The Zurich Opera staged this magnificent production starring virtuoso tenor Jonas Kaufmann as Don José and the Bulgarian Vesselina Kasarova as the flirtatious prima-donna in the title role. Mezzo-soprano Kasarova is dazzling as the tough-as-nails, beautifully unsentimental heroine.
Kaufmann, in the guise of a Spanish police officer, brilliantly portrays the blustering but naive Don José as a modern contrast of hard-edged machismo and out-of-his-depths vulnerability.
Performed by Vesselina Kasarova (Carmen), Jonas Kaufmann (Don José), Isabel Rey (Micaela), Michele Pertusi (Escamillo), with the Chor der Oper Zürich, and the Philharmonia Zurich, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst.
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 aspects of the characters.
This production of Carmen thrilled audiences with the 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 José 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.
Here are Jonas Kaufmann and Vesselina Kasarova in “Carmen”, Act II Part 2 the ‘Flower Song’:
And next, here’s a video of the entire opera, Carmen, as recorded in Switzerland:
Tags: Carmen, Bizet, Jonas Kaufmann, Vesselina Kasarova, Philharmonia Zurich, Franz Welser-Möst