Photo: Anita Rachvelishvili (Carmen) Teatro alla Scala Marco Brescia, 2010. Background: Karen Almond, Lyric Opera Kansas City, 2010
Anita Rachvelishvili Makes Seattle Debut in Signature Role
Bernard Uzan to Direct Beloved French Masterpiece
Seattle—This fall, Seattle Opera presents Carmen, Bizet’s fiery tale of passion and jealousy, for seven performances, opening October 15 and running through October 29.
Carmen follows the destructive romance between a free-spirited, amoral woman and a tightly-wound soldier. Overflowing with lively dance numbers, thrilling ensembles, and beloved arias including the “Habanera,” the “Seguidilla,” the “Toreador Song,” and the “Flower Song,” Carmen earns its reputation as the most popular opera of all time.
“Carmen, Don José, even Micaëla and Escamillo demand strong personalities—vocal and theatrical—for this opera to succeed,” says Seattle Opera General Director Speight Jenkins. “Their job is to replace all the images every audience member carries into the theater about these characters. I think our cast can do it.”
Making her Seattle Opera debut as Carmen is Anita Rachvelishvili, who has sung the role of the cigarette-smoking temptress at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera, among others. The New York Times called her “a significant talent” and found her “in her element in scenes that required raw emotion and full-throttled singing.” Directing her in this production is Bernard Uzan, also a designer, artist manager, actor, novelist, librettist, and former impresario. Uzan’s previous Seattle Opera credits include Italian operas such as Pagliacci, Macbeth, Manon Lescaut, La fanciulla del West, and Tosca; but he brings to Carmen, the most beloved French opera, the sensibility of a native Frenchman. Mexican tenor Luis Chapa makes his Seattle Opera debut as Don José, the soldier tormented by his love for Carmen. Former Seattle Opera Young Artist Michael Todd Simpson returns as Escamillo, while Norah Amsellem, last heard in Seattle as Elvira in I puritani, sings Micaëla. Making his debut on the podium is conductor Pier Giorgio Morandi.
In the Friday/Sunday cast, Polish mezzo Malgorzata Walewska sings Carmen, with Fernando de la Mora making his company debut as Don José. Former Seattle Opera Young Artist Caitlin Lynch makes her mainstage debut as Micäela. Singing at all performances are Donovan Singletary as Zuniga, fresh from his Seattle Opera debut as Jake in Porgy and Bess, as well as current Young Artists Joseph Lattanzi (Moralès), Amanda Opuszynski (Frasquita), Sarah Larsen (Mercédès), Andrew Stenson (Remendado), and David Krohn (Dancäire). The set, designed by R. Keith Brumley, comes from Lyric Opera of Kansas City; the costumes, designed by James Schuette, were first seen in Seattle Opera’s 2004 production of Carmen. The choreographer is Peggy Hickey and the lighting designer will be Donald Edmund Thomas. Seattle Opera’s production of Carmen is sponsored by Maryanne Tagney-Jones and David Jones. Anita Rachvelishvili's performances are sponsored by the James and Sherry Raisbeck Lead Singers' Fund. Seattle Opera’s 2011/12 Season is sponsored by Microsoft.
Carmen premieres Saturday, October 15, and runs through Saturday, October 29. Single tickets start at $25 and are available online at seattleopera.org, by calling 206.389.7676 or 800.426.1619, or by mobile phone at mobile.seattleopera.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the Box Office by visiting 1020 John Street (two blocks west of Fairview), Monday to Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Please note the following artist list for Carmen replaces all previously announced cast lists. Further information on the 2011/12 season and full biographies of the cast members can be found at http://www.seattleopera.org/
Music Georges Bizet
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
In French with English Captions
Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, Seattle, Washington
7 Performances: October 15, 19, 21, 22, 23m, 26, and 29, 2011
Approximate Running Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes, including two intermissions
Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m.; matinee begins at 2:00 p.m.
Single ticket prices start at $25
Groups Save 15%: 206.676.5588
Seattle Opera Ticket Office: 206.389.7676/800.426.1619
Online orders: www.seattleopera.org
Premiere: Opéra-Comique, Paris, France, March 3, 1875
Previous Seattle Opera Presentations: 1964, 1971, 1978, 1982, 1987, 1995, 2004
Carmen: Anita Rachvelishvili† Malgorzata Walewska*
Don José: Luis Chapa† Fernando de la Mora†*
Escamillo: Michael Todd Simpson
Micaëla: Norah Amsellem Caitlin Lynch†*
Moralès: Joseph Lattanzi†
Moralès: Joseph Lattanzi†
Zuniga: Donovan Singletary
Frasquita: Amanda Opuszynski†
Mercédès: Sarah Larsen†
Remendado: Andrew Stenson
Dancaïre: David Krohn†
Conductor: Pier Giorgio Morandi†
Director: Bernard Uzan
Set Designer: R. Keith Brumley
Costume Designer: James Schuette
Lighting Designer: Donald Edmund Thomas
Choreographer: Peggy Hickey
English Captions: Jonathan Dean
Sets: Lyric Opera of Kansas City
Costumes: Seattle Opera
† Company debut
* On October 21 and 23 only
Michael Todd Simpson and Caitlin Lynch are former Seattle Opera Young Artists. Joseph Lattanzi, Amanda Opuszynski, Sarah Larsen, Andrew Stenson, and David Krohn are current Seattle Opera Young Artists.
Learn more about Carmen! Seattle Opera offers the following educational opportunities: Pre-Performance Talks: An hour and a half before every performance, in the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall, $7 Spotlight Guide: Download at www.seattleopera.org/spotlights
(available in PDF and Kindle formats)
Free Public Previews:
9/28, 7 p.m., Edmonds Library
9/29, 2 p.m., Green Lake Library
10/1, 2:15 p.m., Kitsap Regional Library
10/3, 6:30 p.m., West Seattle Library
10/4, 7 p.m., Third Place Books
10/9, 2 p.m., Frye Art Museum
10/12, 2 p.m. Ballard Library
10/13, 12 p.m., Central Library
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About Seattle Opera. Founded in 1963, Seattle Opera is one of the leading opera companies in the United States. The company is recognized internationally for its theatrically compelling and musically accomplished performances, especially the Opera’s interpretations of the works of Richard Wagner. Since 1975, Seattle Opera has presented 38 cycles of the Ring (three different productions), in addition to acclaimed productions of all the other major operas in the Wagner canon. Seattle Opera has achieved the highest per capita attendance of any major opera company in the United States, and draws operagoers from four continents and 50 states.