100 years ago Bizet’s passionate and impressive opera Carmen was staged for the first time in the Arena in Verona.
In front of the imposing backdrop of the Roman amphitheatre Franco Zeffirelli‘s opulent production is conducted by Henrik Nánási and sung by an international cast of excellent singers: Ekaterina Semenchuk in the title role, Irina Lungu as Micaela, Carlo Ventre as Don Jose, Carlos Alvarez as Escamillo.
With the collaboration of Naxos
Dramma lirico in four acts
Music by Georges Bizet
Libretto by Ludovic Halevy – Henri Meilhac
Based on a novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée
Conductor | Henrik Nánási
Stage director | Franco Zeffirelli
Costumes designer | Anna Anni
Carmen | Ekaterina Semenchuck
Micaela | Irina Lungu
Don Jose | Carlo Ventre
Escamillo | Carlos Álvarez
When Georges Bizet premiered his opera Carmen, he could not have imagined that his beautiful and seductive cigarmaker would become a myth, the precursor of a feminine behaviour that broke all conventions. It is one of the most frequently performed titles at the Teatro Real and is a constant presence in the opera seasons of theatres all over the world.
Stage director Emilio Sagi uses the imaginative costumes of designer Jesús del Pozo to emphasise the sensuality, the features, the party and the tragic ending. His original conceptions depict the almost beehive-like atmosphere of the tobacco factory, the warmth of the Sevillian light, the cold of the camp in the mountains...
García Navarro, musical director of the Teatro Real at the time of this recording (8 April 1999), brings together under his baton the Chorus of the Community of Madrid, the children of the Escolanía Nuestra Señora del Recuerdo, the Madrid Symphonic Orchestra and a cast led by Agnes Baltsa, Neil Shicoff, Geer Grimsley and Andrea Dankova.
Created by Antonio Gades in collaboration with Carlos Saura, this masterpiece of ballet shows how the power and strength of traditional flamenco are able to express the intense emotions of Merimée’s novel perfectly.
Vanesa Vento plays Carmen, a many-sided character: feminine, passionate, combative and free, inconstant in love and a shameless flirt, inspiring desire, rivalry and jealousy among both men and women. Carmen’s indomitable nature will lead to her doom, when she takes up with her next lover, a bullfighter, and rejects Don José, whose desperation marks a tragic ending.
Set in 1940s Spain, this production by Lluis Pasqual for the Teatro Real, with sets by Ezio Frigerio and costumes by Franca Squarciapino, has an illustrious cast, headed by the Malaga-born baritone Carlos Álvarez in the leading role. Sonia Ganassi as Donna Elvira, the splendid María Bayo in the difficult role of Donna Ana, and José Bros as Don Ottavio, a role for which he was awarded the 2006 Teatro Campoamor prize for Best Opera Singer, complete the starry line-up in this staging of this Mozart and Da Ponte opera. Directed by the masterly Victor Pablo Pérez, it was recorded in high definition in the Teatro Real’s 2005-2006 season.
Envy and conspiracies, but also passion, jealousy, revenge and final forgiveness come together in Verdi's masterpiece, which aroused the wrath and prohibitions of the censors of the time to the point of forcing the composer and librettist to make changes to it: from the original Sweden to faraway Boston.
The great Polish tenor Piotr Beczala returns to the Liceu with one of his signature titles, accompanied by soprano Keri Alkema. Vincent Boussard's staging reinforces the dark and mysterious atmosphere surrounding the piece, with costumes by Christian Lacroix and the sober scenography of Vincent Lemaire, which allows us to concentrate our attention on the dramatic core of the score. The cast, directed by a true specialist like Renato Palumbo, also features a benchmark in Verdian singing: Dolora Zajick.
An extraordinary double programme with two works which “represent an ideal of beauty, poetry and hope”. Iolanta and Perséphone tell stories of transformation; two dramas laden with symbolism which take a path from light to darkness and back again, where there is always a shadow of one’s self behind each person. Peter Sellars tells the story using a single setting with very intense, abstract visual images where everything changes, as in Russian symbolist drama.