Anita Rachvelishvili Returns to the Met as CARMEN in Richard Eyre's Production, 9/28


Georgian mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili, who made an acclaimed Met debut as the title character of Bizet's Carmen in 2010, will reprise the role for 14 performances this season, beginning September 28. Young Italian conductor Michele Mariotti will make his Met debut leading Richard Eyre's critically acclaimed production of the repertory classic.

In the fall, rising Met stars YongHoon Lee, Kate Royal, and Kyle Ketelsen will make their house role debuts as Don José, Micaëla, and Escamillo, respectively. Beginning February 9, Rachvelishvili will be joined by a new cast: Austrian tenor Nikolai Schukoff and American tenor Andrew Richards as Don José and Ekaterina Scherbachenko as Micaëla, all in their Met debuts, and Teddy Tahu Rhodes as the swaggering toreador Escamillo.

Rachvelishvili, who is 28 years old, has quickly become one of the world's leading interpreters of Carmen, having sung the role to critical acclaim at La Scala, Arena di Verona, Teatro Verdi in Salerno, Seattle Opera, and Deutsche Oper Berlin. Last season, she sang the Principessa de Bouillon in an Opera Orchestra of New York concert performance of Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, Dulcinée in Massenet's Don Quichotte at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Orfeo in Gluck's Orfeo et Euridice at Spain's Castell de Peralada Festival, and the title role in Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri at La Scala.

Michele Mariotti, the Principal Conductor of Teatro Comunale in Bologna, will also conduct this season's new production premiere of Verdi's Rigoletto. The Pesaro-born conductor has led high-profile performances of a varied repertory in Bologna, including Carmen, Bellini's I Puritani, Mozart's Idomeneo and Le Nozze di Figaro, Rossini's La Gazza Ladra and La Cenerentola, and Verdi's La Traviata and Simon Boccanegra. Also this season, he conducts La Traviata in Naples and Rossini's La Donna del Lago at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

Director Richard Eyre made his Met debut with this production of Carmen, which premiered on New Year's Eve 2009 and has since been performed 27 times. His numerous honors as a stage director include five Olivier Awards. His credits also include a well-known 1994 production of La Traviata for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and the Oscar-nominated film Notes on a Scandal. Eyre's production of Carmen features critically acclaimed choreography by the notEd English choreographer Christopher Wheeldon.

YongHoon Lee made his Met debut in the title role of Verdi's Don Carlo in the 2010-11 season and also sang the role in Tokyo and Nagoya on the company's summer 2011 tour of Japan. Last season, he made his Met role debut as Ismaele in Verdi's Nabucco. He has sung Don José at Glyndebourne, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Lyon Opera. Royal made her Met debut as Euridice in Orfeo et Euridice in 2011. Her Micaëla has been heard at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and at Glyndebourne. Ketelsen made his Met role debut as Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni last season. His Met credits also include Mr. Flint in Britten's Billy Budd and Angelotti in Puccini's Tosca.