East End Memories



I only went to the Empress Hackney a few more times after seeing How to Marry a Millionaire although I would most certainly have enjoyed going almost every week. The cinema showed all of the 20th Century Fox productions made in CinemaScope that I wanted to see, most of which were never shown at the Essoldo Bethnal Green. Sadly, the Hackney Kids were not as nuts as me when it came to seeing these films. They were not regular visitors to the cinema and their tastes ran to cowboys ‘n’ Indians and the occasional period piece as long as there were lots of battle scenes. Sadly, they did not study the blurb in the newspapers that came with the release of new films and so were unwilling to go and see if a certain film appealed to them or not. Naturally, this was somewhat vexing since I could not rely on going to the Empress with them on any regular basis. In fact I went with them only on a couple of occasions. Sadly, I had to resort to deception in order to get to the cinema and attempt to see certain films. Tragically, I was not able to achieve my goal often. I was also plagued with an obstacle thrown in my way by The British Board of Film Censors. The Board constantly saw fit to give an ‘A’ Certificate to many of the films that appealed to me, and to see these films, someone over the age of 16 years of age had to agree to accompany me into the cinema. I could not risk going clandestinely up to Hackney too often, as I always risked not finding an adult to take me in to the cinema. I suffered just such a failure on a number of occasions. As a result of the discrimination exercised by the British Board of Film Censors, supposedly to protect and shield my sensitivity together with the enforcement of their stringent rules by an over-zealous cinema management, I missed seeing many potential classics.

Of all films missed, The Egyptian was the bitterest pill to swallow, but not far behind was my failure to gain entry to see Carmen Jones. Over the years, my continual failure to see this film took on epic proportions and many fellow potential admirers of this film later led me to believe that there was indeed a conspiracy to keep this film hidden from the public.

Carmen Jones is an interesting film on several levels. Firstly, in the United Kingdom it was advertised as an All-Black Version of the Opera, Carmen. At that time, the only thing that I had ever heard of that was All-Black was The All Blacks, who weren’t in fact, All-Black! Secondly, it was a film made in what would seem to be record breaking speed. And thirdly, it was a film that disappeared for many years and was only discovered by the public when it was shown at the Joseph Papp’s Public Theater in New York City in the 1980s. The Public Theater was founded as The Shakespeare Workshop in 1954 by Joseph Papp in the former Astor Library in the East Village in Lower Manhattan. He manage to persuade the City of New York to purchase the building and also went on to convince them to allow him to present works by new playwrights and performers there. Since its founding, The Public Theater has successfully achieved its goal. It has brought a number of innovative productions to the mainstream theatre including Hair and A Chorus Line, as well as a version of The Pirates of Penzance where several rock stars of the time appeared in major roles. In addition, the Theater has screened many classic films and a number of lesser known forgotten or lost films including Carmen Jones. In 1992, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry since it was deemed as being culturally, historically and aesthetically significant. Although the film was never released on video-cassette tape, it was eventually released on digital video-disc in 2002.

Joseph Papp and The Public Theater

The film is based on the Broadway Show of the same name, which in turn is based on Georges Bizet’s Carmen. The show was first presented on Broadway in 1943. Unlike Bizet’s opera, the lyrics of Carmen Jones were written in English, or rather, in the English spoken by Afro-Americans from the South of the United States at the time of its setting. Oscar Hammerstein II who had successfully collaborated with Jerome Kern (Showboat), Rudolf Friml (Rose Marie) and Sigmund Romberg (The Desert Song and New Moon) wrote both the book and lyrics of Carmen Jones. It was also in 1943 that he began his most successful collaboration when he wrote Oklahoma! with Richard Rodgers.

Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern, Rudolf Friml, Sigmund Romberg & Georges Bizet

The Broadway production of Carmen Jones was produced by Billy Rose, directed by Hassard Short and starred Muriel Smith in the title role. It received good reviews and ran for 503 performances at the Broadway Theatre from 2nd December, 1943 until 10th February, 1945. A point of interest is that Cozy Cole, the great jazz drummer, was employed to Beat out dat rhythm on da drum during the performances and who in 1958 recorded the classic, Topsy. The production was revived twice at New York’s City Centre in 1945 and 1946 and later produced in 1991 at London’s Old Vic and in 2007 at the Royal Festival Hall.

Top Row: The Broadway Theatre, Muriel Smith (the first Carmen Jones), Billy Rose & Cozy Cole 
Bottom Row: New York City Center, The Royal Festival Hall & The Old Vic

Bizet’s opera is set in Seville in the early nineteenth century. Carmen, a gypsy who works in a cigarette factory, is fickle in nature, free with her affection and quick to anger. Oscar Hammerstein II’s Carmen Jones follows the opera closely, but with some notable changes. Its setting is now the American South during the Second World War. Carmen no longer works in a cigarette factory, but now makes parachutes. As in the opera, she is arrested for violence and a military man is ordered to take her to a town close by where she is to be handed over to non-military police. The military man, still a corporal, but no longer called Don Jose, is Joe, a fly-boy air force man. Carmen seduces Joe in the hope of escaping. Although she has taken a shine to him, she still escapes and he is sent to the brig for failing in his duty. While waiting for his release, Carmen spends time at a Billy Pastor’s Jive Cafe. Here she meets, not a bull fighter, but a boxer, Husky Miller, who is instantly besotted by her. He offers her and her two girlfriends train tickets to Chicago to see him defend his title. She refuses, but is urged to accept by her friends. Following his release, Joe arrives at the cafe and immediately gets into trouble. In order to escape the military police, Carmen accepts the train tickets and she, Joe, and her girl friends leave on the next train. Once in Chicago, Carmen and Joe are soon out of money. Joe cannot work for fear of being recognised by the police. When she seeks out her friends to ask for a loan, she meets the boxer again. During a visit to his apartment, one of Carmen’s friends reads their fortunes in the cards. Carmen draws the Nine of Spades – the Death Card! Believing that her life will soon be over, Carmen becomes determined to live life to the full! She leaves Joe and takes up with the boxer. Joe, now alone and with little hope, is consumed with jealousy and on the night of his title fight, he searches for and finds Carmen at the arena. He begs her to come back to him. Her refusal and his jealousy cause him to choke her to death. In the final scene, Joe is seen being taken into custody by the police. This is great dramatic stuff!!!

Scenes from the film, Carmen Jones

Top Row: Georges Bizet, Oscar Hammerstein II, Diahann Carroll, Marilyn Horne (singing voice of Carmen Jones)
 & Harry Belafonte
Middle Row: Joe Adams (singing voice of Husky Miller, Marvin Hayes), Dorothy Dandridge & Harry Belafonte
Bottom Row: Joe Adams, Pearl Bailey, Dorothy Dandridge, Roy Glenn & Diahann Carroll;
LeVern Hutcherson (singing voice of Joe), Pearl Bailey & Otto Preminger 

Harry Belafonte, who had recently come to prominence as a singer and entertainer, played the part of Joe. Although both he and Ms Dandridge sang, their voices were felt unsuitable for singing the operatic score. LeVern Hutcherson and Marilyn Horne were to provide the singing voices of Joe and Carmen. Marilyn Horne said that she tried to imitate the voice of Dorothy Dandridge had she been able to sing in the proper register and did so successfully.

The film was directed by Otto Preminger and starred Dorothy Dandridge in the role of Carmen. I had seen her earlier in a small film, Bright Road, where she played a schoolteacher. I have to admit that I did not connect the somewhat prim schoolteacher of Right Road with the seductive and sultry Carmen Jones for many years. It seems that Otto Preminger had seen Bright Road too and had rejected her for the role since he felt that she was unable to play such a seductive and sultry role. Apparently, Ms Dandridge was convinced that she could and met Herr Preminger dressed as Carmen Jones and proceeded to talk and act as the character would. It seems that the director was taken by her ability to portray Carmen Jones with the required degree of sultry and seductiveness. This not only got her a screen test, but eventually led to her being cast as Carmen. It also led to star and director becoming an item, as it was once described, and an open item at that, which was still taboo in 1954 in the United States.

Click on the collage to see the trailer of the film

Ms Dandridge was a versatile actress who could sing, dance and act. She began performing with her mother and sisters at a young age and later appeared at the Cotton Club and at the Apollo Theatre together with her sister prior to breaking into film. Her film career began in 1937 with a small role in the Marx Brothers film, A Day at the Races. In 1941, she appeared, along with her then-husband, Harold Nicholas and his brother, Fayard, who together formed the great dance duo, The Nicholas Brothers, as a Speciality Act, but without individual credit, in the film, Sun Valley Serenade. The three sang and danced while the Glenn Miller Orchestra played Chattanooga Choo Choo. Although she could dance, her ability was somewhat limited when compared that of The Nicholas Brothers. Once she leaves the screen, they move into a higher gear and display their own abilities to the full. While waiting for film roles, she developed a night club act and toured extensively. Apparently she never enjoyed performing on stage, as she suffered with chronic stage fright. Incidentally, it is now believed that she also suffered with manic depression.


Click on a collage to see a  SOUNDIE

Unfortunately, the number of acting roles available to black women at that time was few and it was not until 1954 that her big break came with Carmen Jones. She became the first black woman to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actress in a Leading Role category. She lost to Grace Kelly for her role in The Country Girl. Apparently, although she received accolades for her role here, Hollywood producers did not rush to cast her in other films. She was offered the role of Tuptim in The King and I, but turned it down on the advice of Otto Preminger. He felt that she had proved her star quality and, as the role was a supporting one, was not worthy of her talents. It would seem that she later regretted this move. Rita Moreno played the role and received much critical acclaim for doing so and later would win an Oscar for playing Anita in West Side Story. Unfortunately, Ms Dandrige's only other major film roles were in Island in the Sun (1957) and as Bess, in the Samuel Goldwyn production of Porgy and Bess (1959), also directed by Otto Preminger. Although she received good reviews for her role in the 20th Century Fox film, Island in the Sun, the studio released her soon after from the three-film contract she had signed with them. Despite her performance in Porgy and Bess being nominated for numerous acting awards, she was never offered a film role of note again.

Click on the collage to hear Harry Belafonte sing the title song of the film

ISLAND IN THE SUN - with John Justin

In 1961 with her film career stalling Ms Dandridge revived her nightclub act and toured once more. Her personal life was also going from bad to worse. She had remarried in 1959, but money problems including a failure to pay income tax together with accusations of physical violence soon ended this relationship. Eventually, her inability to find acting or singing jobs forced her to sell her home and place her daughter from her first marriage in an institution for the mentally ill. Her situation led to a nervous breakdown, and despite talk and plans for a comeback, on the 8th September, 1965, at the age of 42, she was found dead by her manager. It was originally concluded that she had died from an accidental overdose of Imipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant medication, but an alternative conclusion was later offered when it was suggested that she had in fact died of a rare type of embolism. It seemed that several days before her death, she had fractured her right foot and fat emboli from the bone marrow entered the blood stream and became lodged in her brain and lungs.


Click on the posters for film clips

Once I saw the advertisement for Carmen Jones in the newspaper, just like Joe and Don Jose before him, I became totally and utterly besotted by her and knew that I had to see this film and see it as soon as possible. Although I was young, the sultry look and the seductive pose and manner of Carmen were not lost on me. Obviously, I perhaps was not able to voice my reaction to my attraction to this voluptuous creature in such a manner, but it was evidently the case. I still find the stance of Carmen Jones to be provocative and captivating. As a result of this stance, and from a variety of other sources, I developed an early taste for what could only be described as the exotic! And to me, at that time, Carmen Jones was exotic!

At first I was not aware that the film was based on an opera. I had been subjected to opera at a very young age, as both my father and mother had a taste for it. They liked all kinds of music and had a large gramophone record collection to prove it. Although grand opera was not top of their lists, they were not adverse to it, but perhaps would have preferred operetta were they given the choice. I remember going to see a production of La Boheme with them while I was still quite small and falling asleep. Whether this was from boredom or a result of the length of the production, I cannot recall.

I remember not being put off when I discovered that Carmen Jones was based on the opera, Carmen. The Toreador Song and Habanera were great favourites of my father, who would regularly sing them while working in his bake house or soaking in his bath. As he aged, sadly he had problems reaching the higher notes, which eventually would give way to croaking sounds. Sadly, all attempts to convince the Hackney Kids that this was positively and definitely a film not to be missed failed miserably even after I showed them the ripped from the newspaper picture of Carmen Jones in that stance. Obviously the charms and allure of Ms Dandridge were lost on these kids! However, since they were not lost on me, I decided that I was going to have to resort to deception once more to get to Hackney. After all, I could not be certain that this film would ever be shown at the Essoldo Bethnal Green, and anyway besides that, I could not wait for it to come. Here was another siren whose beckoning could not be ignored. And so, I was willing to deceive once more and steal away to the wilds of Hackney.

It was with much sadness that after waiting outside the Empress on Mare Street for something like an hour, I have to report that I was unable to find an adult to take me in. Actually only a few adults had entered the cinema during my wait and it was apparent that this film was not going to be well received. Cinema staff of that time did not particularly appreciate seeing kids standing outside the entrance and asking adults to take them in. Eventually, one of the ushers came out to me and told me to clear off! Claiming that I had a right to wait outside the cinema, if I wanted, he countered that if I did not hop it and hop it quick, I would get a clip ‘round the ear!!! With regret, retreat being the better part of valour, I was forced to trudge off to the bus stop and go home.

I did not take the failure to see Carmen Jones well and for a while I gained no pleasure when I heard The Toreador Song! Tragically, I did not get an opportunity to see this film elsewhere since it did not come to the Essoldo Bethnal Green just as I had surmised. I was even more upset about this than at failing to see The Egyptian – well who wouldn’t be should one be given a choice between that stance and mummies!

Naturally, I got a grip and accepted the fact that I was never going to see the film! Although I did not like it, I knew that I had to accept it, which I did. After all, these were the days before videocassettes and discs and this film was apparently not going to be shown in any revival house. I knew that I was going to have to content myself with the Bizet’s Carmen. I remember clearly the first time that I saw Carmen. I found myself both appalled and outraged at the casting of the gypsy! Whereas Carmen Jones was svelte, seductive and sultry, Carmen was short, shapeless and silly. Obviously being svelte, seductive and sultry were not qualities common to opera singers, but then no one is perfect. I have to admit that although the alluring Dorothy Dandridge was both physically and mentally my idea of Carmen Jones, she did lack the vocal range to sing the role. Anyway, despite seeing Carmen a number of times and enjoying the music, the acting and the singing, I have never found myself seduced visually by any soprano, but then another great sadness of my life is that I never saw the wonderful Maria Callas play this role! Now there would have been possible perfection! On record, it is a different matter for I have a number of favourite Carmens, beside the great La Divina, I have always had a preference for the singing of the wonderful Victoria de los Angeles. The last time I saw Carmen was sometime in the 1980s. It was the Peter Brooke production, which had been brought over from England, and was set in the round, and proved interesting and evocative.

Top Row: Poster for the original production; Celestine Galli-Marie, the original Carmen; and Programme
Bottom Row: Maria Callas, Anna Moffo and Victoria de Los Angeles
Behind: Marilyn Horne (voice of Carmen Jones) and Dorothy Dandridge (as Carmen Jones)

In 1969, while I was living in Toronto, I would occasionally watch one of the television channels that showed films at 2 p.m. each Saturday. Thanks to the efforts of the people that ran this station, I was able to fill the holes in my education thanks to their transmissions of a number of missed films. I remember on one particularly grey and wintery Saturday afternoon locking my front door, taking my telephone off the hook, turning my television on and finally sitting myself down on my couch with a coverlet close by. Arranged close by on my coffee table, I had previously brought several drinks and an assortment of sweetmeats for possible sampling. Now I was ready to settle myself down to wait for the station’s presentation of Carmen Jones!

I was quite excited at the possibility of at last seeing the film. After all it had been about fifteen years since it had been released. I felt that I now had a right to see it! At last, following all the announcements implying that I was now going to be presented with a spectacle like no other, as if I did not know, the 20th Century Fox Fanfare was heard and I was shown once more that wonderful introduction that informed me that here was a CinemaScope picture. The hair stood up on the back of my neck and once again I was transported back to the Essoldo Bethnal Green. And then I saw a flame and a rose appear on the screen and the sound of that exciting overture came bursting out of the television!

The transmission of the film was in black and white and somewhat chopped up. I suspect that the film had shown a number of times in the past and had suffered from breakages and had been spliced back together on numerous occasions and done so in haste. The continuity of the film was sorely lacking too thanks to constant interruptions for commercials, which advertised various inane products that I tried to remember never to buy in future. Although I did not watch the film under ideal conditions despite my drinks and sweetmeats, I was nonetheless overjoyed to finally see it and I convinced myself that it was a great film that merited being seen on a big screen in a glorious picture palace. Perhaps one day, I would see it in such a setting where it would be enjoyed and seen in all of its former glory with Colour by De Luxe together with the wonders of four-track stereophonic sound. Naturally, without meaning to, such a wish would mean the rejection of both the Essoldo Bethnal Green and the Empress Hackney as possible venues. Anyway, regardless of seeing a chopped up black and white version with a dulled sound and constant interruption, I was content. At last I had seen that sultry, seductive Carmen and she, at least, had not been a disappointment.

I next saw the film in 1993. At that time, it was receiving several showings on the television channel, American Movie Classics, which at one time showed classics free of commercial interruption. On this occasion, I saw the film in letterbox format and in colour. Only the four-track stereophonic sound was missing! Still, two wishes out of three aren’t bad! I was certainly more critical of the film this time around, but I still found Dorothy Dandridge to be beautiful, captivating and a good actress. As I watched the film, I recorded it, as this was the era of the videocassette and I wanted to have my own copy for now and forever! I am glad that I did since the film was never commercially released on videocassette, which I found annoying however it was eventually released on digital video disc in 2002. Naturally I also have a copy of the disc and it holds a place of honour in my collection along with my videocassette recordings of Bright Road and Island in the Sun where they wait to be shown at will.

In 1999, when Halle Berry won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role, she dedicated the moment to Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne and Diahann Carroll. I was very happy to see that others acknowledge the enduring memory and talents of Dorothy Dandridge, the actress.

Click on the collage to see the Finale of Carmen Jones


Click on the collage to hear 'Here come de Honey Man', played by Miles Davis

The film, Porgy and Bess, was based on the opera written by George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin, which was based on the book, Porgy, by DuBose Heyward. Porgy and Bess was conceived as an American Folk Opera and was first performed in Boston in 1935 and followed by a Broadway run of 124 performances. The cast consisted of classically trained Afro-American singers and was produced and directed by Rouben Mamoulian, who had directed the play, Porgy earlier. The opus was not received well, but the 1942 Broadway revival fared better and ran for nine months. The opera received its European premiere in Copenhagen with an all-white cast and, although well received, was closed by The Nazis after only 22 performances. Porgy and Bess received its London premiere in 1952 at the Stoll Theatre where, after a successful run of five months, the production went on to tour Europe. In the United States, it was not until 1976 when the Houston Grand Opera company became the first such company to present the piece that Porgy and Bess finally became considered as a legitimate opera. It has since been produced by the Metropolitan Opera in 1985, at Glyndebourne Festival in 1986 and at The Promenade Concerts (The Proms) in a semi-staged version in 1998. In 2006, Trevor Nunn, who directed the Glyndebourne production, adapted the opera to musical theatre and used musical theatre actors in the leading roles and dialogue.

Click on the collage to hear the Overture and Summertime (sung by Anne Brown) from the original stage production.

George Gershwin, DuBois Heyward, Ira Gershwin, U.S. Postal Stamp & The Alvin Theatre, New York City where Porgy and Bess was first produced

Click on the collage to hear Bess you is my woman now by Leontyne Price & William Warfield (1952).

The Theatre Guild Production of Porgy and Bess, 1952 featuring Leontyne Price, as Bess, William Warfield, as Porgy and Cab Calloway, as Sportin' Life (this role was created with him in mind)

From all reports, the making of the film, Porgy and Bess, was fraught with difficulties, including a fire that destroyed the sets and costumes, problems finding a screenwriter, dismissal of the original director, Rouben Mamoulian who also directed the initial Broadway production and with the casting of some of the roles. According to several sources, Dorothy Dandridge was the producer’s only choice to play Bess however she apparently was never that keen on the role. Finding Porgy also proved difficult. Harry Belafonte refused it and Sydney Poitier somewhat grudgingly agreed to play the role. Brock Peters, Diahann Caroll and Pearl Bailey also appeared in the film, although Ms Bailey informed the costume designer that she refused to wear a bandana. Earlier, various other performers had been considered for roles in the film including sports personalities and the singer, Clyde McPhatter. The most enthusiastic actor to appear in the film was Sammy Davis Jr who played Sportin’ Life. At first, Samuel Goldwyn found him unacceptable and had originally offered the role to Cab Calloway, but once he refused the role, intensive lobbying by Mr. Davis' friends caused Mr. Goldwyn to give the role to Sammy Davis Jr.

Click on the poster above to hear: Summertime (Diahann Carroll); I got plenty of nuttin' (the singing voice of Robert McFerrin); Bess, you is ma woman now (the singing voices of Robert McFerrin & Adele Addison); and Oh, I can't sit down - picnic (Pearl Bailey)
Click on the left picture of Dorothy Dandridge and Sidney Poitier to hear:
I loves you Porgy
Click on the right picture of Dorothy Dandridge and Sidney Poitier to hear:
Oh Lawd, I'm on my way
Click on the picture of Sammy Davis Jr. to hear
It ain't necessarily so
Click on the picture of Diahann Carroll to hear

Top Row: Film Poster; Dorothy Dandridge with Sidney Poitier & Sammy Davis, Jr.
Middle Row: Scene from the film and Otto Preminger with the film's principals
Bottom Row: Soundtrack album cover, Pearl Bailey, Sammy Davis, Jr., Diahann Carroll and Brock Peters

The search for a director also proved troublesome. Once Rouben Mamoulian had been let go, Otto Preminger was asked to take the helm. This was to be the second occasion that he replaced Mr. Mamoulian on a film, the first being in 1944 when he took over the direction of Laura. At the time of filming, the relationship between Ms Dandridge and Mr. Preminger was over and working together proved difficult for her especially when he criticised her performance.

The film received it premier in New York City in June 1959 and received mixed reviews. Its run in Atlanta was cancelled after black reviewers objected to the film. Later the producer was to cancel other openings in further cities. The film did not open in London until October 1962, but this was due to the Dominion Cinema not being free until the closure of South Pacific, which had been showing there since 1958. At that time, the Dominion was the only cinema in London where presentations in TODD-AO could be screened. I saw the film in 1963 on a very small screen. The setting of the film is Catfish Row in Charleston, South Carolina and most of the action takes place in this small street. While sitting in the cinema, I remember wondering why it had been filmed in such a widescreen format, as nothing about the film seemed to require this. Sadly, I found the film to be disappointing and above all, claustrophobic! I especially did not like the muted colours used. However, what I did enjoy were the performances of Dorothy Dandridge and Sydney Poitier. I found them to be the perfect Bess and the perfect Porgy. I also found the music to be excellent and remarkably well interpreted. The film earned only half of its initial outlay and following a few television broadcasts, it had practically disappeared by the mid-1970s. Once the rights to the film reverted to the Gershwin and Heyward estates, it could only be shown with their permission. The executors of the estates refused to allow its screening until 2007, when they agreed to two screenings at the Zigfield Theatre in New York City. These showings were true theatrical events and included the overture and the intermission and exit music along with a discussion with Otto Preminger’s biographer.

Top Row: Sidney Poitier, Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll  Brock Peters
Bottom Row: Sammy Davis, Jr., Pearl Bailey (as Dolly Levin in Hello Dolly), Pearl Bailey with a Tony Award (for her role in Hello Dolly; with Jerry Herman and Carol Channing), & Diahann Carroll as Julia together with Marc Copage

Despite the lack of the commercial success of the film and the inability of the recently presented musical stage version to find an audience, the musical score of Porgy and Bess has been recorded by many singers and musicians and interpreted in a wide variety of styles.  This is clearly illustrated by the musical links given here:

Here come da Honey Man - Cleo Laine & Ray Charles

It ain't necessarily so - Cleo Laine & Ray Charles

  I got pleny o' nuttin' - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

Summertime - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

Summertime - Miles Davis

Summertime - Janis Joplin

Summertime - Sidney Bechet

Summertime - Billie Holiday

 Bess you is my woman now - Leontyne Price & William Warfield (European Tour, 1952)

  I love you Porgy - Nina Simone

Selections from Porgy & Bess - Sammy Davis, Jr.

My man's done gone now - Diahann Carroll


The First Carmen - Celestine Galli-Marie

Overture - The Metropolitan Opera House, New York, conductor, James Levine

Maria Callas

Habanera - Covent Garden, 1962

Les Tringles Des Sistres Tintaient (The Gypsy Song)

Seguedille - Hamburg, 1962

The Card Scene

Finalewith Guiseppi de Stefano, Royal Festival Hall, 1973

Victoria de los Angeles



Anna Moffo


Je dis que rein ne m'epouvante

Top Row: Enrico Caruso, Tito Gobbi & Giuseppi de Stefano
  Bottom Row:
Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras & Luciano Pavarotti

La fleur que tu m-avais jetee - Placido Domingo

La Fleur que tu m'avais jetee - Jose Carreas

La fleur que tu m'avais jetee - Luciano Pavarotti

The Toreador Song - Ruggero Raimondi as El Matador (with Placido Domingo & Julia Migenes)

Labas, laba, dans la montagne - Elena Obraztsova and Placido Domingo

Finale - Agnes Baltza & Jose Carreras

Finale - Teresa Berganza & Placido Domingo

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf

The Card Scene - Elena Obraztsova, December 1978

The Card Scene - Shirley Verrett, 1971

The Card Scene - Stephanie Blythe, 2000

At the time of his death in 1959 at 38 years of age, Mario Lanza was still the most famous tenor in the world.   
The author Eleonora Kimmel said that he blazed like a meteor whose light lasts a brief moment in time.

La Fleur que tu m'avais jetee

Continue to Part Eight - A White Feather, A Man Called Peter and A Virgin Queen

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Copyrightę 2010 - : Charles S. P. Jenkins