Olga Borodina and Marcelo Álvarez as Carmen and José (Act II)
We've been working our way up to the final meeting of the free-spirited (but also doom-ridden) gypsy Carmen and her onetime soldier lover Don José. This week we get there.
We've got a lot of performances of chunks of this surprisingly compact climactic scene coming up, but I want to highlight in particular two statements that define the state of stalemate Carmen and José have reached by the start of Act IV of Bizet's Carmen.
FIRST HERE THEY ARE IN ENGLISH (OF A SORT) --
which, as we'll see in a moment, is only sort of what they actually say. (I don't want to make too much fun of Ramón Vinay's English, which after all is no less idiomatic than most of our original-language Josés' French. The Chilean tenor was a wonderfully intense and humane singer in some of opera's most demandingly heroic roles.)
DON JOSÉ: "I'm not threatening you"
[rendered here as "I have not come to harm you"]
[in English] Ramón Vinay (t), Don José; Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski, cond. Live performance, July 11, 1946
CARMEN says: "Between us, everything is finished"
[rendered here as: "For you and I, this is the end"]
DON JOSÉ says: "Carmen, there's still time! Yes, there's still time!"
[rendered here as: "Carmen, I cannot believe you! No, I cannot believe you!"]
[in English] Winifred Heidt (ms), Carmen; Ramón Vinay (t), Don José; Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski, cond. Live performance, July 11, 1946
NOW HERE THEY ARE IN FRENCH (OF A SORT), AND
IN CORRECT ORDER, AND WITH THE ACTUAL TEXT --