Rattle makes full use of the fund of glorious tunes in
Carmen, shamelessly indulging showstoppers like the “Habanera”,
with Magdalena Kozena’s elegant, lyrical delivery receiving a
series of burly responses from a chorus not short on gusto.
Kozena and Jonas Kaufmann are perfectly matched in the lead
roles, bringing a persuasive emotional chemistry to Carmen and
Don Jose’s doomed affair, rivalling that of Angela Gheorghiu and
Roberto Alagna in “Parle-moi de ma mère”; but the support of
minor roles and choir is exceptional, particularly the
enchanting urchins’ chorus provided by the Kinderchor der
Deutschen Staatsoper Berlin.