Carmen is a favourite of mine and perhaps THE French opera. Hearing that there is a condensed animated version might shock some people, but when you see it for yourself while not definitive it is not as bad as you might think. Things inevitably are left out of course, the plot here is merely the basic gist of that of the opera but it is actually done very well. I for one did not mind the omission of Micaela, I've always found her a flat character and she's not very memorable outside of the big duet and her Act 3 aria(often she is performed like the soprano doing the role knows that she is not very interesting and does little with it). I do think that Don Jose's big aria being left out was a mistake though, it is an aria essential to his character arc I find and its omission just makes his transition from sympathy and love to anger and jealousy seem sudden. The spoken parts aren't as good either, they have a tendency to sound rushed and over-enunciated and that for Don Jose is particularly bland. However, the animation is wonderful, the rotoscoping enhances the drama, especially in the dramatic final scene, and it looks very striking indeed in colour and how the technique is used. The story is a passionate one and there is evidence of some intense drama here. The music is without complaint, and performed by the orchestra with such authentic flavour. The singing is similarly excellent, Jean Rigby's seductive, firmly-voiced Carmen and Donald Maxwell's vocally rich and swaggering Escamillo coming off best. All in all, not definitive but an animated form that works very well. To see the full opera though and to witness its full dramatic thrust, look to the Julia Migenes-Johnson or Grace Bumbry films. 8/10 Bethany Cox.
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