Mehta; Resnik, Tucker, Raskin, Díaz
Original Air Date: 03/15/1969
This is Resnik’s only Carmen broadcast, and Mehta is plenty fiery. Although he had premiered the production with Bumbry, the first season broadcast went to Lombard conducting Bumbry with Tucker and Freni). Resnik’s tone, even for Carmen was a bit worn in 1969, but very stylish. Bing almost could not think of Carmen without Tucker. He has four broadcasts during the 1950s and indeed the first two of the new production in 1968 and 1969. My enjoyment of Tucker’s Jose was always limited by the fact that dramatically Domingo and Vickers were far more satisfying. That he sang one more Jose broadcast in 1972– excepting a Domingo replacement for Vickers in 1972 would have had Tucker as the only Jose on the airwaves from 1958 till 1972 (admittedly Bing took Carmen out of the repertoire from 1960-1967). Certainly few other tenors could have supported such an extended string, and been as strong vocally in 1969 as he was in 1952. I like his excellence in other roles more. It is worth noting here that for Tucker’s 99th birthday, there was supposedly some promise of major Sirius broadcasting. Guess Resnik won that battle this week. Raskin is an ordinary Micaela without the magic that attended her Nannetta or her Mozart at City Opera and her career was cut short by illness and an early passing. Diaz is a replacement for the originally scheduled Merrill, and is OK. Mehta (conductor for life of the Israel Philharmonic, though Zoroastrian) makes this a very Kosher Carmen indeed.