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Bizet: Carmen (Yannick Nezet-Seguin and Elina Garanca) [DVD] [2010] [NTSC]

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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  • Bizet: Carmen (Yannick Nezet-Seguin and Elina Garanca) [DVD] [2010] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Format: Colour, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Universal
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Aug. 2010
  • Run Time: 175 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003ELZL0Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 69,605 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus for this 2009 production of Bizet's Carmen starring Elina Garanca and Roberto Alagna.

About the Director

John Eliot Gardiner is one of the most versatile conductors of our time. Acknowledged as a key figure in the early music revival, he is the founder and artistic director of the Monteverdi Choir, the English Baroque Soloists and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. The extent of his repertoire is illustrated in over 250 recordings which have received numerous international awards. Over the years Gardiner has won more Gramophone awards than any other artist. Probably the most francophile of English conductors, John Eliot Gardiner returned to the Opéra Comique, Paris for a much aclaimed production of Carmen last year. On June 25th it was broadcast live to 50 theatres in France and Switzerland and also recorded for TV. This followed an exciting collaboration that began in December 2007 with Chabrier s Opera bouffe L'Etoile, which had opened the new theatre at Opera Comique in December 2007.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
My thanks to a reader who has found these reviews wrongly listed by Amazon under other recordings as well as being correctly listed under the correct performances. Unfortunately this is a common problem with listings and cannot be corrected by reviewers. Please be patient and understanding and either scroll down past this review or read it for unintentional additional interest if appropriate! Thanks - Ian Giles

(My solution is to post both reviews under the one heading - Gardiner-Antonacci first followed by Garanca at the Met. If you are reading this review in the wrong place please be patient - it is beyond my control but both are here! Thanks, Ian Giles)

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1: Review of Carmen at the Opera Comique - Gardiner and Antonacci
This recording, made in 2009, is a very different proposition to the many alternative versions currently available and for many reasons as will follow. Essentially Gardiner has returned to one of the three available versions to get back as far as possible to Bizet's original intentions. As a result the performance, uniquely performed on instruments of Bizet's period, was put on in the theatre that Bizet wrote it for. That theatre adds its own special characteristics. In addition there is a great deal more dialogue in this version than the alternative new versions which also claim to have restored the dialogue and there is also a great deal more actual music. Admirers of Anna Antonacci will also have noticed that this is now her second performance on video disc and this performance differs from her previous version at Glyndebourne in many ways.
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This is a live DVD of a Metropolitan Opera production by Richard Eyre transmitted in January 2010. I saw a production at the Royal Opera House in October 2009. It was different, the producer was Francesca Zambello, but what the two performances had in common were Elina Garanca and Roberto Alagna - and that was what really mattered. These two are sensational. I believe that Garanca is one of the greatest Carmens that I have ever seen and she truly epitomises the character. Her acting is superb, at first a sexy, alluring provocative creature and then as the opera progresses, and she tires of Don Jose, showing a different, tough side to her character. And one gets the feeling that she knew that death was ahead of her even before she turns up the fateful cards. Vocally she is sheer perfection. I almost get the feeling that this was a role especially created for her (nonsense I know). I think that this is one of Alagna's greatest roles. He is a man, at first hopelessly entrapped by the allure of this beautiful woman, and so obsessed by her that he ruins his own life. Both his singing and his acting are outstanding. Just look at the two of them together in Act 4, outside the bull ring. This is acting and singing of the highest level, both hair raising and yet in the final moments quite moving as well. There are other pleasures too, notably Barbara Frittoli's heartfelt Micaela and the wonderful Met Opera Orchestra. But it is the two stars who dominate and make it a 'must' for anyone who loves this opera.
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Elina Garança is a great Carmen. Passionate but subtle, with a great instrument that she knows how to invest with meaning. Alagna would have been a better Don Jose a few years ago. The role taxes his present voice to the limit and the high notes are not always on the mark. That he sings the climatic high note in his aria piano (as it should be by the way), though in falsetto, seems in his case a good idea for more than one reason. But his is nevertheless a very idiomatic and mostly very well sung Don Jose, with the right dramatic sense. Frittoli, without being a memorable Micaela, is good enough for the role and the last minute replacement for Escamillo saves the occasion without disgracing himself. The new production by Richard Eyre is a mixed bag, combining fresh and even brilliant ideas (Don Jose putting back Carmen's ring after killing her is just one of them) with some silly touches (Don Jose in the final duet brandishing an enormous cross at Carmen, who stands back in horror as if a vampire), but what really almost ruins for me the performance is the ridiculous setting. An ugly circular wall in ruins has to do for the square in Seville, a tavern, the mountains and even the exterior of the grandiose Maestranza bull ring. For no good reason updated apparently to the forties, during general Franco's dictatorship (although a guardia civil appears reading El País, a newspaper born with democracy many years later), this is a very gloomy Carmen. With no sign of sunny Spain, Carmen first appears to sing her Habanera saddened by the most unsexy outfit they could think of (one wonders why so many men are fussing about her!) and from a hole in the floor of the stage (go figure).Read more ›
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I am giving this 4 stars purely because of the magnificent performance of Elina Garanca. However I would have to strongly disagree with some reviewers who say this is the 'Best Carmen Ever' and similar comments. Far from it, the overall production is just an also ran.

Firstly Elina Garanca. She is the best Carmen for a while, not only because of her smooth beautiful voice transitioning effortlessly between the upper range and lower tones but because of the way she brings a fresh interpretation to the role of Carmen, seductive but with a cold edge, sexy but not over the top. I have to say Elina Garanca matches her performance in Donizetti: Anna Bolena [Blu-ray] [2011][Region Free] here in Carmen.

Roberto Alagna sings the role of Don Jose reasonably well but is a step below Jonas Kaufmann Bizet: Carmen [Blu-ray] [2008] who is the best Don Jose by a long way. Alagna does seem to have regained some of his voice since losing some weight easily reaching high B-flat in "La fleur que tu m'avais jetée," . In my opinion he has always been a good tenor but never a great tenor when compared to Kaufmann or Rolando Villazon (pre-throat issues) He was never as good as his wife Angela Gheorghiu and it is the same with Elina Garanca, he is just not quite up to her class. Physically he is believable and does act quite well. Overall he is acceptable.

Micaela is sung by Barbara Frittoli, while perfectly acceptable she is not as good as Norah Amsellem who sang Micaela in the Covent Garden production with Kaufman.
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