2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Thank you Mr Kaufmann!,
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This review is from: Bizet - Carmen (Pappano, Kaufmann)  [DVD] (DVD)
Carmen has never appealed to me mainly because of the instinctive abhorrence I feel for the qualities of the main character and the effort taken by the composer and the librettista to potray a vile, selfish and vulgar creature (a female Don Giovani you could say) as a fearless fatalist who loves her freedom. However, maybe they couldn't do otherwise. The opera is based on a book that I haven't read. To me, Carmen is a monster, an honest one, someone can claim, but still and always a monster. Don Jose is the poor guy who falls for the beast and suffers the consequences. If you really think about it, the opera is really about Don Jose and should have been named after him. It is his misfortune and downswing that the music and the spectator follow. Don Jose is therefore the main character and Jonas Kaufmann understands this fully. He is without doubt a very intelligent and gifted singing actor. So, this is the portrayal of a romantic man that makes a fatal mistake and not the portrayal of a milksop, which is what we usually get. Jonas Kaufmann gives a performance to be remembered. The guy has it all: looks, acting skills, voice. His voice rises to prominence in the French repertoire (see also his magnificent Werther). It is not a limber instrument and that is the reason why it can sound quite expressionless in Italian operas. Anna Caterina Antonacci is undoubtedly a sexy, convincing Carmen. This on its own is an achievement. It is not at all easy to find an opera singer to convince you that she is capable of leading a man astray. To sum it all up this the greatest Carmen you can get. I am giving it 4 stars because I find the ROH production somewhat cursory. That having been said, it stays well away of any annoying modernism (Thank you God!).