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Vesselina Kasarova’s many years of singing in Switzerland have really have paid off: her yodelling technique truly is a marvel. Hardly one phrase escapes her bizarre vocal mannerism of gulping between head and chest voice. Add her strange French, curious phrasing (even breathing mid-word) and dowdy appearance, and she delivers quite the most eccentric Carmen imaginable. A shame, as she still has a basic beauty of tone and a strong personality. As Don José (Jose-ee-odl-lay-ee-odl-lay-hee-hoo?), Jonas Kaufmann is in good voice but with a slightly muted air about him, perhaps not surprising. Michele Pertusi’s Escamillo looks as though he might sell you a kebab from the back of a van, and Isabel Rey’s Micaëla is over the hill (presumably with a lonely goatherd). Franz Welser-Möst’s conducting is crisp and correct. Matthias Hartmann’s production, set on a stark white disc, is a non-event. Even the children’s chorus sounds clapped out before puberty strikes collectively.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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