Carmen   (Cohen;  Visconti, Thill, Nespoulous, Guenot)     (2-St Laurent Studio YSL 78-020)
Item# OP1425
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Product Description

Carmen   (Cohen;  Visconti, Thill, Nespoulous, Guenot)     (2-St Laurent Studio YSL 78-020)
OP1425. CARMEN, recorded 1928, w.Cohen Cond. l�Op�ra-Comique Ensemble; Raymonde Visconti, Georges Thill, Marthe Nespoulous, Louis Gu�not, etc. (Canada) 2�St Laurent Studio YSL 78-020. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.


"This�offers us a welcome opportunity to experience CARMEN as it was performed by an all-French company, and what a benefit that is! These artists know by nature that the text is as important as the music: all the principals play with the words in a way quite lost in an age of international casts, singers who have seldom if ever worked as an ensemble.

Cohen was Columbia�s regular conductor of French opera at the time, and as in other works, completely enters into the spirit of the work in hand (oddly, the �Flower Song� was recorded separately and conducted by Philippe Gaubert). It may well be that the set was built around the great French tenor, Georges Thill, who sings the role in a way it has seldom been sung since. Words and music are perfectly wedded in his delivery. His voice is a strong lyric tenor bordering on the heroic. He is as adept at singing sweetly, as in the duet with Mica�la, and then truly forceful but never forced in the finales to Acts 3 and 4.

Visconti at first seems a rather matter-of-fact Carmen: the first-act solos are not sufficiently characterised. But then this slightly casual reading seems deliberate: the �Card Scene� is sung accurately and with a real sense of foreboding, and in the grand finale she defies Jos� with magnificent courage and insouciance. Nespoulos was a popular soprano in Paris and elsewhere at the time: her Mica�la is sung in that clear, clean, light, secure tone then favoured in this and so many soprano roles. Gu�not is a personable and vivid Escamillo. The smaller parts are well taken, Zuniga and Morales apparently by members of the company."

- Alan Blyth, OPERA

�Unlike every other such CARMEN, this one bypasses emphasis on the title role to revolve around not Carmen but Don Jos� as the dominant interpreter. While unusual, this seems entirely appropriate � while Carmen's character remains constant, it is Don Jos� whose degeneration is the driving force behind the narrative. Here, the star is Georges Thill, generally considered the greatest French tenor of the 20th century, and indeed he presents a convincing depiction that is both heroic and vulnerable by singing his role in a bel canto style of powerful yet tender fluid ease and extraordinary sheer musicality. Both dialogue and recitatives are omitted. The orchestra reportedly was that of the Op�ra-Comique, with which the conductor and the other leads all were closely associated. While perhaps overshadowed by Thill, Visconti has a sweet but rich voice that's modest but winning, and Nespoulpous and Gu�not portray their roles convincingly.�

- Peter Gutmann

�Each of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurent� [feature] St Laurent's natural transfer � made without filtering, like all his dubbings � it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise.�

- Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011