A couple of weeks ago M and I went to see Carmen at the Hannover Opera with a colleague of his and her boyfriend. (I know, it took me long enough to get around to blogging about it...) It was the premier. A Georgian mezzo by the name of Khatuna Mikaberidze sang the title role. Jose - Pedro Velázquez Díaz and Micaela - Arantxa Armentia. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't very good either, I'm afraid. I've heard operas where the singers were very bad. Here, in Carmen, the singers were quite good, especially Arantxa Armentia, but they were pretty much all of them simply over-singing. Why? I have no idea. The Japanese girl who sang the role of Frasquita (Hinako Yoshikawa), was quite excellent and the only one who didn't sacrifice musicality to sing loudly. Unfortunately, we don't get to hear a whole lot from Frasquita. The Card Aria (Trio) was wonderful, in large part due to Hinako Yoshikawa. The staging and direction was a bit random which hindered the singers in expressing the emotions fully. One exception was the death scene at the end. Pedro Velázquez Díaz as Don Jose sang very sensitively. The orchestra was quite excellent. The conductor, Jahbom Koo, was a bit excited at the beginning, though. The overture began at a racing tempo and returned to that theme at a much more relaxed tempo.
One real gripe: Why must there always be naked people on a German opera stage? Carmen was no exception.