Author Topic: A Donkey and a Horse.  (Read 1208 times)

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Brünnhilde forever

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A Donkey and a Horse.
« on: October 29, 2008, 06:49:42 PM »
Get ready to do your moaning and groaning, but don't scroll past just yet, you might miss a good picture! The moaning and groaning might come when I start talking about one of the most performed war horse operas:


When I first read about the ROH's Carmen, I muttered: "Not another one, please"! Then I read the director is Francesca Zambello, the very same talented lady who delighted all of us with her version of War and Peace. The second drawing card was Jonas Kaufmann's Don José. I have seen him in La Clemenza di Tito and was impressed by not only his voice, but also his acting. He is the native of Munich and has been lauded as the tenor to fill the void left by Pavarotti. Anna Caterina Antonacci I am not familiar with but she looked good in the advertisement for the Decca DVD!

No more groaning here about yet another Carmen to eventually end up in amazon Marketplace; this one is a keeper! So many reasons for keeping it, won't bother you with all, simply recommend you get this DVD as soon as possible, it's worth every penny. Antonio Pappano conducts the ROH orchestra with lots of zip and zing from the opening to the last chord; crisp pace, no lingering, well maybe once to let Ildebrando D'Arcangelo shine in his Escamillo entrance aria; let him take up all the air in his lungs to present this well-known Bizet bravura. Ildebrando is good-looking, sings wonderfully and knows how to get off and on this imposing black horse.

Antonacci is one of the most temperamental and erotic Carmen I have seen. I thought Von Otter did a good job of giving us a very erotic Scandinavian Carmen, Antonacci lights up the ROH with her passion. And there is Kaufmann! Simply incredible, that's all I can say. Even in the most dramatic moments his voice never lets up, strong, on the dot with every note. A bit different is the way he does the Flower Song, it's very sensitive, deep feelings expressed with emotional, tender singing, breaking down in heart-moving sobs.

The surprise is Norah Amsellem; usually the role of Micaële is an 'also ran, not this time. She might not look like the seventeen year old girl she portrays, but her voice makes up for any shortcomings. Anybody her familiar with her? I never heard or seen her, but I shall keep my eye and ear open.

As you can see by the photos the production follows the traditional lines, no concept or contemporary sets, costumes and idea. But yet Zambello did something with this opera, none other has accomplished, and I have seen my share of Carmens.

I know we have some Londoners here as members; did any of you see the performance? Give us your thoughts, please!
« Last Edit: October 29, 2008, 09:08:10 PM by Brünnhilde forever »