Richard Eyre, Production & Gary Halvorson
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Richard Eyre’s stunning new production of Bizet’s opera was the talk of the town when it was unveiled on New Year’s Eve 2009. Elīna Garanča leads the cast as the iconic gypsy of the title—a woman desired by every man but determined to remain true to herself. Roberto Alagna is Don José, the soldier who falls under her spell and sacrifices everything for her love, only to be cast aside when the toreador Escamillo (Teddy Tahu Rhodes) piques Carmen’s interest. With dances created by star choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and conducted by rising maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin, this Carmen brings every aspect of Bizet’s tale to thrilling life, from its lighthearted beginning to its inevitably tragic climax. Elīna Garanča appears courtesy of Deustche Grammophon.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 10
- Fresh: 8
- Rotten: 2
- Average Rating: 6.4/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: This is a solid but traditional production of a familiar piece, and it probably won't bring the cognoscenti to their knees.
Fresh: The 3-D technology enables Napier to establish audience rapport with the principals who literally emerge from the stage. It is a remarkably intimate experience.
Fresh: One of the most heartening theatrical developments in recent years has been the success of the Metropolitan Opera HD broadcasts.
Rotten: While these camera angles and close-ups perch you close to the action, the stage begins to feel claustrophobic and the impact of the spectacle is diluted.
This sizzling hot performance will make you want to desert the army, too…
If La Bohème is the ideal opera for a first date, then Carmen, most certainly, is the opera for the second date. This production is so sizzling hot, that even the staunchest librarian will forget about the Dewey Decimal System.
Elina Garanca is so convincing as the love-and-death obsessed gypsy, Carmen, that I had to check her bio to see if she isn’t actually part-gypsy herself. Well unless gypsies have taken over Latvia, let’s just say she is a remarkable singer and convincing actress. Obviously, this being the Met, all the other roles are sung superbly, as well.
This opera is easy to watch and listen to. In essence it is one huge collection of songs, with some dialogue thrown in to move the plot along. Even the first-time opera goer will recognize tune after tune. The orchestral score also is rich with lively Spanish-sounding motifs that will make you want to dance while watching. [Hey, you’re watching at home, you can do what you want.]
Ironically, in spite of all the beautiful music, I find myself never really caring about the characters in this opera to the same degree that Verdi manages to evoke in his operas. Don José, leaving behind lovely, perfect-pitch singing Barbara Frittoli, and sacrificing a promising military career to go into the smuggling trade, just for one night of passion, doesn’t show too many male smarts. [Hey, this was the 1820’s when jobs were even more difficult to find than they are nowadays.]
Carmen, we may love and envy for her audacious and bodacious perspective on life, but when that comes to its inevitable conclusion, one will not feel like shedding a single tear. Similarly Escamillo, the song-obsessed toreador, is nothing more than a crowd-pleasing show-off. The only character that we care about is Micaëla [Barbara Frittoli] who intersperses this story with genuine caring and in a way is the real victim of all the misguided actions.
Notwithstanding a lack of empathy or sympathy for most of the characters, this is a must-view opera and this production is absolutely superb. Don’t miss this chance to see a musical masterpiece performed by one of the world’s greatest music ensembles. Thank you Met HD and iTunes for bringing us these wonderful works.
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O.M.G! Elina Garanca sizzles! A must see.