This time it’s the 2002 Glyndebourne production by the inimitable David McVicar. Anne Sofie von Otter sings the title role with Marcus Haddock as Don José. The production is quite restrained by McVicar standards though the final scene is gruesome enough and Carmen and Don José make out more enthusiastically than in some other productions. It’s in appropriate period costumes and is pretty enough to look at without being ‘different’ in any significant way.
My first impression was that maybe von Otter was getting a bit old for Carmen (though I imagine that one would notice that less in the theatre) but I quickly changed my mind. Her singing is, as ever, flawlessly stylish and she really throws herself into the role. This really is the girl who never loves for more than six months and doesn’t give a damn about anyone. It’s also an amazingly, and effectively, slutty performance. Really von Otter steals the show. Marcus Haddock is an effective foil. He’s bluff and physical and not nearly as wimpy as, say, Alagna. He doesn’t have the glamour of Kaufmann either which is probably a plus in this interpretation. Vocally he’s rock solid. Everybody else is fine but this is the von Otter/Haddock show.
Carmen is very well served on DVD and I would be hard pressed to say this was better than the Antonacci, Ewing or Garanca versions but it’s definitely up with them. This one is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Opus Arte.
Here’s the Gypsy song from Act 2.