58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Spanish Drama, 12 Aug. 2004
A fantastic record of a live performance Broadcast from the Met in the late 1980's. As you would anticipate the production is both spectacular and overblown - complete with horses and a cast of 1000s. So much for a small tavern in Seville - this one would make the largest hotels look spartan.
But the performance contains fantastic performances from all 4 principals. Mitchell is a sweet innocent, if slightly nervous Michaela on what was her Met debut; Ramey a flamboyantly virile, wonderfully sung Escamillo; Carreras is maybe not your ideal Don Jose, and can be wooden but sings beautifully throughout. However the real star is the great Agnes Baltsa - a hugely dramatic, fantastically sung performance at the peak of her career.
The orchestra under Levine play the familiar score in spectacular fashion - making the most of every moment.
This can be a hackneyed opera, suffering from over familiarity. But this is a performance that reminds you of precisely why it is still one of the most popular, and greatest, operas written.