film, which I think is a vanity project for the conductor, von Karajan. Some of the crowd scenes look flat, empty of excitement when in the live versions they usually fizz with life.

Jon Vickers scales down his ringing Tristan tenor voice to sing Don Jose, and he does a good job, despite having an inexpressive face. Justino Diaz sings manfully,despite looking like he's just left high school--he must have been very young in 1967. Mirella Freni sings the best Micaela I will ever hear; her third act aria Je dis que rien ne m'epouvante is thrilling. Grace Bumbry, using the most subtle movements of her features--a raised eyebrow here, a curling lip there--achieves wonderful effects of characterization. Most Carmens play up the eroticism and wildness of the role, but Bumbry is more relaxed, subtler. The viewer has to understand that she attracts men because she's feminine, not a dog in heat. Bumbry goes to the top of the list of mezzos I have seen in this role.


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