, January 2009
It says much for latter-day standards of opera in the Verona Arena that not only is Franco Zeffirelli the director of the colourful TDK DVD production, but the briskly idiomatic performance under Alain Lombard features two outstanding young singers in the two principal women’s roles. As Carmen herself, Marina Domashenko is both glamorous and an electrifying actress, flashing her teeth menacingly from the start, and she has a rich, superbly focused mezzo which she uses with flair. As Micaëla, Maya Dashuk, girlish and pretty, has a bright, clear soprano which projects perfectly and, though Marco Berti as Don José is unashamedly Italianate in his singing of Bizet, his is a strong, well-controlled performance. With some grit in the voice, Raymond Aceto…gives an acceptable performance. The chorus sings incisively, and the elaborate staging in front of panoramic background scenery involves dozens of extras, some riding horses…voices come over vividly, evidently helped by clever microphone placing. An extravagant entertainment, as Zeffirelli no doubt intended.