Try Baltsa or Mignes Johnson
Edgar Sanilevich | 04/27/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"There are three other Carmens on DVD and all of them are better than this one. Even better is the Karajan that was released on laser and will perhaps make it to DVD. If you insist on Maria Ewing get her other one.The staging is not misguided and I think the singing and her supporting cast is better. I prefer Carreras and Baltsa and Ramey and the Metropolitian Opera who give a great performance. The movie with Raimondi and Mignes Johnson and Domingo and is terrific. Both also have great Michaelas. Both of these DVD's also provide French as well as English subtitles,and wouldn't it be nice if original language subtitles were available for all opera DVD releases. They all CAN do it but they all don't because they are just not willing to put in the little bit of extra effort that makes the difference. 2 stars instead of 1 just out of respect for the music. Better to have this Carmen than no Carmen."
Edgar Sanilevich | Bucharest, Romania | 08/06/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When looking for Carmen on DVD I read the reviews and picked this one because of the special staging ant the flamenco extra and I was not disappointed!
A grand-scale production with a large cast of 80,beautifully staged and with an extra 10 minutes flamenco dance.
Maria Ewing combines great singing with powerful acting.Her Carmen is vivid,sensual and full of passion.
The best Carmen I have seen.
If you want to "hear" the opera then you may find better versions on CD,but if you want to"see" the opera, this is the DVD to buy!
I liked the staging,the choreography and the acting.
I give it only 4 stars because of the supporting casting which is good but no more."
Please! Pass this one by!
Edgar Sanilevich | 08/06/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this Carmen because the idea of an opera in the round seemed too fascinating to miss. How wrong I was. Yes, the concept was cool, but the staging director seemed to be more enamored with the space than with the story, which lead to uninspired blocking of what really isn't all that cool a performance space. While there were a lot of choreography scenes, these too were very mediocre, not the least because the camera doesn't know what to focus on. The flamenco scene in Act 4 was expertly performed and fascinating...and brought what little drama there was to a screeching halt! Again, the camera shortcoming applies, and the "cantor" was beyond irritating. Now to the cast. With the exception of Dancairo, it's amazing that from the leads to the chorus, the women are outstanding while the men are a joke! Maria Ewing is vocally rough most of the time, and her facial expressions are extreme, but at least she built a character, which is more than I can say about Jaque Trussel as Don Jose. He has a very nice voice with a ringing top, but he doesn't do anything with it. His Don Jose is agonizingly bland, and when we tries to turn on the heat and intensity, it seems so forced and unnatural that it is almost laughable. Speaking of laughable, how about Alain Fondary as Escamillo? It's not that he looks like Mr. Clean on a diet of twinkies that upsets me, I kind of dug the whole "sugar daddy" approach, it's that he had absolutely no charisma, so essential to the part. He was almost as bland as Trussel, and had a poor sense of rhythm to boot! He even screwed up the Toreador song! Miriam Gauci was a very sweet and honest Micaela. It wasn't a fierce or big portrayal like one might see in an opera house, but it was just very simple and homest, which made her aria particulary attention grabbing. I'm sure Remandado would have been better had his mic been on most of the time. Of course I could say that about most of the cast. Men's chorus: sloppy. Women's chorus: exquisite. I couldn't even hear the children's chorus, even though it was obvious they were screaming their lungs out. All in all, the main travesty that this Carmen committed is that it was boring, which is hard to accomplish with Carmen, but they did it. Everything from blocking, to costumes, to lighting (except the third act), to choreography was dull and uninspired. The Met had better choreography to the Act II Gypsy song. So get that DVD, or Covent Garden, or the Domingo movie. Any of those would be preferable to this one. Avoid at all costs!"