I was already a fan of David McVicar's when I brought this, having seen his Guilio Cesare and Nozze di Figaro, and he didn't dissapoint with this offering. I hadn't seen Carmen when I first saw this (I know, that's shameful) but now it's one of my favourite works.
Anne Sofie von Otter dominates the production as Carmen; she sings brilliantly, and she brings a raw, rough sexuality to the character (typified by her sniffing her own armpit at one point). Lisa Milne brings such sweetness to the role of Michaela, that I thought I was going to cry for her at one point. The Toreador is equally fine, but I found the Don Jose to be a weak link in the chain - he just seemed to be mildly irritated when he was ment to be driven to distraction by Carmen. BUT... that really really doesn't matter at all. The musical performance is superb (although I really wanted to hit the conductor because of his pretentious and over-the-top dancing on the podium) and the sets and costumes are brilliant, with shades of red and black being used to really give a sense of stiffling heat and sexuality.
I have one warning, however. Once you've seen von Otter as Carmen, no one else will ever compare. I know as I've seen many other Carmens since I first watched this one, and no one else matches up. You have been warned.