Behind the near-mythical figure of the emancipated woman, the dazzling spectacle of the group tableau and vibrant seduction of the Spain of dreams, all its authenticity and brilliance have been restored to the world's most performed opera in the opera house where it was first performed in 1875. A veritable back to the origins for the masterpiece by Georges Bizet, who died at the age of thirty six, only a few weeks after finishing his controversial work, the tremendous success of which he was ever to know. By presenting it here in a brand-new version with instruments of the period, in an endeavour to rekindle the original musical and theatrical flame, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Adrian Noble have reconstructed the unusual movement of the chorus and difficult dialogue between characters as a human, carnal tragedy.
This spectacular opera film was taped in 1967 and is based on the 1966 Salzburg Festival production directed by Herbert von Karajan himself, who also conducts the fabulous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The production features the three greatest exponents of their respective roles at the time: Grace Bumbry’s magnificently seductive-toned Carmen, Mirella Freni’s ineffably lovely, touching Micaëla and Jon Vickers’s thrillingly manic-depressive Don José.
This outstanding work is given no better a performance than here from the principles and the fine Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus. The role of Carmen is sung with a fiery passion by the very powerful mezzo of Agnes Baltsa. Her interaction with Carreras is emotionally powerful as well as musically satisfying. Special mention must be given to the wonderful interpretation of the role of Don Jose by Carreras- the best interpretation available in audio today( note the brilliant recording with Karajan)… By musicman
Musically, the production is excellent. Béatrice Uria-Monzon is a smart…Roberto Alagna is in excellent voice, too, offering honeyed tones that never disguise his passion or his potential for violence…Erwin Schrott is an impressively self-confident Escamillo…The other roles are well handled-and Marc Piollet and the orchestra provide a high-contrast palette, with plenty of detail and vitality. Sound is first-rate, as is clarity of the picture; and the patient and luxurious camerawork avoids the hyperactivity that mars so many opera videos these days. All in all, then, a very good Carmen… (Fanfare)
With Anna Caterina Antonacci and Jonas Kaufmann bringing rare erotic intensity to the drama of Carmen and Don Jose, this 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 masterpiece.