Carmen – Jonas Kaufmann

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Carmen – Jonas Kaufmann
Composer: Georges Bizet
Release Date: October 27, 2014
Conductor: Franz-Welser-Most
Director: Matthias Hartmann
Jonas Kaufmann
Vesselina Kasarova
Orchestra: Opernhaus Zurich
Label: Decca
Language: English
Subtitles: French (sung language), English, German
Region: 0 (worldwide)
Run time:  166 minutes
Number of discs: 1

In 2008 the Opernhaus Zurich staged this magnificent production starring virtuoso tenor Jonas Kaufmann as Don Jose and the Bulgarian Vesselina Kasarova as the flirtatious prima-donna of the title role.

Mezzo-soprano Kasarova is dazzling as the tough-as-nails, beautifully unsentimental heroine – think classic Sophia Loren meets West Side Story.

Kaufmann, in the guise of a Spanish police officer, brilliantly portrays the blustering but naive Don Jose as a modern contrast of hard-edged machismo and out-of-his-depths vulnerability.

Director Matthias Hartmann refreshed one of the greatest and most popular operas of all time with touches of a contemporary setting and costume designs that emphasize the timeless archetypes of the characters.

This production of Carmen enthralled audiences with the visceral physical quality of the performances, enhanced by a single panoramic set for all four acts that is stripped of the traditional Spanish styling.

Kaufmann superbly presents Don Jose as awkward, socially inept and doomed for disillusionment. Kasarova’s Carmen commands attention with a soft and sensual exterior that hides her ruthless and sinister heart in plain view.

Franz-Welser-Most conducted Bizet’s score with chiselled detail in his
final assignment as Zurich’s Generalmusikdirektor before moving to
the Vienna State Opera as Chief Conductor.



One of the most popular operas of all time, Georges Bizet’s Carmen (1875) tells the story of a beautiful and passionate gypsy whose love affair with an officer ends in tragedy. The score boasts several of opera’s greatest hits, including Carmen’s Habanera and the Toreador Song.

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