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Georges BIZET (1838 - 1875)
Carmen (1875)

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There is a tendency for conductors to take the confused textual history of 'Carmen' as a licence to play fast and loose with the make-up of the work. This has been very prevalent since Fritz Oeser's rather over-inclusive edition, which included much music that Bizet would probably rather have kept in the waste basket. The problem lies with Bizet's early death and the controversy surrounding the first performance. Bizet lived to see the vocal score published, but there has always been a contention that some of the changes he made were ones that had been forced upon him. Unfortunately, he also took advantage of the occasion to confirm a number of other tightening ups and improvements.

Robert Hugill



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