Various Artists

The Naked Carmen

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In the wake of the massive success of the cast recordings of Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, a lot of people tried to get similarly proportioned and ambitious rock operas -- or, at least, conceptual rock pieces -- recorded. Among the parties involved in The Naked Carmen were Melba Moore as the most notable of the singers, and then 32- year-old John Corigliano, no less, who, according to various sources, conceived the project in the first place as a way of updating the content and appeal of the Bizet opera Carmen. He did succeed to some limited extent, and Moore is most impressive throughout, in this late-'60s oddity, which, from all indications (including its sheer rarity), never sold in significant numbers. Classical purists and opera buffs will probably be appalled by what they hear, but there is some competent, if not terribly inspired music here, and not bad singing in a rock context. The album was issued with few expenses spared, including a fairly ambitious booklet. Other parts will seem ludicrous to any listener who wasn't around in the late 1960s (and maybe many who were). In any case, it's a curio and an enjoyable period piece, perhaps to be laughed at in several places as much as appreciated.

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