Bizet Carmen Antonacci/Kaufmann 0743312

Undoubtedly what redeemed the evening was the singing and orchestral playing, where refined is the word that comes most to mind . . . Antonio Pappano¿s increasingly lyrical, vigorous though expansive conducting style . . . reminds me a little of James Levine as a similar `all rounder¿ conductor of everything from Puccini to Wagner . . . He marshalled his forces extremely well keeping a perfect balance and ensemble between stage and orchestra particularly when the exceptional chorus were at full throttle . . . Undoubtedly Anna Caterina Antonacci¿s Carmen was able to excite a great proportion of the male audience. Hers was a very knowing Carmen whose every swirl of her skirt, glance, glimpse of cleavage or leg was calculated for maximum impact on the idiot male of the species. She oozed a sensual, sexual magnetism of a type rarely seen in opera. Her soprano voice has an elemental seductive quality with plenty of mezzo-like smokiness and huskiness for the Habanera and her most affecting `Encore! Encore! Toujours le mort!¿ as she sees death in the cards in Act III . . . It was Jonas Kaufmann¿s Don José who received the acclamation from the audience of a type rarely awarded to any tenor whose name is not Domingo. His was an portrayal worthy of that great singer as he went from awkward Corporal still trying to shake off his priesthood training, through lust, jealousy, the pity of the lovelorn and finally to murderous rage. His voice is secure throughout the range, he has burnished tones and he tackles his top notes with care but gets there effortlessly . . .

. . . this production by Francesca Zambello sizzles with raunchy energy. Anna Caterina Antonacci crackles in the title role. She has an exciting voice and exudes a minx-like sexuality. Jonas Kaufmann brings passionate despair to the role of the love-battered Jose who is obsessed with Carmen. All beautifully shot and the sound is immaculate.

Despite the presence of Antonacci¿s charismatic antiheroine, Kaufmann steals the show with the intensity of his portrait of the young corporal driven to insanity by his sexual obsession.

. . . in dem Sängerdarsteller Jonas Kaufmann [ist] der idealer Don José gefunden worden . . . Anna Catarina Antonacci ist eine sinnliche Carmen . . . Sie hat Sex, auf eine herausfordernd harte und grausame Weise . . . Sie singt flüssig, bemerkenswert idiomatisch . . . Im Mittelpunkt jedoch steht, wie gesagt, Kaufmann als Don José: eine sängerisch-darstellerische Glanzleistung. Mit der Wandlung des braven Soldaten und Muttersöhnchens zum sich selbst verlierenden Liebhaber bietet Jonas Kaufmann ein beklemmendes Persönlichkeitsporträt . . . Und in der Schlussszene bietet er die beängstigende Studie eines unter Ich-Verlust leidenden Mannes, dessen Übersprunghandlung ihn zu Amoktat führt. Mit seinem kraftvoll, dunkel und mit expressiver Energie eingesetzten Tenor erinnert Jonas Kaufmann zuweilen an den großen Jon Vickers.

. . . la version la plus excitante de ces dernières années.