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Thread: Bizet: Carmen

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    Senior Member Rachovsky's Avatar
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    Default Bizet: Carmen

    Ok so I'm not a fan of operas as much as I am orchestral music (actually I'm not a fan at all), but I went out on a limb and bought Carmen last night with Claudio Abbado and the LSO and it includes the dialogue and everything. Does anyone have like the english translation of the entire opera? I'm sure it's on the internet somewhere, right? How am I supposed to listen to this music too? lol. I saw Aida a few months ago and I couldn't understand it. They would sometimes put up English translation over the curtains and sometimes it would just be in Italian...Kind hard to keep up with the opera when I can't understand it. Thankfully I already knew what the plot was so I was saved. Any thoughts or opinions though?


    Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend. -- Beethoven

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    Senior Member BuddhaBandit's Avatar
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    Check out this site.

    I remember reading the French libretto in one of my high school French classes... it was actually really interesting!
    Take a look at the Bandit's blog, Americana Avenue.

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    Senior Member Badinerie's Avatar
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    Its always a good Idea to read the libretto before Listening to an opera. Get used to the story, the staging and the (usually) ludicrous plot first. also if you go to a Verdi opera, stay sober! Half a bottle of wine with each act of a Puccini opera will set you up nicely. For Richard Strauss though I recommend getting quite stoned!

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    Senior Member Rachovsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badinerie View Post
    Its always a good Idea to read the libretto before Listening to an opera. Get used to the story, the staging and the (usually) ludicrous plot first. also if you go to a Verdi opera, stay sober! Half a bottle of wine with each act of a Puccini opera will set you up nicely. For Richard Strauss though I recommend getting quite stoned!
    Interesting approach, . Are you saying Puccini and Strauss opera's are quite crazy? lol
    I'll be sure to read this libretto first (Thx B.B.) and then see what I can make of the opera. I just stupidly found out that Bizet didn't even do the libretto.


    Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend. -- Beethoven

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    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachovsky View Post
    How am I supposed to listen to this music too?
    I'd hesitate to suggest this about any opera, but it just might be worth suggesting it about Carmen even though it may seem a bit offhand: it's so jam-packed with tunes (tunes that are so famous that they're famous for being famous), that in the first instance I wonder if the lack of a translation necessarily matters all that much? It's nowhere close to being my favourite opera, but despite that, I find I can pop it into the player and just leave it playing all over the house without actually following the narrative at all, but just enjoying the singing and the tunes.

    I know that's not the way it's supposed to be done, and no way could this lead to a proper appreciation of the opera, but maybe that's OK?

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    Andante
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    A quality boxed set will always have the libretto included

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    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andante View Post
    A quality boxed set will always have the libretto included
    The trouble is, though, Andante, that often one can't actually find information about whether a libretto is included or not, most particularly with reissues of sets - even of well-known and highly regarded recordings. Just to pull an example out of the air - the currently available version of the fabulous recording of Massenet's Cendrillon (with Frederica von Stade and Ruth Welting) comes not only without a libretto, but with an entirely useless synopsis about two sentences long. To get a cued libretto for it, a secondhand copy of the original issue is the only solution. More and more reissues seem to be appearing with inadequate documentation of this sort.

    It's very rare for a reviewer to comment on whether a libretto is included, and often even the recording company's website is silent on the subject. Sometimes it doesn't even say so on the box, so you can't find out without removing the shrinkwrap, and there are times when I've resorted to emailing an Amazon marketplace seller who has a secondhand set for sale, to ask if he could look in the box and tell me. I think the lack of information in this area is extraordinary, actually.

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    Simple answer to the original question, which got lost in all the forum-speak:

    http://www.aria-database.com/translations/carmen.txt
    French with English translation - not the version with spoken dialogues, I'm afraid

    http://opera.stanford.edu/Bizet/Carmen/libretto.html
    French, the original (with spoken dialogue)

    http://www.mediafire.com/?et2hjzm2t0j
    PDF file - English and French, without spoken dialogues
    Last edited by msegers; Oct-18-2008 at 00:47. Reason: wrong word

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  12. #9
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msegers View Post
    Simple answer to the original question, which got lost in all the forum-speak:
    You put us all to shame. And you've also done a service for anyone else, other than Rachovsky, who happens to be wandering in a Carmen libretto-less wilderness. Thank you.

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    Apologies to BuddhaBandit. I didn't follow the link in that post, which goes to one of the pages I refer to. Forgive the new kid on the forum, please.

    My feeling was that, when we have a chance to recruit a new opera-lover, we ought to get to it. Then, we could reflect on how much wine we need to get through a particular composer's work... or maybe how much hearty German brew we need to survive Wagner?

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    The only way to listen to a opera recording is with the libretto in hand while you're listening, unless you've listened to the opera in question so often that you know it inside out. BTW - dvd's are a great way to experience opera too and nearly all of them have subtitles.

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    Senior Member Rachovsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elgarian
    I'd hesitate to suggest this about any opera, but it just might be worth suggesting it about Carmen even though it may seem a bit offhand: it's so jam-packed with tunes (tunes that are so famous that they're famous for being famous), that in the first instance I wonder if the lack of a translation necessarily matters all that much? It's nowhere close to being my favourite opera, but despite that, I find I can pop it into the player and just leave it playing all over the house without actually following the narrative at all, but just enjoying the singing and the tunes.

    I know that's not the way it's supposed to be done, and no way could this lead to a proper appreciation of the opera, but maybe that's OK?
    Yes, Carmen is packed with catchy tunes, which is one of the reasons I purchased it. I would love to play it around the house, but I live with those who malign classical music altogether. That would be the only way I would listen to it though. I really don't have enough patience to sit down and listen to the entire opera, even with an English libretto, without also seeing it performed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andante
    A quality boxed set will always have the libretto included
    I buy my music from iTunes. More convenient.


    Ty jhar & msegers for trying to help


    Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend. -- Beethoven

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    Senior Member Ciel_Rouge's Avatar
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    After Dido & Aeneas and Lakme, I think Carmen will be my next opera. I found two interesting examples:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gd0FNpiBDyA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcnsMnRMN2U

    Which one do you like better?

    Which recordings would you recommend - regarding the complete audio, the suite and possibly the DVD?
    Last edited by Ciel_Rouge; Jul-08-2009 at 16:39.

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    I can't understand why beginners to opera always stick to audio recordings when subtitles are their best friend and easiest way to follow the libretto. To everyone, please check out this:

    http://www.amazon.com/Bizet-Carmen-A...3891714&sr=8-4
    Last edited by scytheavatar; Sep-25-2009 at 16:49.

  18. #15
    Senior Member Lukecash12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badinerie View Post
    Its always a good Idea to read the libretto before Listening to an opera. Get used to the story, the staging and the (usually) ludicrous plot first. also if you go to a Verdi opera, stay sober! Half a bottle of wine with each act of a Puccini opera will set you up nicely. For Richard Strauss though I recommend getting quite stoned!
    My god, so I'm not the only old hippie here! You just made me pee myself a little bit. The Mary Jane doesn't do so well with me anymore, but when it was a real commonplace drug in the late 60's and early 70's I used it quite a bit to practice the piano. And it didn't look criminal or anything, sitting with a blunt in my mouth playing the piano. It made me look just like David Helgott!

    I know, I'm a bad person, right?
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
    Nahj ul-Balāgha by Ali bin Abu-Talib

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