Opera of the Week – Carmen from Tokyo in Amy Winehouse style

Opera of the Week – Carmen from Tokyo in Amy Winehouse style


norman lebrecht

October 22, 2021

Our latest Opera of the Week is the new Alex Ollé production of Bizet’s Carmen from the New National Theatre Tokyo.  It is an OperaVision selection for World Opera Day on 25th October. 

French mezzo-soprano Stéphanie d’Oustrac plays the seductive heroine with a rock star style modelled on Amy Winehouse.  Toshiaki Murakami is Don José and Alexandre Duhamel takes the role of Escamillo.  The conductor is Kazushi Ono with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra at the New National Theatre Tokyo.

Sung in French with subtitles in English, Japanese and French.  It is available online until 18th January 2022.


  • V. Lind says:

    Someone called Murakami is playing Don José? Won’t the cultural sensibilities of the Spanish people in the audience be upset?

    Mine are offended by the costumes in those photos.

    • operacentric says:

      It’s Tokyo – there won’t be many Spanish people in the audience 😉

      • V. Lind says:

        Yeah — about as many as there are Chinese or black people to be offended at the ROH.

        You miss the point (although the Spanish community of Tokyo, as I well know, having lived there, is not as big as the Chinese and black communities in London). But does that make it any more — or less — “offensive to cultural sensitivities” to cast someone not racially similar in a role?

        Of course not. If the man can sing, he’s as welcome as the flowers in May in dear old Donegal.

        Double standards? Or single nonsense.

        • Ms.Melody says:

          Unfortunately, he can’t sing and his acting is worse than his singing. The production is utter nonsense and Carmen is about as seductive as an afer dinner mint. Waste of time.

    • pvl says:

      Since you offended by this performance, you probably would like the Chicago’s Carmen production:

  • Aleph says:

    At least they didn’t put a blond wig on her as is wont to happen in any Japanese production of Carmen (because, you see, for the Japanese, Europeans are blond).

    That’s what happens when other cultures look at your culture, I think white audiences in Japan get a small taste of the white equivalent of blackface, and begin to see why Asians find a lot of Western productions of Butterfly and Turandot so distasteful, even as white audiences find them exotic and native.