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Georges Bizetís Carmen (from The Royal Opera House)

2010
Distributed by Films Media Group, PO Box 2053, Princeton, New Jersey 08543-2053; 800-257-5126
Produced by Nicolas JoŽl
Directed by Francesca Zambello
DVD, color, 2 hrs. 32 min.
Sr. High - Adult
Opera, Music, Theatre


Reviewed by Gerald Notaro, University Librarian, Nelson Poynter Memorial Library, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 3/10/2011

Carmen, unlike most operas, is one that is iconic; people recognize the music and the rose in the mouth of the main character. The name alone ignites passionate energy and imagery. This version serves all audiences well, from the introduction from conductor Antonio Pappano to the first rate cast. It can be used as much as a teaching tool as for personal viewing for the pure enjoyment of well produced opera. Though nothing compares to actually being at any opera performed live, this DVD combines the full stage lushness with intimate close ups of the characters, the musicians, and conductor that escape the best opera glasses. Unlike many operas that suffer under such close scrutiny, this Carmen looks even better close up. Anna Caterina Antonacci is the sexy, fireball expected, and Jonas Kaufmann makes a handsome, believable Don Jose. Norah Ansellum as Micheala and Ildebrando Díarcangeloís Escamillo are equally well sung and acted. Here is a rare opera cast that looks as good as it sounds, particularly important for a sultry and successful Carmen. This is as engaging and accessible as opera gets and thankfully restores dialogue missing from other versions. Extras to the double DVD include a documentary in English. Previous releases of this production were in 2007 and it 2008 and remains a highly recommended purchase.