Carmen – Jonas Kaufmann
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Carmen – Jonas Kaufmann
Composer: Georges Bizet
Release Date: October 27, 2014
Director: Matthias Hartmann
Orchestra: Opernhaus Zurich
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.
Georges Bizet’s Carmen, which takes place in and around Seville, Spain tells of the downfall of a soldier, Don José, seduced by the wiles of the fiery gypsy, Carmen. José abandons his sweetheart and his military duties for Carmen, yet loses her love to the glamorous matador Escamillo, after which José kills her in a jealous rage.
Among the best-known of all operatic arias are Carmen’s “Habanera” from Act 1, sung by the title character and the toreador’s song, “Votre toast” in Act 2, performed by the matador Escamillo.
On January 9, 1884, Carmen was given its first Metropolitan Opera performance. Thereafter it was quickly incorporated into the Met's regular repertory. By the beginning of its 2018/2019 season the Met had performed Carmen well-over a thousand times.
Though the March 3rd,1875 world premiere at the Opéra Comique in Paris was a scandal, Carmen, soon became a triumphal success and has remained one of the most frequently staged operas in the world. Three months after its 33rd performance, Bizet died suddenly at the age of 37 never knowing how immensely popular Carmen would become.
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