I have listened to so many versions of Bizet‘s “Habanera” from the opera Carmen, that it will take a few posts to write about them. But this one is from the all-black artistes film Carmen Jones by Roger Hammerstein. It was my mother’s favourite and I often find myself mumbling the chorus while I do the washing up.
It was performed by the beautiful Dorothy Dandridge, who played opposite baritone Harry Belafonte. But she was dubbing the real voice of Marilyn Horne. In the 50s when this was made, so many black musicians were being dubbed by whites that it made a welcome change to flip this the other way.
Dorothy Dandridge’s own voice was really good too and this film helped launch her stardom.
If you would like a comparison look at clips from the Met Opera versions or my second favourite which is sung in the original French by Maria Callas.
To come: Carmen ballet performances, choreographers Carlos Acosta to “The Car Man” by Matthew Bourne.