I adore Carmen, and would see anything related to it. This Glyndebourne production is very good, albeit not as great as I know it could have been. The costumes and sets are more than satisfactory, the costumes are fine and while some may feel the want of more authentic settings they are far from cheap either. The video directing is fine, the quality has many fine moments but sometimes it's iffy. The music of course is amazing, as are the compelling story and the truly memorable character of Carmen. The orchestra play with plenty of the Spanish flavour that I feel is needed, and Bernard Haitink conducts with assurance. The singing is mostly very good, except for David Holloway's Escamillo who was rather uncompelling and I had the sense the Toreador's Song was too low for him. Barry McCauley is mostly excellent as Don Jose, very reliable in both singing and acting, if occasionally strained in the high register. Marie McLaughlin broke my heart as Micaela, and the chorus are beautifully balanced, but it is Maria Ewing who absolutely nails the tempestuous Carmen that makes the production as watchable as it is. All in all, Ewing is wonderful, the production is very good. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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