I love Carmen, and I'd see any production of it. While not my favourite Carmen(the 1984 and 1967 films) this is still extremely good. The sets are not the most authentic of sets, other productions I've seen exude more Spanish flavour, but neither are they sparse either. The costumes are beautifully tailored, and in terms of picture, video directing and sound the production is also winning. You can really feel and heat and smell the blood in the lively orchestral playing, while the chorus sing with much vigour and the conducting keeping the pace going superbly. Only in Je Vais Danser En Votre Honneur is it not so good, Uria-Monzon and the orchestra get out of sync with one another as it seems. The staging is moving and intense, not in a long time have I seen a better treatment of the Segudilla/arrest scene. You can actually feel the tension between Carmen and Don Jose both dramatically and sexually, symbolised in the rope. The death scene is also very dramatic. Norah Amsellem is a very moving Micaela, the character is flat but Amsellem as well as singing beautifully in her Act 3 aria is always involving., you really feel Micaela's loyalty and especially her pain and hurt of Don Jose leaving her for Carmen. Ludovic Tezier is a charismatic Escamillo, I think he could have done with a better costume, but the swagger and sonorous voice are still there. Beatrice Uria-Monzon's Carmen is exceptional, flirtatious, sexy, passionate and seductive and I love her rich, plummy mezzo voice. Apart from his 1994 Romeo and 1997 Macduff Roberto Alagna has rarely been better as Don Jose, his strong virile tone, affecting artistry and perfect diction make it a superb performance vocally, and the transition from sympathetic soldier to dangerous vagabond is more than convincing, like in the death scene you could literally see the fire in Alagna's eyes. All in all, an outstanding Carmen. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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