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

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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 tonight, 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.

Nikolai Schukoff has sung Don José at the Hamburg State Opera and Baden-Baden Festival; he will sing the role at the Paris Opera in December 2012. Last season, he sang the title role in Wagner's Parsifal in Hamburg and Lyon and Bacchus in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia. Andrew Richards has sung Don José in Paris, Verona, Hamburg, Granada, Bologna, Luxembourg, and Lisbon. Last season, Ekaterina Scherbachenko sang Liù in Puccini's Turandot at the Munich Festival, Mimì in Puccini's La Bohème at Glyndebourne, Tatiana in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin at Bavarian State Opera, and the title role in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta at the Teatro Real in Madrid. Rhodes sang his first Met Escamillos in 2010, including a performance that was transmitted to movie theaters around the world as part of The Met: Live in HD series. He made his Met debut as Ned Keene in the 2008 new production premiere of Britten's Peter Grimes.

DWayne Croft will sing Escamillo at the October 11 performance and Hei-Kyung Hong will sing Micaëla on February 26.

The Carmen opening performance tonight, September 28 will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Channel 74, as will the performances on October 11 and 15 and February 23 and 26. The October 15 and February 26 performances will also be streamed live on the Met's website, www.metopera.org.

The February 23 matinee at 12:30 p.m. will be broadcast live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.

For more information, visit the Met's website at www.metopera.org.

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