My main attraction was the great Italian tenor Franco Corelli, who always moved and thrilled me with his voice. Like with his DVDs of Tosca, Turandot and La Forza Del Destino, this Carmen is a treasure that is let down only by some distracting lip sync. The costumes and sets though are gorgeous and effort is made to make them authentic, the orchestra play with real Spanish flavour, the conducting is nuanced and energetic and the chorus are appropriately robust. The staging is excellent, intense and beautiful when needed, nothing feels overdone or dull.
Corelli here is the star, his Don Jose is superb. I'd go as far to say he is one of the best in the role. The character's sympathy and anger are perfectly judged- the final scene is thrilling and scary- and while powerful the singing like in the Flower Song is capable of nuances and musicality. Belen Amparan I have never heard of before until now, and her Carmen is possibly scintillating. She is very sexy and flirtatious and the camera clearly loves her. Her singing is richer than most other Carmens also. Anselmo Colzani's appearance is perhaps not ideal, he does look rather portly visually to make us believe that Escamillo fights bulls but his charismatic swagger and resonant singing make up for things. Elda Ribetti fares the worst with the lip sync problem and there are occasions where she does look ill at ease, but she sings beautifully and her Act 3 aria is very moving.
All in all, Carmen may be the star of the opera but Corelli was the star here of this compelling and beautifully sung production. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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