Bizet: Carmen


Catalogue No: DDH 27809
EAN/UPC: 809730780929
Artists: , , , , , , ,
Release Date: October 2006
Genres: ,
Discs: 2
Total Playing Time: 112:07

Raymonde Visconti, Georges Thill, Louis Guénot, Andreé Vavon, Andreé Bernadet, Choeur et Orchestre Symphonique de Paris, conducted by Elie Cohen*

This classic recording of the world’s most popular opera, made in and around 1928, has previously only had very limited exposure on LP or CD. While advertised and labelled as being by the Paris Symphony, the forces are actually those of the Opéra-Comique. In Georges Thill, playing Don José, we have the greatest French tenor of the century, and overall this is a memorable performance, as ever restored with great skill by Pristine Audio.


Carmen: Raymonde Visconti (mezzo-soprano)
Don José: Georges Thill (tenor)
Micaëla: Marthe Nespoulpous (soprano)
Escamillo: Louis Guénot (baritone)
Frasquita: Andreé Vavon (soprano)
Mercédès: Andreé Bernadet (soprano)
Dancaïro: Robert Roussel (tenor)
Remendado: Téo Mathyl (tenor)

* The Flower Song (CD1, track 13) recorded in 1927 and conducted by Philippe Gaubert.

Track Listing

    Georges Bizet: Carmen

  1. Act I Prelude (Overture)
  2. Sur la place
  3. Avec la garde montante
  4. La cloche a sonné
  5. L’amour est un oiseau rebelle (Habanera)
  6. Parle-moi de ma mère
  7. Que passe-t-il
  8. Près des ramparts de Séville (Segeduilla)
  9. Les tringles des sistres tintaient
  10. Votre toast (Toreador Song)
  11. Nous avons en tête une affaire
  12. Je vais danser
  13. Le fleur que to m’avais jetée (Flower Song)
  14. Non! Tu ne m’aimes pas
  15. Hola! Carmen!
  16. Entr’acte
  17. Ecoute, compagnon
  18. Mélons, coupons
  19. Quant au douanier
  20. Je dis que rien
  21. Je suis Escamillo
  22. Hola! José
  23. Va-t’en!
  24. Entr’acte
  25. A deux cuartos
  26. Les voici!
  27. Si tu m’aimes, Carmen
  28. C’est toi
  29. Viva! La course est belle


Opera Magazine

These artists know by nature than the text is as important as the music: all the principals play with the words in a way quite lost . The excellent transfers added to my pleasure in a set I had never encountered before. I recommend it as a second version in any reputable collection of French opera.

” —Alan Blyth

This classic recording… truly takes its place amongst the great Carmens of all time. It is hard to find a better version. The aura of Francophile experience permeates every single note… you cannot really go wrong. The orchestral playing truly comes alive in the fine remastering. Divine Art’s new Historic Sound Series is fast becoming one of the major labels in this much sought after genre and this Carmen deserves every success.

” —Gerald Fenech
Musical Opinion

The sound is exceptional… there are no hisses or scratches, just clear singing. [The singers are] all here in fine voice. It’s quite amazing to listen to something recorded nearly 80 years ago and find it as fresh as if it were pressed yesterday

” —Judith Monk
Classic Record Collector

The reasons for buying this set are threefold: Georges Thill, the excellent orchestra and the main conductor, Elie Cohen. Thill is magnificent as ever. Full marks for presentation.

” —Tully Potter

Thill is the most marvellous singer here but there are at least two other performances of some stature. The transfers sound very well. We have texts, a plot summary and artist biographies… a most worthwhile addition to the catalogue

” —Jonathan Woolf
Radio Belge

The transfer to CD is of such naturalness and quality that the voice of Georges Thill appears remarkably present and clear… a welcome historical re-issue characterised especially by the incomparable presence of Georges Thill.

” —Michel Tibbaut
International Record Review

issued by the worthy little company Divine Art…Guénot has an open sound… Nespoulous is a bright-voiced Micaela, neat and accurate. To José, Thill brings stylish vocalising… and is intense in the final scene. Divine Art’s transfer is very clear.

” —John T. Hughes
Keene Sentinel

Very often, a vintage recording affords only historical interest; sometimes there is great artistic merit also involved. The 1928 recording of Georges Bizet’s Carmen has a little of each. However, it is the Don Jose of the nearly legendary tenor George Thill that is the major attraction of this set. It is so good to hear that role sung by a Frenchman for starters, and one with that Thill thrill for good measure. He is what gives value to this set and why I can recommend it for those who are interested in this wonderful tenor.

” —Frank Behrens