San Francisco Opera Presents Georges Bizet's CARMEN At War Memorial Opera House
San Francisco Opera's 2019 Summer Season opens with Georges Bizet's Carmen June 5 29 at the War Memorial Opera House. Presented in American director Francesca Zambello's acclaimed staging, which has been mounted by Opera Australia, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and Norwegian National Opera, the opera features American mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges in her first professional performances of the title role and American tenor Matthew Polenzani assuming the role of Don Jos for the first time. Romanian soprano Anita Hartig makes her San Francisco Opera debut as Mica la and American bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen is the bullfighter, Escamillo. In his first opera engagement with the Company, conductor James Gaffigan leads the cast and San Francisco Opera Orchestra.
Carmen shocked audiences at its 1875 premiere in Paris, but the work's music and realistic drama quickly won devotees. It is today one of opera's most popular and enduring works. The work follows the free-spirited gypsy Carmen and her obsessive lover, Don Jos , as their relationship steers toward a tragic end. Bizet's score is filled with unforgettable music, including Carmen's entrance ( Habanera ), the Toreador's bravura aria ( Votre toast ), Don Jos 's flower song ( La fleur que tu m'avais jet e ), Mica la's courageous soliloquy ( Je dis que rien ne m' pouvante ) and the orchestral preludes that open each of the opera's four acts.
J'Nai Bridges made her San Francisco Opera debut in 2016 as Bersi in Andr a Chenier and the following year created the role of Josefa Segovia in the world premiere of John Adams' Girls of the Golden West. Winning additional praise for performances with LA Opera, Dutch National Opera and the Bavarian State Opera, the American mezzo-soprano brings her rich, dark, exciting sound (Opera News) to Carmen in her professional role debut.
Returning to San Francisco Opera for the first time since his memorable performances in the title role of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann in 2013, tenor Matthew Polenzani takes on the wayward soldier, Don Jos . Romanian soprano Anita Hartig makes her Company debut as Mica la, a role she has performed to great acclaim with the Metropolitan Opera and Vienna State Opera. Bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen returns as the dashing bullfighter, Escamillo, which he recently performed at Madrid's Teatro Real and the Met. Bass David Leigh bows for the first time with the Company as Zuniga, and current San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows soprano Natalie Image (Frasquita), mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon (Merc d s), tenor Christopher Oglesby (El Dancairo), tenor Zhengyi Bai (El Remendado) and baritone SeokJong Baek (Moral s) complete the cast.
American conductor James Gaffigan, who led the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Adler Fellows in The Future Is Now concert in 2017, returns for his first opera with the Company. Michelle Merrill will take to the podium for the June 20 performance of Bizet's work in her Company debut; Gaffigan conducts the other six performances. Chorus Director Ian Robertson prepares the singers of the San Francisco Opera Chorus.
Sung in French with English supertitles, the seven performances of Carmen are scheduled for June 5 (7:30 p.m.), June 11 (7:30 p.m.), June 14 (7:30 p.m.), June 20 (7:30 p.m.), June 23 (2 p.m.), June 26 (7:30 p.m.) and June 29 (7:30 p.m.), 2019.
San Francisco Opera's Education Department hosts two interactive family workshops exploring Bizet's Carmen through its story, music, production design and characters. Held in the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building, the workshops are for families with children ages 6 and older; attendance at a performance of the opera is not required to participate in the workshop. Tickets are $10. For tickets and more information, visit sfopera.com/community or call (415) 864-3330.
Tickets for Carmen are priced from $26 to $398. A $2 facility fee is included in all Balcony sections. All other sections include a $3-per-ticket facility fee. For tickets, visit sfopera.com, call (415) 864-3330 or visit the San Francisco Opera Box Office at 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco. Box Office hours: Monday 10 a.m. 5 p.m.; Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. 6 p.m. Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the morning of each performance. Standing room tickets are $10 each, cash only, and limited to two tickets per person. Casting, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change
Each presentation of Carmen at the War Memorial Opera House features a 25-minute Pre-Opera Talk by opera lecturer and scholar Laura Stanfield Prichard. Beginning 55 minutes prior to curtain, Pre-Opera Talks are open to tickets holders for the corresponding performance.
OperaVision screens, suspended from the ceiling of the balcony section at select performances, provide close-up and mid-range ensemble shots in high-definition video. English subtitles appear at the bottom of each screen. OperaVision is made possible by the Koret-Taube Media Suite. Visit sfopera.com for OperaVision dates.
The War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue. Patrons are encouraged to use public transportation to attend San Francisco Opera performances. The War Memorial Opera House is within walking distance of the Civic Center BART Station and near numerous bus lines, including 5, 21, 47, 49 and the F Market Street. For further public transportation information, visit bart.gov and sfmta.com.
Van Ness Construction: Due to construction for the SFMTA Van Ness Improvement Project, vehicles are unable to pick-up and drop-off at 301 Van Ness Avenue, and bus lines 47, 49 and 90 may experience travel delays. Please use the white loading zone at 450 Franklin Street (behind the Opera House) for rideshare pick-up and drop-off. We suggest planning extra time.