Cylinder of the Month

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An early Edison operatic cylinder offering from 1903 – the Toreador Song from Carmen.

Toreador Song from Carmen

Company Edison's National Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 12020
Category Baritono
Title Toreador Song from Carmen
Performed by Antonio Vargas
Circa 1903
Announcement "Il Toreador en la Carmen, cantado por el senor Antonio Vargas, Edison Recordo."

This record was part of an early series of foreign operatic recordings produced in 1903 by Edison to help broaden the appeal of his musical offerings.   Many were recorded in Spain by the mysterious Antonio Vargas.   I have not been able to locate a photograph of Vargas, and some of the recordings under his name seem possibly to be of another voice – perhaps Vargas was a 'catch-all' name for various Spanish singers.

Three years later, Edison introduced his new "Grand Opera" catalog of premium two-minute wax cylinders.   Compare this 1903 recording with Edison's 1906 Prologo, Pagliacci cylinder from the early Grand Opera series.

To hear the Toreador Song from Carmen   —

For help playing these sounds, click here.

Many thanks to Greg Thymius for helping get the announcement portion right.

— This cylinder is from the Frank V. de Bellis collection at San Francisco State University —


To hear other examples of wax cylinders, see the

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