Mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca as Carmen sings the “Habanera.”
On Sunday (May 16, 2010) I happened on PBS’s series, “Great Performances at the Met,” featuring the January 2010 production of Georges Bizet’s Carmen. I haven’t seen many productions of Carmen, but I have the feeling that this is one of the best of all time because everything about Elina Garanca is suited to the role — her celestial voice, her beauty, her voluptuous and earthy sexuality that radiates joy and playfulness. Other directors and singers who view and play Carmen as a cruel slut obviously have missed the worlds of insight into the characters that are on full display here.
I am marveling at how this production of Carmen by director Richard Eyre has switched me to favoring her over the foolish momma’s boy, Don José, who never, ever takes responsibility for his failures, then blames Carmen and ultimately murders her just as she has found happiness with the toreador, Escamillo, a man whose strength and passion match her own.