Classical CD review, December 2008
BIZET: Carmen
Anna Caterina Antonacci (Carmen); Jonas Kaufman (Don José); Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (Escamillo); Norah Amsellem (Micaëla); Royal Opera House Chorus and Orch/Antonio Pappano, cond.
DECCA DVD BLU-RAY VIDEO 0743313 TT: 152 min.
From Britain's Royal Opera House we have a performance of Carmen filmed in December 2007. Francesca Zambello's production is beautiful indeed, but costumes are ultra-colorful, exaggerated and inappropriate: in the final scene. Carmen wears an elaborate gown with a bustle that would have fit in well in a production of Gone With the Wind—totally wrong. There usually is a lot of activity on stage as well as, on occasion, a horse, a donkey, and chickens! All female singers display maximum cleavage, even in wintry scenes. The performance is valuable in some ways, particularly the intense Don José of Jonas Kaufman, beautifully sung with dramatic intensity. He almost sounds like a baritone, and one can easily imagine him singing major Wagner roles in the future. Anna Caterina Antonacci is a rather matronly Carmen, coping as well as she can with Zambello's costumes. Norah Amsellem's Micaëla is assured and at least she is not overdressed, and Ildebrando D'Arcangelo is a strong Escamillo. Antonio Pappano keeps things moving nicely, and the Blu-Ray production is vivid visually and sonically. The primary interest here is Jonas Kaufman.

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