Seattle Opera Presents CARMEN, 10/15-29

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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.

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