It's a familiar story: Act 1, boy meets girl, goes to jail for her. Act 2, boy is out of jail, girl rewards him with special favors. Act 3, girl is bored already, moving on. Act 4, boy kills girl for ruining his life. We've all been there.

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Trevor Scheunemann ...
Barbara Frittoli ...
Roberto Alagna ...
Keith Miller ...
Elina Garanca ...
Carmen, a gypsy
Elizabeth Caballero ...
Sandra Piques Eddy ...
Teddy Tahu Rhodes ...
Earle Patriarco ...
Le Dancaïre
Keith Jameson ...
Maria Kowroski ...
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Metropolitan Opera Ballet ...
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Herself - Host
Metropolitan Opera Chorus ...
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It's a familiar story: Act 1, boy meets girl, goes to jail for her. Act 2, boy is out of jail, girl rewards him with special favors. Act 3, girl is bored already, moving on. Act 4, boy kills girl for ruining his life. We've all been there.

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21 February 2011 (Japan)  »

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Version of Carmen (1969) See more »

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Some may disagree, but while it is not perfect, this is one of the better Carmens I've seen
13 December 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I love Carmen, it is one of my all-time favourites. Of the productions I've seen, this Carmen is not as good as the 1984 and 1967 films which are the definitive Carmens to me. However, despite its problems it is one of the better Carmens I've seen and I've seen almost all that are listed on IMDb.

Not only that, it is for me one of the better Met:Live in HD broadcasts, up there with Eugene Onegin, Il Trittico, Dr Atomic, La Boheme, Thais, La Rondine, Il Puritani and La Sonnambula, and infinitely superior to the disappointing Lucia Di Lammermoor(the Netrebko production) and the fiascoes that were Tosca and Hansel and Gretel.

The Met production of Carmen is not perfect. I didn't like it that the final scene is when a massive bull gets slaughtered. This didn't work for me seeing as it is intended for the final scene to be a confrontation between Carmen and Don Jose(beautifully played otherwise by both leads with Garanca especially intense), which is one of the highlights of the opera, having a wooden bull really diminished the drama and gave a somewhat campy feel that didn't sit right with me.

My other flaw is the performance of Escamillo, courtesy of Teddy Tahu-Rhodes. Granted the role is very promises-more-than-you-can-deliver sort of role, and one where it is difficult not to ham it up a notch. Rhodes is good vocally I give you that, but his presence is very uncompelling, I missed the confidence and swagger needed for the role.

Flaws aside, the production looks great, the costumes look lovely and the scenery and backdrops have a real sense of authenticity. The high definition still is promising as is the sound. The choreography in the preludes is inspired and very confidently performed.

Musically, this Carmen is outstanding. There is some real Spanish flavour in the orchestration, and Nezet-Seguin's conducting one of the more electrifying conducting jobs since Kleiber or Abbado. The chorus, particularly in Les Voici, are also excellent.

The principals are outstanding. For me the standouts were Keith Miller as Zuniga, a wonderful portrayal and one of the better ones of this role I've seen, and Elina Garanca(replacing Angela Gheorghiu) as a very seductive, flirtatious, sexy yet very icy and controlled Carmen, even attempting the trills and ornamentations written in the score and very well.

Roberto Alagna is also solid as Don Jose, though I do think he is more believable showing his sympathetic side than his darker, tormented side. His acting is superb throughout, his french diction faultless and the voice intelligently used generally, but he can go sharp under pressure in the more dramatic passages and he sadly cracks on the B flat in the Flower Song, which was otherwise a deeply felt rendition of the aria. Apparently he did have a cold, so that does explain things if true.

I do consider Micaela a flat character, though her act three aria Je Dis Que Rien M'Enpouvente is very poignant. Barbara Frittoli does sing and act beautifully, even if a tad mechanical at the start, and her chemistry with Alagna is believable, against all this she doesn't quite go the extra mile to make Micaela more credible than she already is.

Overall, not flawless but one of the better Carmens I've seen. 8.5/10 Bethany Cox


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