The late Patric Standford may have written these short pieces deliberately to provoke our feedback. If so, his success is reflected in the rich range of readers' comments appearing at the foot of most of the pages.
Possibly the title Carmen is better known than the name of its composer, Georges Bizet. Born 25 October 1838, he was to write several operas of little success before the work that eventually became so popular. His output was varied and during his lifetime works such as Jeux d'enfants brought him more acclaim than anything else. He lived until 3 June 1875.
CD Spotlight. An Exquisite Compilation - A selection of popular orchestral music, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Spiritedly performed and superbly recorded ...'
Ensemble. Three Divas - Maria Nockin reviews a streamed recital from Versailles, given by Ailyn Pérez, Nadine Sierra, Isabel Leonard, Vlad Iftinca and Pablo Sáinz-Villegas
CD Spotlight. A Jewel Box of Opera Rarities - Giuseppe Pennisi explores a CD set marking the Orfeo International label's first forty years. '... at least two masterpieces emerge ...'
Ensemble. Great Emphasis on Detail - Giuseppe Pennisi enjoys streamed performances of a Carmen double bill in Rome
Ensemble. A Delightful Morning - Diana Damrau and Joseph Calleja sing live from Caserta in Italy as part of Met Stars Live in Concert, experienced by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Bring Back the Blue and the Light - Maria Nockin was impressed by Jonas Kaufmann's recital with Helmut Deutsch in New York Metropolitan Opera's new 'Met Stars Live in Concert' series
CD Spotlight. Fierce Criticism - Gerald Fenech listens to orchestral music by Rodion Shchedrin and Ottorino Respighi. '... a fitting tribute to Mariss Jansons ...'
CD Spotlight. Supremely Pianistic - Gerald Fenech finds pure joy in Etsuko Hirose's recent Moszkowski piano works disc. 'Truly hair-raising stuff, wonderfully annotated and recorded.'
CD Spotlight. An Absolute Soprano - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to a recording by Marina Rebeka. '... perfect emission ... consummate technical skills ...'
Ensemble. Undeniably Exciting - Mike Wheeler listens to Bizet, Ravel, Debussy, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Sibelius and Walton from Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Yan Pascal Tortelier and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Ensemble. An Autumn Trilogy - 'Norma', 'Aida' and 'Carmen' in Ravenna, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Profile. Tragic Expression - George Colerick discusses Georges Bizet, as the most vital French opera composer since Berlioz
Ensemble. 'Carmen' Redeemed - James Sohre reports from San Francisco
CD Spotlight. A Quintessentially French Bestiary - French songs by various composers, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Ducks, peacocks, pigs, butterflies, dromedaries, carp, cicadas and owls are just some of the creatures in the menagerie assembled for this recording.'
Ensemble. Perfect for the Role - Ginger Costa-Jackson in Bizet's 'Carmen' at San Diego Opera, reviewed by Ron Bierman
Profile. Convincing Performances - Ron Bierman talks to American mezzo Ginger Costa-Jackson
Ensemble. A Brand New 'Carmen' Ballet - Giuseppe Pennisi reports from the opening night at Teatro dell'Opera di Roma
Ensemble. Is 'Carmen' for Children? - Giuseppe Pennisi attends a special Opera Domani performance
Ensemble. Forcefully Engaging - A school production of 'Carmen', reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Deftly Navigated - Jeffrey Reid Baker, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Bizet and Rachmaninov from the Cann Twins at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Very Moving - A Roland Petit soirée at Opera di Roma, experienced by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Sensual and Immoral - A new production of 'Carmen' stirs a mini-International Controversy, by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Uniquely Peculiar - French music for brass and piano, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Careful attention to the music's slightest details means the interpretive aspect is consistently special and charismatic.'
Ensemble. Lots of Tinsel - Derby Concert Orchestra's Christmas concert, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Dies Irae - George Colerick takes a look at secular and romantic uses of the old Latin hymn
Somewhat Congested - Jonathan Scott plays the organ of Derby Cathedral, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Echo of Globalization - France at the Festival of Nations, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Carmen Lite-ful (Rhymes with Frightful) - James Sohre sends the last of his reports from San Francisco
Ensemble. Melodic Gold - Bizet's 'The Pearlfishers' live in HD from New York, reviewed by Maria Nockin
Thus Spoke Nietzsche - Daniel Sampaio marks some interesting anniversaries
Ensemble. Grim and Shivery Intensity - Bizet's 'Carmen' at Nevill Holt Opera impresses Roderic Dunnett
CD Spotlight. Attentive Conducting - Orchestral music by Georges Bizet, heard by Stephen Francis Vasta. 'Tingaud's "Roma" easily outclasses the last version I'd heard ...'
CD Spotlight. Well Realized - Varda Kotler and Israel Kastoriano, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... partnership and sensitivity ...'
Ensemble. Challenging, Versatile and Unexpected - Roderic Dunnett visits Hungarian State Opera
Ensemble. Gallic Elegance - Alexandra Soumm joins Juanjo Mena and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra for music by Ginastera, Lalo, Telemann, Bizet and Ravel, impressing Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Real Joy - 'Le Ventre de Paris', praised by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Tragedy to Come - Maria Nockin experiences one of this era's best productions of 'Carmen', live in HD from New York Metropolitan Opera
Appallingly Complex - George Colerick claims that the Nazis approved of Bizet
Ensemble. Thoroughly Delightful - Maria Nockin visits Santa Fe Opera and experiences all of their 2014 productions
Ensemble. Consummate Professionalism - Nigel Ogden begins Derby Cathedral's series of summer organ recitals, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. More Powerful - 'Carmen' in Bizet's original version, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Growing Together - Vorisek in the North Downs, heard by Keith Bramich
Ensemble. A Good Night for Singing - Los Angeles Opera's 'Carmen', reviewed by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Top Notch - Magdalena Kozená's Carmen, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... sheer and utter brilliance in every department.'
Ensemble. A Splendid Violinist - Peter Fisher's 'Music from the Movies', enjoyed by Bill Newman
Ensemble. An Annual Delight - Maria Nockin visits Santa Fe for the summer opera season
Emotional Impressions - Bill Newman listens to Neapolitan pianist Clelia Cafiero
Ensemble. The Turning Point - Giuseppe Pennisi was in eastern Sicily for the opening night of Teatro Massimo Bellini's 2012 season - a low cost but high quality 'Carmen'
Clarity of Expression - Yasmin Rowe plays for the Keyboard Charitable Trust, reviewed by Bill Newman
Ensemble. Uncurbed Impulses - Bizet's 'Carmen' at San Diego Opera, appreciated by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Psychological Portraits - Opera North's 'Carmen', experienced by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Mediterranean Splendour - Dancing to Bizet's 'L'Arlésienne' and 'Carmen', by Giuseppe Pennisi
Performances to Remember - Maria Nockin looks forward to San Diego Opera's 2011 season
Ensemble. Brisk and Powerful - 'Carmen' in Tucson, enjoyed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Intensely Gripping - Bizet, Richard Strauss and Vaughan Williams from Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Special Praise - Bizet's 'Carmen' at Kentish Opera, enjoyed by Pippa Hare
Ensemble. Colourful and Large Scale - Francesca Zamballo's production of 'Carmen', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. The Real Thing - Spanish music from the Hallé Orchestra, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. High Voltage - Sol Gabetta joins Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
Ensemble. A Bombshell - Carmen at the movies, by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. A False Start - 'Carmen' at La Scala, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. A Sizzling Rendition - 'Carmen' from Phoenix Opera impresses Maria Nockin
Ensemble. A Sparkling Account - The Kanazawa-Admony Piano Duo pays tribute to Carola Grindea, reviewed by Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. True Artistry - Howard Smith attends New Zealand's Music Fair of Japan 2009
Ensemble. Dramatic Essentials - 'Carmen' from Paris, enjoyed by Robert Hugill
Old and New Worlds - Ioana Osoianu talks to Keith Bramich about her life in the East and West
Record Box. Virtuosic Turns - Solo sonatas by Benedetto Marcello, reviewed by Gerald Fenech
CD Spotlight. Stylish and Pointed - Stokowski conducts Bizet and Debussy, enjoyed by Robert Anderson. '... a rhythmic élan and masterly sense of line ...'
Ensemble. An Exotic Atmosphere - Bizet's 'The Pearl Fishers' at San Diego Opera, enjoyed by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Truly Invigorating - Opera fantasies for violin, reviewed by Howard Smith. '... engaging musical finesse.'
DVD Spotlight. Sensual Drama - West Australian Ballet in Shchedrin's 'Carmen', reviewed by Malcolm Tattersall. '... colourful and energetic ...'
Ensemble. Somewhat Controversial - 'Carmen' in Santa Fe, reviewed by Maria Nockin
Gossip and Rebellion - Robert Hugill writes about the history of the first performance of Bizet's 'Carmen'
Ensemble. Shimmering Harmonies - San Diego Opera's 'Carmen' delighted Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Effectively shaped - Bizet's 'The Pearl Fishers', reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Sensationally STILL - Alexa Still and the NGC Wellington Sinfonia, reviewed by Howard Smith
Ensemble. New edition - Robert Hugill congratulates the Chelsea Opera Group on its performance of 'The Pearl Fishers'
Record box. The Spanish Guitar - Ron Bierman listens to excerpts from previous Naxos releases
Record box - Duetting. A new CD of French music considered by Basil Ramsey
Engaging and original - Malcolm Miller enthuses about English National Opera's 2001 Carmen revival