Saturday, September 8, 2012

BPO Digital Concert Hall – Part 1: The One that's about the new Carmen Recording

I just discovered the Berlin Philharmonic's Digital Concert Hall (DCH): yet another reason to spend time in front of my computer. I came across the site through Anne Sofie von Otter's Facebook page. I will say more about ASvO and DCH in a later post, since this post is supposed to be about the new Carmen recording. 

You have probably already read about the new recording of Carmen conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, and starring Mrs. Rattle Magdelena Kožená, Jonas Kaufmann, and Genia Kühmeier (a soprano to watch... and listen to, of course!) It's already been reviewed, previewed, and otherwise discussed at blogs such as Likely Impossibilities, Music Web International, Parterre Box, and I Hear Voices.  

The Carmen video on DCH is about 17 minutes long and (thank goodness) is in English. Rattle, Kožená, and Kaufmann offer thoughts and insights to Bizet, Carmen, as well as the recording and concert experiences. The video also offers tantalizing bits of rehearsal and recording footage. What I heard was enticing: among them were bits of the Act 1 Jose/Michaela duet, some orchestral stuff, the Act 2 Gypsy song and the Act 3 Card number. I'm not sure anyone would consider Kožená to be the ultimate Carmen, but she is a supreme artist, and I am totally convinced to give this recording a try. It's aready available in Europe and from as an import. It should be domestically available (also as a download, I hope) in the U.S. soon.

I don't know about you, but after watching the DCH video, I am ready to sign up with DCH to watch the whole concert! Meanwhile, here is the EMI promotional video for the recording. 

DCH is a subscription service provided by the Berliner Philharmoniker that provides access to live broadcasts, in addition to an abundance of archived concerts. You have to pay to see the concerts, but a lot of specials, interviews, and extras are free. I will talk about some other gems I found there in an upcoming post.

Read Part 2: The One that's not about Opera or Regie

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