Reviews: What Did Critics Think of Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera? | Playbill

The Verdict Reviews: What Did Critics Think of Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera?

Carrie Cracknell's new production of Bizet's iconic opera opened December 31.

A scene from Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera Ken Howard / Met Opera

The Metropolitan Opera's new production of Bizet's Carmen opened December 31 — and the reviews are in!

Mezzo-soprano Aigul Akhmetshina stars as Carmen, the cigarette-factory-worker-turned-smuggler who convinces the soldier Don José, played by tenor Piotr Beczała, to join her life of crime. Akhmetshina is a rising star at the Met, having just made her Met debut last year as Maddalena in Bartlett Sher's production of Rigoletto. Beczała is a Met veteran, having led New Year's Eve gala productions on three prior occasions, including Rigoletto in 2021, and Fedora in 2022, although on this opening night, Rafael Davila filled in for Beczała, who was ill. Davila made his Met debut as Don José in 2017. Rounding out the cast as soprano Angel Blue as Micaëla, and Kyle Ketelsen as Escamillo. Cracknell's production moves the action from 19th century Spain to contemporary America, and accordingly, Escamillo, typically a toreador by trade, will be portrayed as a rodeo star.

Read the reviews here.

BroadwayWorld (Richard Sasanow)
Financial Times (George Grella)

New York Classical Review (Rick Perdian)

The New York Times (Zachary Woolfe)*

Observer (Christopher Corwin)
OperaWire (David Salazar)
Parterre Box (Gabrielle Ferrari)

Vulture (Justin Davidson)
The Wall Street Journal (Heidi Waleson)*

The Washington Post (Michael Andor Brodeur)*

*This review may require creating a free account or a paid subscription.

Playbill will continue to update this list as reviews come in.

Carrie Cracknell, who makes her Met debut with this production, leads a creative team including set designer Michael Levine, costume designer Tom Scutt, lighting designer Guy Hoare, projection designer Roland Horvath, and choreographer Ann Yee. All except Levine will also be making their Met debuts. Daniele Rustioni conducts Bizet's score, one of opera's most enduring due to its high concentration of iconic tunes.

The Met's winter season continues through January with revivals of Verdi's Nabucco and Puccini's Madama Butterfly. The company will take a midwinter break in February before returning February 26 with a new production of Verdi's La Forza del Destino, directed by Mariusz Treliński. The spring season will also see the Met premiere of John Adams' El Niñodirected by Lileana Blain-CruzCarmen will also return in April,  with a new cast including Clémentine Margaine as Carmen, Michael Fabiano as Don José, Ailyn Pérez as Micaëla, and Ryan Speedo Green as Escamillo. For more information, visit

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