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Bizet - Carmen (Pappano, Kaufmann) [2008] [DVD]

Anna Caterina Antonacci , Jonas Kaufmann , Francesca Zambello    Exempt   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
Price: £11.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Bizet - Carmen (Pappano, Kaufmann) [2008] [DVD] + Puccini: Tosca [Royal Opera House, 2011] - Gheorghiu, Kaufmann, Terfel [DVD] [2012] + Puccini - La Boheme [The Metropolitan Opera HD Live 2008] [DVD]
Price For All Three: £37.97

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Product details

  • Actors: Anna Caterina Antonacci, Jonas Kaufmann, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Norah Amsellem, Antonio Pappano
  • Directors: Francesca Zambello
  • Format: AC-3, Classical, Colour, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, Italian
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Decca
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Sep 2008
  • Run Time: 152 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BWQVW2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,135 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars compelling 31 Jan 2012
By J. Hood
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Carmen" shocked audiences when first performed. Today we tend to be served up with the colourful gypsy, the jolly smugglers and the idealistic view of a romantic old Spanish town. This performance reminds us why audiences were shocked. This Carmen is a real slut, and her power over men is destructive. There is nothing jolly about the smugglers, reminding me of an updated production I saw some years ago in which they were translated into very unpleasant drug dealers. Maybe D'Arcangelo isn't the most charismatic Escamillo, but Michaela is sung with a strong beauty that doesn't make her a wet character. However, it is the two leads that steal it, as they have to. Antonacci has a real grip on her portrayal of Carmen. It's not so much sexy as semi-pornographic. This Carmen uses the word 'love' but has no idea what it is. What she has is power. You can well believe she will die rather than give into Don José.
What really impresses in this opera is Kaufmann's portrayal. To often, José is a drip. Kaufmann's José is a rounded character and you can see why Carmen goes after him, why she has to work hard on him and why, when he falls in love with her and is then rejected, the only end is tragedy - but not the tragedy of a weak man.
This isn't a pretty production but it is very true to the original concept. Four stars because i agree with those who say sound balance is slightly flawed. I can't wait for the ROH to release the Kaufmann/Gheorgiu/Terfel Tosca which was fabulous on the big screen.
You can take it for granted that the singing is of a very high quality.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This Royal Opera production, in superb Blu-ray or DVD formats, features a darkly aggressive Carmen with mutual hatred and a desire to destroy brought out strongly. This approach is made far more effective by use of the spoken script as Bizet intended rather than the recitatives that replaced the script later and are still often used.

The opening scene rightly emphasises Don Jose's murderous past more strongly than usual prior to joining the army as his escape from the law with an opening stage sequel showing Don Jose being taken off to be executed. Early in the opera Don Jose informs his commanding officer of his violent past which led to his joining the army. This essential violence in Don Jose's character is matched by that of Carmen but not understood by her for its likely conclusion. Kaufmann's Don Jose is not a weak man but rather a dangerously unstable man.

Antonacci, in this production, portrays Carmen as an essentially dominant woman intent on controlling men through sexual availability in order to achieve conquest over them. This is not the same as being interested in having a serial sexual interest in men. There is no indication in this production that this Carmen actually enjoys either men or sexual relationships. This is simply a story about power and control with a strong undercurrent of latent violence which leads to its inevitable conclusion.

Both Kaufmann and Antonacci sing and act their respective parts well and convincingly. Kaufmann is especially impressive in this dark portrayal and one which his voice suits perfectly. His portrayal is of such an outstanding nature that Don Jose's character and decline has an equal dramatic weight to match those features of Carmen.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing performance 11 April 2009
Astonishing performances from the two central leads makes this the most dramatically impressive performance on DVD, in my opinion. If you are looking for musicality and dramatic intensity of the highest order - which lifts this old warhorse out of the realm of sentimental cliche into a sphere akin to tragedy - then this is the one. The set is a very striking burnished orange and gold, the costumes have an authentic period look stripped of any glitzy romanticism. This may not be to everyone's taste but I found the overall effect to be very satisfying dramatically. Every now and then a production comes along that enables you to experience a classic piece as if for the first time. This is what Kaufman (the finest Don Jose on stage today) and Antonacci have done for me with this Carmen, to the point where I barely noticed any limitations of the production.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
This is a difficult production to criticise as there is a lot of passion and fine acting and singing from Anna Antonacci as Carmen and Jonas Kaufmann as Don Jose BUT the balance between the vocalists and the orchestra is wrong.
The audio quality is fine with the orchestral sound excellent but it dominates the vocalists with their sound recessed and distant. Add in that Ildebrando D'Arcangelo is a less than compelling Escamilo making this production a limited success.
A pity because the vocal/orchestra unbalance is the fault of the engineers who by this bad audio mixing have depreciated the efforts of some very fine singing. My previous favourite Carmen was also a Covent Garden effort but 15 years earlier and on laserdisc. I put it on just to see if my memory was an illusion but no, Maria Ewing is a sensational Carmen AND the vocal/orchestral mix on this LD production is what it should have been on the latest BluRay. But the video quality on this old laserdisc is pretty ghastly with washed out colours so no real competition to the 2006 effort.
Many of the scenes are dark and this has not favoured otherwise clear picture quality. So I have only given this BluRay video 4/5 overall.
So there you are, glorious orchestral sound but the overall audio balance not good. That said it is a great, tuneful and dramatic opera. It is not a disaster, but a bit of a disappointment for me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent as orchestrated by Pappano. Bought as gift for friend to introduce her to the glory of Grand Opera.
Published 1 month ago by carol scoreyxx
5.0 out of 5 stars A sleazy Carmen
I searched through the various You Tube offerings in search of a pleasing Carmen and this was the only one that appealed to me. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Biscuit
3.0 out of 5 stars carmen
speed of music seems a little too fast and spoils the enjoyment and the me3aning of the plot .otherwise wonderful but hard to listen to.
Published 7 months ago by sheila mary mackey
5.0 out of 5 stars Carmen
This is a stunning production of raw passions with excellent acting and superb singing. Jonas Kaufmann is one of the very best tenors.
Published 8 months ago by Rita Olivia Dale
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent wonderful cast and the singing second to none really enjoyed it & will watch it over & over again
Published 12 months ago by Lesley Smethurst
5.0 out of 5 stars Oozing Sex and Excitement
A superb production of Bizet's classic opera. I have seen many a lack lustre performance of Carmen but from the very first beat, this show is pure excitement mingled with red raw... Read more
Published 18 months ago by sandyrocks
5.0 out of 5 stars I have not yet been able to wath it due to illness but I am sure I...
I will let you know when I have watched it hpefully this next week, sorry this isn't a better reveiw
Published 18 months ago by Mrs June Milnes
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
You couldn't ask for more. Gorgeous singing and very very sexy. Earthly but conventional production but good camera work and excellent sound.
Published 18 months ago by B. Portes
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended Performance
This is an excellent quality recording with both the orchestra and the vocals sounding nicely "present". Read more
Published 19 months ago by Nath
5.0 out of 5 stars musically excellent, stage setting very poor.
This is a very passionate excellent production. Pappano is completely in charge and highly effective.
Kaufmann at his very best. . Read more
Published 21 months ago by Eva Mitchell
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