Overview

Carmen—herself a pawn of fate—lures a wide-eyed soldier and a flamboyant bullfighter into a destructive rivalry for her affection, while the beguiling Habanera  and Gypsy Song have their way with the audience. Bring a friend who hasn’t been to the opera—Carmen never fails to entice!

Music by Georges Bizet
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on  Prosper Mérimée’s novella
Premiere: Paris, 1875

Running time: About 2:45 (not including intermission)
Sung in French with projected English supertitle translations

Artists

Ginger Costa-Jackson

Carmen

Oct 15, 19, 22

Ginger Costa-Jackson is dynamite as Carmen. From the moment she sweeps onto the stage in a whirl of skirts, she owns the show.
— Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk, MLive

 

Mezzo soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, and a Samling Scholar. Last season she performed the role of Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with the Metropolitan Opera, and the title role in Bizet’s Carmen with the San Francisco Opera. This season, after her engagement with Michigan Opera Theatre, Ms. Jackson will make her debut at Opera de Paris as Despina in a new production of Cosi fan Tutte conducted by Philippe Jordan, Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte with the Seattle Opera, and the role of Rosina with the Santa Cruz Symphony.

Ginger Costa-Jackson

Carmen

Oct 15, 19, 22

Sandra Piques Eddy

Carmen

Oct 23

Sandra Piques Eddy is an outstanding lyric mezzo with a rich, plummy voice, evenly and smoothly produced, and responsive to whatever demands she makes of it including an appropriate use of chest voice.
— Kevin Wells, Bachtrack

Last season, mezzo soprano Sandra Piques made her role debut as Charlotte in Werther with Boston Lyric Opera before returning to the Metropolitan Opera roster to cover Maddalena in Rigoletto. Career highlights include numerous appearances to great acclaim as the title role in Carmen, at Portland Opera, Opera Colorado, Opera North (UK), Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Coeur d’Alene and Chicago Opera Theater.  Other signature roles include: Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte with Hyogo Performing Arts Center-Japan, Boston Lyric Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, New York City Opera, Pittsburgh Opera; Rosina with Vancouver Opera, Opera Omaha, Austin Lyric Opera, Jacksonville Symphony, Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Crested Butte Music Festival

Sandra Piques Eddy

Carmen

Oct 23

Marcelo Puente

Don Jose

Oct 15, 19, 22

Tenor Marcelo Puente makes is U.S. debut in this production.

He has had great success as Cavaradossi in Tosca and as Don Jose in Carmen at the Landestheater Linz, as well as in the role of Rodolfo in La Boheme at the Oper Stuttgart.

Mr. Puente studied voice at the Conservatorio of Córdoba (Argentina) and at the Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires with Maestro Renato Sassola.

Marcelo Puente

Don Jose

Oct 15, 19, 22

Alok Kumar

Don Jose

Oct 23

Tenor Alok Kumar was a strong Don Jose…[H]is sound is manly and, when in full cry, particularly expressive and moving.
—Allegri Con Fuoco

 

Highlights for the 2016-2017 season include his company debut here and as Don José in Bizet’s Carmen with Michigan Opera Theater directed by Ron Daniels and conducted by Valerio Galli, Florida Grand Opera directed by Bernard Uzan and conducted by Ramón Tebar and Musica Viva in Hong Kong directed by Lo Kingman and conducted by Lio Kuokman. Mr. Kumar reprises the Duke of Mantua for a company debut in Palm Beach Opera’s production of Verdi’s Rigoletto directed by Jay Lesenger and conducted by Antonello Allemandi.

Alok Kumar

Don Jose

Oct 23

Luis Alejandro Orozco

Escamillo

An imposing presence, both vocally and dramatically
Cincinnati Enquirer

This season’s engagements for baritone Luis Alejandro Orozco include the title role in Don Giovanni at Bar Harbor Music Festival, his debut here as Escamillo, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia in his house début with Florentine Opera, and a reprisal of his signature role, El Payador, in María de Buenos Aires with The Atlanta Opera.

Luis Alejandro Orozco

Escamillo

Cecilia Violetta Lopez

Micaela

Cecilia Violetta López’s cool, shimmering soprano easily vaulted the coloratura hurdles.
—New York Observer

Soprano Cecilia Violetta López has been named one of opera’s “25 Rising Stars” by Opera News. Her recent New York City debut in La Traviata was declared by the New York Observer as “a performance of the leading role of Violetta that is among the loveliest I have witnessed on any stage”. During the 2015-2016 season, Ms. López returned to Opera Idaho for Violetta, and made a company and role debut with Opera Tampa in three roles: Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), and Violetta (La Traviata).

Cecilia Violetta Lopez

Micaela

Brent Michael Smith

Zuniga

As a Studio Artist with Michigan Opera Theatre last season, Bass Brent Smith sang Colline in La Bohème, Second S.S. Officer in The Passenger, the Doctor in Macbeth and The Speaker in The Magic Flute.

Last year he was an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera, where his performance as Billy Jackrabbit in La fanciulla del West received critical acclaim by Opera News as a “standout.” Colorado Music Buzz praised him for “making the most of his brief appearances.”

He received his Master of Music degree under the tutelage of John Hines. He received his Bachelor’s in music in piano performance from Hope College (Holland, MI). Mr. Smith is a first-place winner in the Grand Rapids Opera Competition (2012).

Brent Michael Smith

Zuniga

Harry Greenleaf

Morales

Baritone Harry Greenleaf is a native of Wixom, Michigan. He is a proud alumnus of the Michigan State University College of Music, and received a Master of Music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. In 2013 and 2014 he was a Studio Aritist with the Wolf Trap Opera Company. While there he sang the role of Baron Douphol in La traviata with the National Symphony Orchestra, and Monsieur Barbu in Les mamelles de Tirésias. In the summer of 2015 he was an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera, covering the role of Sonora in La fanciulla del West. In 2015 he debuted with Cincinnati Chamber Opera, singing The Pilot in The Little Prince. In the summer of 2016 he will perform with the Glimmerglass Festival as Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd. He made his debut with Michigan Opera Theatre in 2016, singing the role of Top in The Tender Land, and will appear as Moralès in Carmen, Jake Wallace in La fanciulla del West, and Le Bret in Dr. David DiChiera’s Cyrano for the 2016-2017 season.

Harry Greenleaf

Morales

Angela Theis

Frasquita

A bright, bold, and beguilingly sung Zerlina
—The Boston Globe

Soprano Angela Theis performed several roles last season at Michigan Opera Theatre through her engagement as a Studio Artist, including Laurie in The Tender Land, 2nd Apparition in Macbeth, and Papagena in The Magic Flute. Previously, she has appeared with the company as Marzelline in Fidelio, Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro, and the High Priestess in Aida. A highlight of her career was when Dr. David DiChiera chose her to sing his compositions at his 2013 Kresge Eminent Artist award presentation and his 2015 tribute concert at the Detroit Opera House.  In 2013, Ms. Theis won the Audience Choice Award at the 2013 Meistersinger Competition in Austria. Ms. Theis completed a postgraduate fellowship in Salzburg, Austria, and holds degrees from New England Conservatory and University of Notre Dame.

Angela Theis

Frasquita

Briana Elyse Hunter

Mercedes

Mezzo-soprano Briana Hunter was a mesmerizing Carmen, contributing a fiery theatrical presence and dynamic vocalism. Hunter consistently displayed impressive fluidity in her flawless “Habanera” and “Seguidilla.”
— Opera News

Briana Hunter hails from Malvern, Pennsylvania where she was a student in the Great Valley School District, recognized for their strong music and theater programs. In 2000 she had the unique pleasure of working with Tony and Academy Award winning playwright Mark Medoff in a production of his play Gunfighter–A Gulf War Chronicle.

Ms. Hunter attended Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina and found herself on the stage once again, this time under the direction of the Royal Shakespeare Company in an original production double billed Infinite Variety/For Every Passion Something. The show would also have her call upon her vocal abilities as she presented “The Willow Song” from Rossini’s Othello in addition to playing the roles of Hippolyta in Midsummer Nights Dream and Lord Westmorland in Henry IV: Part I. The show debuted on the campus of Davidson College, and continued performances in the Fringe Festival in Scotland for an additional two week run. Back in North Carolina, Ms. Hunter went on to play Livia in Women Beware Women by Thomas Middleton, J.S. in Necessary Targets and “The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could” The Vagina Monologues both by Eve Ensler, Karla Wonder of the World by David Lindsey-Abaire. No stranger to the music department, she also performed in opera scenes including 2nd Lady Die Zauberflote and Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, and the title role of Josephine in a full production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore. The Davidson Concert Choir awarded her the solo in John Corigliano’s Fern Hill.

She went on to attend the prestigious Manhattan School of Music for Classical Voice where she performed in mainstage productions with the opera department (Summer and Smoke, La vida breve, Of Love and Loss: Opera Scenes, The Ghosts of Versailles).

Briana Elyse Hunter

Mercedes

Jeff Byrnes

Dancairo

Baritone Jeff Byrnes returned to Michigan Opera Theatre last season as a Studio Artist. He performed the roles of Schanuard in La Bohème, 1st SS Officer in The Passenger, Old Servant in Elektra and The Bonze in Madame Butterfly. Prior to joining MOT, he performed the role of Owen Hart in Dead Man Walking with Dayton Opera, and he covered Germont in La Traviata and Balstrode in Peter Grimes with Des Moines Metro Opera. Other operatic highlights include Leporello in Don Giovanni and the title role in The Mikado with the Natchez Opera Festival, and Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte, and Pilate in St. John Passion with CCM Opera. He was a regional finalist in the Rocky Mountain Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions in 2014.

Jeff Byrnes

Dancairo

Joseph Michael Brent

Remendado

Joseph Michael Brent is an artist of Michigan Opera Theatre Studio. Last season he appeared as 3rd SS Officer in Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s The Passenger, Malcolm in Verdi’s Macbeth, and first armored man in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. In 2015, Mr. Brent made both role and company debuts as Mayor Upfold in the Bronx Opera’s production of Albert Herring and Edgardo in the New York Opera Exchange production of Lucia di Lamermoor. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Georgia in the fall of 2014 with a dissertation on selected vocal works of Giovanni Paolo Bottesini. He is a native New Yorker, a proud graduate of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, and holds an undergraduate degree from the conservatory of music at Purchase College S.U.N.Y. in double bass performance. He was a student of Metropolitan Opera baritone Frederick Burchinal.

Joseph Michael Brent

Remendado

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Production Team

Valerio Galli

Conductor

Ron Daniels

Director

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Synopsis

PDF Classroom guide for Carmen

ACT I. In a square in Seville, soldiers watch the passing crowd. Micaela arrives in search of her sweetheart, Don José, a corporal. An officer, Moralès, tells her José will be along soon; when Moralès offers himself as a substitute, she leaves hastily. As the guard changes, children imitate the arriving soldiers, one of whom is José. Girls from the cigarette factory come to smoke and chat. Carmen, a Gypsy who works in the factory, flirts with the local men, airing her philosophy of life: love is a wild bird that cannot be tamed. José sits apart, distracted. Drawn by his indifference, Carmen tosses him a flower as the work bell calls the girls back inside. His musings on the bewitching “sorceress” are interrupted by Micaela, who brings news of José’s mother. She has sent him a kiss, which the girl delivers shyly. No sooner has she left than a disturbance is heard in the factory: Carmen is involved in a fight. The girls run out, arguing over who started it. Lt. Zuniga orders José to arrest Carmen. Her wrists bound, she is left alone with José, who forbids her to speak to him. Instead, she flirtatiously sings “to herself” about the rendezvous she might make with “a certain soldier” who has taken her fancy. José, intoxicated, agrees to let her escape; when she pushes him to the ground and runs off, he is arrested for his negligence.

ACT II. A month later, at Lillas Pastia’s inn, Carmen sings a Gypsy song and dances for the customers. The matador Escamillo arrives, boasting of his exploits. He is attracted to Carmen, who puts off his amorous advances. When the inn closes, Dancaire and Remendado try to convince Frasquita, Mercédès and Carmen to accompany them on their next smuggling trip. The girls are game, except for Carmen, who says she is in love with José and is awaiting his return from prison. The others laugh at her, then depart as José is heard approaching. Carmen sings and dances for him, but when a distant bugle sounds the retreat, he says he must return to the barracks. Carmen mocks his blind obedience, saying he doesn’t love her; he replies by telling her how he has kept the flower she threw, the scent of its wilted blossom conjuring up her image in his prison cell. He refuses her suggestion that he desert the army to join her wild mountain life, but when Zuniga breaks in, looking for Carmen, the jealous José attacks his superior. Carmen summons the other Gypsies, who hold Zuniga captive until they can get away. José, now an outlaw, has no choice but to join their band. The Gypsies rejoice in their life of freedom.

ACT III. In the smugglers’ mountain hideout, José regrets that he has betrayed his mother’s hopes. Carmen finds his homesickness and obsessive jealousy tiresome. Telling him he may as well leave, she joins her friends, reading fortunes in the cards. Frasquita foresees a lover for herself, Mercédès a rich husband, but Carmen sees only death. When the Gypsies leave José as lookout, Micaela enters, frightened but determined to find him. She hides at the sound of a shot, fired by José as a warning to a trespasser – Escamillo. When it becomes clear that the two men are rivals, they start to fight but are separated by the Gypsies. Escamillo invites them all to his next bullfight and leaves. Remendado discovers Micaela, who has come to beg José to return home to his ailing mother. Carmen dismisses him willingly, but José vows to find her again after he has seen his mother.

ACT IV. In Seville’s Plaza de Toros, the crowd gathers for the bullfight, hailing Escamillo. He and Carmen declare their love, and he enters the ring. Carmen’s friends warn that José has been spotted nearby, looking desperate, but she is a fatalist and defiantly remains to face him. He enters and begs her to return to him. She replies that everything is finished between them, and she tosses in his face a ring he once gave her. The crowd is heard cheering Escamillo. When Carmen tries to run past José, he stabs her, then falls by her body in despair.

-Courtesy Opera News

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