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Carmen: Royal Opera House (Pappano) [Blu-ray] 
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Jonas Kaufmann and Anna Caterina Antonacci bring rare erotic intensity to the drama of Don Jos and Carmen in this darkly passionate reading of one of the most popular operas. With an image up to six times sharper than conventional DVD and superior high definition sound, Blu-Ray lets you watch opera and ballet performances from the front row of the theatre. Experience every detail, no matter how small, in the highest quality possible. With five times the memory of standard DVDs, Blu-Ray is a completely new way to experience the theatre at home.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
The only thing that doesn't go well with my taste is Norah Amsellem's singing. This may be just me but I find her vibrato on higher or louder notes somewhat excessive and grating, which is annoying as the general characteristic of her voice is lovely. I may have a dissenting opinion to some other reviewers, but it is interesting that the one problem for me is another reviewer's highlight...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Carmen as it should be performed, passionate, beautiful and captivating!Published 21 months ago by Elfed Roberts