Everyone always disagrees about the character of Carmen. I've thought about her a lot (she is infinitely intriguing) and I was reminded about her again today while I watched an interview with Vesselina Kasarova (found here - Thanks Smorg!). Unfortunately, if you don't speak German, you won't be able to follow any of it, but here are some things that I found especially interesting.
First of all, everyone always seems extremely animate when it comes to their interpretation of Carmen. Ms. Kasarova is always animated (she's so much fun to watch) but she seemed especially insistent in this interview about her view of Carmen. The interviewer brought up the idea of critics and VK laughed, saying that this was her opinion and no one had any right to criticize it.
She brought up the fact that Carmen is a sort of Don Giovanni. This is an idea that I've toyed with myself. They are both epic characters - they stand out from other characters because they are so huge, they are so legendary. Some people consider Don Giovanni to be an archetype. I think the same could be said for Carmen.
Another thing that VK talked about was that, for her, less eroticism is better because "less is more." It is true that the amount of eroticism in opera in general has increased over time, but I think this is especially true of Carmen (I think immediately of Anne Sophie von Otter's Carmen in David McVicar's recent Glyndebourne production). I'm intrigued by VK's thoughts and I'd love to see her interpretation in full. Her voice is so much suited to the role in general, and I think her unique artistry would definitely bring something new to the character.
Looking over VK's upcoming schedule, I am once again dismayed to find that she is not venturing into the States this year. I don't blame her, since she is nice and settled in Europe and she has a family to consider, but I cannot wait for the day when I get to see her perform live. I guess I'll just have to make another trip to Europe sometime soon. ;)