Music by Georges Bizet
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
A co-production with Boston Lyric Opera and San Francisco Opera
Sung in French with English supertitles
Friday, Sep 23, 7:00 pm
Sunday, Sep 25, 3:00 pm
Friday Sep 30, 7:30 pm
Sunday Oct 2, 3:00 pm
BLO’s 40th Anniversary Season launches with the East Coast premiere of Calixto Bieito’s Carmen in a co-production with San Francisco Opera – marking the director’s long-awaited U.S. opera debut. Set in the arid earthiness of 1970’s post-Franco Spanish North Africa, this raw and cinematic vision is a powerful account of the defiantly free-spirited woman and her obsessive lover, set to Bizet’s intoxicating score.
Jennifer Johnson Cano, critically acclaimed for her star turn in BLO’s 2015 production of Don Giovanni, returns to Boston as the fiery, seductive gypsy who destroys the naïve soldier Don José, played by Roger Honeywell. Michael Mayes and Chelsea Basler return to BLO, and BLO Music Director David Angus conducts. MORE
Conductor David Angus
Production Calixto Bieito*
Revival Director Joan Anton Rechi*
Set Designer Alfons Flores*
Costume Designer Mercè Paloma*
Lighting Designer Robert Wierzel
Associate Lighting Designer Amith Chandrashaker*
Fight Director Andrew Kenneth Moss
Wig And Makeup Designer Jason Allen
Boston Opera House
539 Washington St., Boston MA
2 hours, 45 minutes including one intermission
CAST in order of appearance
Yusef Lambert* as Lillas Pastia
Vincent Turregano† as Moralès
Chelsea Basler‡ as Micaëla
Liam Moran as Zuniga
Gina DeFreitas as Manuelita
Jennifer Johnson Cano as Carmen
Roger Honeywell as Don José
Lily Waters* as Girl
Kathryn Skemp Moran as Frasquita
Heather Gallagher‡ as Mercédès
Michael Mayes as Escamillo
Andrew Garland as El Dancairo
Samuel Levine as El Remendado
Junichi Fukuda* as Torero
Soldiers, children, cigarette girls, gypsies, smugglers
* Boston Lyric Opera Debut
† Boston Lyric Opera Jane and Steven Akin Emerging Artist
‡ Boston Lyric Opera Jane and Steven Akin Emerging Artist Alumnus
Outside a cigarette factory, men press forward to see the cigarette girls, especially the gypsy Carmen. She sings a habanera and throws a flower to Don José, a corporal in the Dragoons. He is perturbed, yet moved by her gesture. His fiancée Michaëla arrives, bringing greetings from his far-away mother. A furious fight, started by Carmen, breaks out in the factory. She is arrested and handed over to José. During the interrogation conducted by the lieutenant Zuniga, Carmen refuses to answer questions; instead, she cheekily sings to herself. Once alone with José, she promises him a rendezvous later that night—if he lets her escape. José feigns being thrown to the ground, enabling Carmen to run off. José’s superiors see through his ruse, and he is taken to prison.
Carmen sings and dances with two of her female friends, Frasquita and Mercédès. Later, the toreador Escamillo enters. Carmen rejects his advances, saying she is in love with José. The band of smugglers invites Carmen to join them on a heist, but she hears of José approaching. Carmen shoos everyone out and dances for him. A bugle call is heard from the streets. José, who has been demoted to the rank of private, says he must now return to the barracks. Carmen derides and mocks him, which tortures José. In the meantime, Zuniga returns with hopes of seducing the beautiful gypsy. Blind with jealousy, José flings himself at his superior officer, but the smugglers enter and separate them. They urge José to join their band and he has no choice but to do so.
José, who has been forced to accompany Carmen into hiding, thinks with remorse of his aged mother. Carmen is tired of him. She engages in a tarot card reading with Frasquita and Mercédès. The cards reveal that her fate is sealed: it will be the death for her and José. The smugglers go off with the women to do their shady business. Michaëla enters, looking for José. She hides waiting for him to return. Escamillo arrives looking for Carmen. The jealous José provokes a fight with the toreador as Carmen arrives just in time to separate them. Michaëla’s presence is discovered, and she tells José that his mother is dying and beseeches him to follow her. José, stricken with grief and jealousy, follows Michaëla out, but not before promising—and threatening—Carmen that he will return.
A square is filled by a noisy crowd awaiting the arrival of the bull-fighter. Escamillo enters with Carmen on his arm. Frasquita and Mercedes warn Carmen of José whom they have seen lurking around. Carmen shuns their warnings, and says that she will confront José and end the relationship once and for all. After the crowd funnels into the arena, José implores Carmen to come back to him and love him again. She tosses away the ring which he had given her, and defiantly proclaims her love for Escamillo. Just as Escamillo defeats the bull, José stabs Carmen to death. He falls sobbing over her corpse, calling out her name in despair and admitting his guilt.
David Angus is Music Director of Boston Lyric Opera, following a very successful period as Music Director of Glimmerglass Opera. He conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra every season and is also Honorary Conductor of the Flanders
Symphony Orchestra, where he was Chief Conductor for many years and built the orchestra into one of the most exciting young orchestras in Northern Europe. Mr. Angus now conducts opera
all over Europe and North America. He began his career working at Glyndebourne, where he conducted a wide range of operas, and he went on to work in Italy and then across Europe. In the concert hall, he performs particularly in the UK and Scandinavia, and next season will also see him in Italy, Ireland and Portugal, as well as returning to his former orchestra
in Belgium. He has recorded many CDs and broadcasts regularly on classical radio channels.
Since his first operatic staging—Haydn’s Il Mondo della Luna at Opera Zuid, Maastricht, in 1999— Calixto Bieito has staged operas by Verdi (Un Ballo in Maschera, Macbeth, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Don Carlos), Mozart (Don Giovanni, Così Fan Tutte, Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Wagner (Der Fliegende
Holländer, Parsifal, Tannhäuser), Puccini, Berg (Wozzeck, Lulu), Gluck (Armida), Beethoven (Fidelio) at the most renowned international opera houses such as English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Komische Oper Berlin, Vlaamse Opera, Theater Basel, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Stuttgart Opera, Opernhaus Zürich, Den Norske Opera Oslo, Bayerische Staastoper, Munich and Opéra National de Paris. He first presented his staging of Carmen in Spain in 1999, followed by productions and revivals at Opera Ireland, Dublin (2002), Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp and Ghent (2004), Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona (2010), Teatro Auditorio
San Lorenzo del Escorial, Madrid (2009), Theater Basel (2011), Teatro Massimo, Palermo (2011), La Fenice, Venice (2012), Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo in Bogotá (2012), English National Opera (2012), Den Norske Opera Oslo (2015), and San Francisco Opera (2016). He was awarded an Abbiati Award 2011 by the Italian Association of Musical Critics for his staging of Carmen. Forthcoming: La Forza del Destino at The Metropolitan Opera, New York.
Joan Anton Rechi is making his Boston Lyric Opera debut with Carmen. He acted in theaters and on television before starting to work as a production assistant for directors, including Calixto Bieito, Robert Carsen and Willy Decker. He began his own work
as a director in 2003 with a theatrical adaptation of Offenbach’s Orphée aux Enfers at Barcelona’s Romea Theater. Recent engagements include a new production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Darmstadt, Germany and the premiere of Salome in Bogotá, Colombia. Upcoming engagements include Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte in Oviedo, Spain; Verdi’s Il Trovatore at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu; and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in Dusseldorf, Germany.