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Highlights from Carmen featuring Tatiana Troyanos

Others in the cast are Jose van Dam and Placido Domingo. George Solti conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra, on The Lyric Stage this Sunday (5/19 at 8 pm).

At its premiere at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in March of 1875, Carmen was not universally acclaimed - Carmen's "immorality" and her death on stage were just two of the objections, and one critic said that the Opera-comique audience, used to more positive, even family fare was "shocked by the drastic realism of the action" and by the low standing and defective morality of most of the characters. Even the chorus got into the act. They did not like being asked to act as individuals, and to smoke and fight on stage.

But Jules Massenet liked it, telling composer Georges Bizet that it was a great success, and Tchaikovsky wrote that "Carmen is a masterpiece in every sense of the word ... one of those rare creations which expresses the efforts of a whole musical epoch."

Time has agreed with Massenet and Tchaikovsky, and this week we have highlights from a superior performance of Carmen with Tanania Troyanos, Jose van Dam and Placido Domingo featured with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the John Alldis Choir, all conducted by George Solti.

Mike Harrah is host of The Lyric Stage, which airs Sundays at 8 pm.