Grace Bumbry / Original London Cast

Carmen Jones (Studio Cast Recording) (Highlights)

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Oscar Hammerstein II's adaptation of Bizet's opera Carmen into the 1943 Broadway musical Carmen Jones produced an original cast album and a 1954 soundtrack album. This 1962 studio-cast recording starring American opera singer Grace Bumbry in the title role, recorded in London with British performers, was only the third version on record in nearly 20 years, and it appeared long before the show was actually given a U.K. stage production. Employing the New World Show Orchestra, conducted by Kenneth Alwyn, it is a very musical version, emphasizing Bizet's music over Hammerstein's English lyrics. Bumbry, who had sung the original Carmen in opera houses, bows very little to the modernized version, giving no particular emphasis to the words, and she is joined in this operatic interpretation by co-stars George Webb as Joe, and Ena Babb as Cindy Lou. Elisabeth Welch, a veteran of stage and screen in Britain, gives Frankie a more earthy interpretation in "Beat Out Dat Rhythm on a Drum," and Thomas Baptiste as Husky Miller sounds more like a musical-theater performer on "Stan' Up and Fight." Bumbry, Webb, and Babb cannot be faulted as opera singers, but it's hard to see the point of performing Carmen Jones as though it was Carmen; the whole idea of the adaptation was to humanize the story.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Carmen Jones, musical play (adapted from Carmen by Oscar Hammerstein II)
1 2:03
2 2:02
3 2:16
4 3:59
feat: George Webb
6 4:59
7 3:40
8 4:28
9 4:41
feat: Ena Babb
feat: George Webb
blue highlight denotes track pick