BIZET Carmen / Berganza, Abbado 4775342

Reissued on two rather than three CDs, Claudio Abbado's 1977 set of Bizet's "Carmen" has long been a top recommendation . . . Plácido Domingo gives what is probably the best of his several Don Josés . . .

Berganza's role début at Edinburgh and subsequent performances elsewhere were widely hailed. She is supported by Plácido Domingo and Ileana Cotrubas, both in excellent voice and committed dramatically . . . and a satisfying supporting cast led by Robert Lloyd (Zuniga), always expert in French repertoire . . . Abbado gives a no-nonsense reading of exceptional detail and intelligence, with his wonted theatrical flair much in evidence.

Essential recording

. . . un orchestre empli de couleurs et de feu, un sens du mouvement dramatique qui d'un coup ont fait "Carmen" moderne . . . Berganza y apporte un chic presque classique, composant un personnage tragique saisissant.

. . . un Abbado que no tiene miedo a recrearse con absoluto detalle en una partitura que en sus manos se revela fuego puro, sin incurrir en las superficialidades de otras versiones.