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Canadian Opera Company Presents CARMEN Featuring Must-See, All-Star Cast

Carmen runs for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on October 14, 16, 20, 22, 26, 28, 30, and November 4, 2022.

Canadian Opera Company Presents CARMEN Featuring Must-See, All-Star Cast

Two dazzling mezzo-sopranos take centre stage in the Canadian Opera Company's Carmen by Georges Bizet.

The wildly popular opera draws audiences into a high-stakes game between soldiers, smugglers, and a superstar bullfighter, all vying for the attention of fiercely independent Carmen. Two-time Grammy Award-winner J'Nai Bridges makes her COC debut, sharing the title role with Metropolitan Opera regular and COC Ensemble Studio alumna Rihab Chaieb. Carmen runs for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on October 14, 16, 20, 22, 26, 28, 30, and November 4, 2022.

American mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges is a "rising star" (Los Angeles Times) who says she greatly admires the opera's fiery lead character. "She's just brutally honest, and she's the freest character in all of opera," Bridges shared with the Classical Review. Tunisian-Canadian mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb sees plenty of nuance in Carmen's bold persona, saying, "She's in charge, she takes the space, and goes to get what she wants...[but] we can't forget she can also be a dreamer and enjoy moments of tenderness" (La Scena Musicale).

Argentine tenor Marcelo Puente (last seen in the COC's 2017 Tosca) returns to Toronto as Carmen's hot-tempered love interest Don José, while Juno-nominated Lebanese-Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury shares the role of sweet Micaëla with Anna-Sophie Neher, an Ensemble Studio alumna whose performance as Pamina in the COC's The Magic Flute (2022) recently earned her a Dora Mavor Moore Award nomination.

American Grammy Award-winning baritone Lucas Meachem shares the role of Escamillo, bringing his "commanding presence" (San Francisco Chronicle) to the charismatic matador, alongside Canadian baritone Gregory Dahl who was last featured on the COC stage in the 2018 world premiere of Hadrian. French Canadian bass Alain Coulombe and Canadian tenor Jean-Philippe Lazure sing the roles of Lieutenant Zuniga and Le Remendado, a local smuggler. And a number of current Ensemble Studio artists round out the cast: bass-baritone Alex Halliday as Morales, soprano Ariane Cossette as Frasquita, mezzo-soprano Alex Hetherington as Mercedes, and baritone Jonah Spungin as Le Dancaïre.

Carmen's hit-parade of recognizable music includes the explosive overture, sultry "Habanera," and swaggering "Toreador Song," all of which have been featured in countless places ranging from Disney Pixar's Up! to the 2018 musical biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Canadian conductor Jacques Lacombe leads the COC Orchestra, alongside the COC Chorus led by Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst.

Joel Ivany of Edmonton Opera and Against the Grain Theatre returns to the COC to put his unique directorial stamp on the sun-drenched production, while lighting from Toronto-based Jason Hand, combined with original set and costume designs from Michael Yeargan and François St-Aubin, whisks audiences away to bustling street scenes and danger-laced outlaw hideaways.

Carmen is sung in French and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES.

Single tickets for Carmen range from $35 - $250 for adults, with Grand Ring seats available at $290 and $350, and $22 tickets available for guests between the ages of 6 and 29 through the COC's Opera Under 30 program. Tickets can be purchased online at coc.ca or by calling the Four Seasons Centre Box Office at 416-363-8231. For more information on booking student groups, standing room, and rush tickets, as well as other specially priced tickets available to young people under the age of 15, please visit coc.ca.

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