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Bizet: Carmen

4.7 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Jonas Kaufmann and Anna Caterina Antonacci bring rare erotic intensity to the drama of Don José and Carmen in this darkly passionate reading of one of the most popular operas. Kaufmann uses his burnished tenor and smouldering good looks to portray the man undone by Carmen's love. As the object of his desire, Antonacci gives a physical and compelling performance.

Amazon.com

This Covent Garden production of Bizet’s Carmen, makes a vivid musical and dramatic impression. Director Francesca Zambello creates a properly Spanish atmosphere, filling the stage with a profusion of detailed characters. In Act One’s town square each of the many soldiers, strollers, cigarette factory girls, and children are individuals, so there’s a bustle of continuous, realistic activity. That attention to detail carries over to the rest of the opera, involving viewers in the action. Tanya McCallin’s sets are a perfect foil for the direction: simple, movable panels that serve as lightly sketched backdrops for the town square, a tavern, the smugglers’ mountain hideaway, and the final scene in front of the bull ring. But what makes this Carmen special is the singing and acting of the principals. Carmen is Anna Caterina Antonacci, a soprano known for the intensity she brings to her performances. Without taking anything to excess, her Carmen is a fiery temptress, sexy, insistent on setting her own terms for love and personal freedom. She sings all the set pieces well and, with tenor Jonas Kaufmann as her besotted lover, Don José, makes the final scene a hair-raising experience. If anything, Kaufmann trumps her with a beautifully sung, rounded portrait of the village boy turned soldier ensnared in a world beyond his experience. Kaufmann conveys the complexity of the character and etches his slow descent into obsessive madness. His rendition of the Flower Song is extraordinary for beauty of tone, phrasing and the soft singing essential to make this aria’s full impact. The toreador, Escamilio, is finely sung and acted by Ildebrando D’Arcangelo. He makes his entrance on horseback, sings the Toreador Song with brash arrogance, and projects this haughty, self-absorbed figure to perfection. And Norah Amsellem, as the village girl who loves Don José, uses her attractive soprano to depict her purity and innocence. Smaller roles are well done, with special mention due to bass Matthew Rose as Zuniga, the lieutenant of the guard. The vibrant conducting of Antonio Pappano is a big plus here; pacing is perfect, rhythms vibrantly precise, and melodies shaped with care. Under his baton, the Royal Opera House chorus and orchestra complete a rich, well-detailed performance of Bizet’s masterpiece. Lighting designs of Paule Constable add to the atmosphere of each scene, while television director Jonathan Haswell’s cameras always seem to be where they should be. --Dan Davis

Carmen is an all-regions disc in 16:9 ratio. Sound options include PCM Stereo and DTS 5.1 Surrdound. Sung in French, subtitles include English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Anna Caterina Antonacci, Jonas Kaufmann, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Norah Amsellem, Antonio Pappano
  • Directors: Francesca Zambello
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian (DTS 5.1), Italian (PCM), English (DTS 5.1), English (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Decca
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2008
  • Run Time: 152 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BWQVW2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,164 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bizet: Carmen" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By DDD VINE VOICE on October 29, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had great expectations for this DVD. First reviews were very good; secondly the cast promised great things on paper. For once it isn't necessary to hedge, qualify or equivocate in reviewing a DVD. I know the opera is called Carmen and Antonacci is wonderful, sexy vital and sings quite beautifully. My greatest enthusiasm. however, must go to Jonas Kaufmann's Don Jose. Quite simply it is the best sung and acted Jose I have ever seen or heard. Kaufmann clearly has thought about the character and the music as so much intelligence has gone into the creation we see on stage that I simply can't see it being bettered. Here is a tenor with brains, imagination and the intelligence to see light and shade in Jose's music. Most tenors go at full throttle, screaming out high notes and generally think that Jose is a verismo tenor. Well, he isn't; he is a complex conflicted man and Kaufmann brings this all to the character. The imagination he brings to the Flower Song is even better than Gedda's first go around with the role with Beecham conducting; by the time he recorded it a second time he was content to play the "tenor" to his Carmencita, Maria, content with going for volumn alone.

The remainder of the cast is more than first rate, with a fine Michaela from Norah Ansellem and Ildebrando D'arcangelo a properly arrogant Escamillo. Pappano provided wonderful support with the ROH playing beautifully.

The edition used was Oeser which has been savaged by music scholars and critics. I am not a scholar and will make no pretense at being one. But I was thrilled that much of the dialogue was returned and the dreadful recits which are dull musically discarded.
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Anna Caterina Antonacci is my favorite "Carmen" yet! She is a fabulous
singer and a an excellent actress as well. She also has the looks for
a truly believable Carmen. Jonas Kaufman, as Don Jose, is excellent.
This is my first introduction to his work, and he has a wonderful rich
voice. I never thought anyone could equal Samuel Ramey as the matador
Escamillo, but Ildebrando D'Arcangelo does! He plays the part with relish,
and I love his strong beautiful voice. I like the matador moves he displays in the choreography for his introductory "Toreador" song. This
opera is great fun. I own two other very good "Carmen" dvd's. One is the
Agnes Baltsa, Carreras and Ramey version and the other is the relatively
recent Carmen that was filmed in Verona with Marina Domashenko and Marco
Berti. This new one, starring Antonacci and Kaufman, is my favorite of the
three. Everything is perfect! It is so much fun to watch and listen to!
Highly recommended!
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If they give awards for opera performances, Anna Caterina Antonacci as Carmen and Jonas Kaufmann as Don Jose are surely both deserving of the highest honors. The singing, acting and sizzling passion between them in this production is extraordinary! I am a big admirer of Jonas Kaufmann and he was simply wonderful in this role. But, I've got to say, I was unexpectedly blown away by Anna Caterina Antonacci! I've seen her sing and act very expressively in a few Don Giovanni productions as Elvira, but I guess a role like Carmen is required in order to truly cut loose. And she did. Jonas Kaufmann I've compared to Placido Domingo before and here he sounds just as powerful and promising. The energy expended in the final act between these two was explosive.

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo was a gorgeous Escamillo entering on a gorgeous black horse. He was a perfect foil for Jonas Kaufmann. Norah Amsellem is a powerful singer with the intensity of an Isolde or a Brunnhilde, so to hear her cast as the shy, village girl Micaela is a little disconcerting. She has enough power and presence to be Carmen. But, I'm not complaining; she was excellent.

The supporting cast and chorus were terrific. The orchestra was perfect.

This is a marvelous Carmen. You'll love it!
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Signorina Antonacci is indeed a very good Carmen, but the star of this performace is Jonas Kaufmann. In all my years of opera going, stage or film,I have not seen a Don Jose quite like this young man. He just doesn't sing or play this role, he becomes Don Jose.His performance is the one by which I will measure all the Don Joses to come.
In the last scene of the opera, when he enters through that small door to face Carmen,with that smile on his face, you know that this man has gone beyond the point of no return, that face tells it all.
During the final encounter, the interaction was so real that I feared that he will actually do her physical harm.
Great stage coreography! This Carmen is a Carmen performance for the ages.I think that this is the first time that I have teared at the end of Carmen, not for Carmen, but Don Jose,so amazing was his portrayal of this broken man!
The rest of the cast was excellent. Norah Ansellem was a very believable Micaela and the Escamillo was right on target. I like the production, I recently saw the same production in 3-D at the movies with a different principal cast.
I am looking forward to see Jonas Kaufmann in December at the Metropolitan HD presentation of Faust.
I have become a fan,I see him as a cross between Corelli and Carreras at their prime.Let wish him a long career.
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