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Bizet: Carmen / Pappano, Kaufmann, Antonacci

Bizet / Antonacci / Kaufmann / Roho / Pappano
Release Date: 10/28/2008 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001216709  
Composer:  Georges Bizet
Performer:  Viktoria VizinMatthew RoseIldebrando D'ArcangeloJonas Kaufmann,   ... 
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden OrchestraRoyal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  
DVD:  $27.49
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The New Production from The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Filmed in HD

"Two dazzling stars" The Telegraph

"Physical and sexy" London Evening Standard

"Kaufmann and Antonacci are that rare breed: superb singers who can also act with subtlety and passion" The Guardian

With Anna Caterina Antonacci and Jonas Kaufmann bringing rare erotic intensity to the drama of Carmen and Don Jose, this new Royal Opera production is a darkly passionate reading of one of the world's favourite operas.

Under the baton of Music Director Antonio Pappano, Bizet's irresistible score drives the tragedy forward - powering a landmark staging of a musical
Read more masterpiece.

Jonas Kaufmann smoulders as Don Jose in this acclaimed production recorded at the Royal Opera House, London in 2007.

Carmen - Anna Caterina Antonacci
Don Jose - Jonas Kaufmann
Micaela - Norah Amsellem
Escamillo - Ildebrando D'Arcangelo
Morales - Jacques Imbrailo
Zuniga - Matthew Rose
Frasquita - Elena Xanthoudakis
Mercedes - Viktoria Vizin
Lillas Pastia - Caroline Lena Olsson
Le Dancaire - Jean Sebastien Bou
Le Remendado - Jean-Paul Fouchecourt

Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House

Format: AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish
Region: All Regions
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 1
Color Mode: Color

This terrifically-cast and conducted Carmen goes to the top of the list, which is saying a great deal given the quality of the competition: Julia Migenes and Placido Domingo in the filmed version is still crucial; Carreras and Baltsa are fiery at the Met; Karajan has plenty to say with Bumbry and Vickers. The look here, by Tanya McCallin, is essentially realistic and uncomplicated, with no attempts at grandeur; the basic orange walls that can be raised, lowered, and moved are a bit low-rent, but are never less than effective. And the feel is decidedly Spanish.

Francesca Zambello gets the opera's flavor right, although so many animals, acrobats, and extras can make you fear that she's going in a Zeffirellian direction. Her treatment of the two main characters is not busy: Carmen is alluring but never over-the-top; José is a kid gone wrong, as surprised by his own passions as we are. She mostly keeps out of the drama's way, adding nothing rash or new, which is just fine.

The singing and conducting are knockouts. The doomed couple is great-looking, intense, young, and believable, and they create a great deal of heat just by gazing at one another. Anna Caterina Antonacci, a soprano Carmen (she's a staggering Ermione in Rossini's opera), has no trouble at all with the role's low tessitura or dark hue--she adapts her voice to the character ideally. She's no teenager but she's a woman in full bloom, so assured of her sensuality and sexuality that she rarely needs to "turn it on". Her Card Scene, without resorting to much chest voice, is dangerously dark and tragic.

Partnering her with great enthusiasm is the heartthrob tenor Jonas Kaufmann. Tall and handsome, he is comfortable on stage and utterly musical: he phrases naturally, obeys dynamic markings, and has all of the notes easily within his grasp. His "Flower Song" is all of a piece, beautifully formed and filled with feeling, and his final confrontation with Carmen is the picture of building rage. He is nicely tender with the mush-mouthed Micaela of Norah Ansellem--she sings prettily and, miraculously, creates a real character. But what poor diction--especially considering that she's the cast's only native French speaker! Ildebrando d'Arcangelo is well suited in every way for Escamillo: both ends of his voice are strong enough and he knows how to swagger. Carmen's fellow smugglers are a good bunch and their performances in the second-act quintet are spotless.

Antonio Pappano gives us another wonderful reading--is there anything he conducts poorly? His rhythmic sense is without equal, his pacing allows the action to unfold in seemingly real time and without eccentricities. The brash introduction sets the scene, and so do the tragic darker moments; the languid opening choruses tell us where we are and what the temperature is. Bizet's expert scoring is underlined but never artificially highlighted. The drama goes just as it should, and even the overly familiar moments are a joy to hear. Sound, picture, and presentation (subtitles in all major European languages--except Italian and Chinese) are first-rate, and Jonathan Haswell's direction for the small screen highlights the right moments. This is the first choice for Carmen on DVD.

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Carmen by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Viktoria Vizin (Mezzo Soprano), Matthew Rose (Bass), Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (Bass),
Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor), Norah Amsellem (Soprano), Elena Xanthoudakis (Soprano),
Anna Caterina Antonacci (Soprano)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Magnificent! May 22, 2012 By Christina Busby (Paddington, Australia) See All My Reviews "There have been many versions of Bizet's wonderful opera but this performance is exceptional. Great production from Covent Garden and wonderful casting of Anna Caterina Antonacci but most especially Jonas Kaufmann as Don Jose!! Wow! His singing magificent, he is a great actor and he has looks to die for. Check him out in this DVD girls!!!" Report Abuse
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