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Music by Georges Bizet
Libretto by Ludovic Halévy and Henri Meilhac
Premiered March 3, 1875, Opéra-Comique (Paris, France)
We conclude Opera Colorado’s grandest season to date with Bizet’s smoldering drama, Carmen, filled with some of opera’s most iconic melodies—including Carmen’s “Habanera” and the rousing Toreador song. Not a soul can resist Carmen’s seductive charm, not even the naïve Don Jose. But when she leaves him for a charismatic bullfighter, Don Jose’s infatuation turns obsessive. What fate, or choice, waits for the woman no man can tame?
May 7, 10, 13, 15, 19, 21 | 2022
The Ellie Caulkins Opera House at Denver Performing Arts Complex
Performed in French, with English and Spanish subtitles at every seat
Want to peek behind the scenes with our cast or become a Carmen expert? Check out all our Carmen content on the Opera Colorado Blog>>
Estimated Length: 3 hours, and 15 minutes, including 2 twenty minute intermissions
*Join us one hour prior to each performance at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House of a free and insightful pre-performance discussion led by opera historian Betsy Schwarm.
Scenery courtesy of Lyric Opera of Kansas City
Costumes courtesy of Seattle Opera
Hailed by the San Francisco Sentinel as “the Carmen of this Generation” after her debut with the San Francisco Opera, Kate Aldrich has performed the title role in Bizet’s opera to much critical acclaim in such theaters as the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Metropolitan Opera, Opernhaus Zürich and Arena di Verona. Commanding a wide repertoire which also includes the title role in La Cenerentola, Adalgisa in Norma, Charlotte in Werther and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Aldrich has performed in other leading theaters throughout the world, including the Gran Teatre de Liceu in Barcelona, Teatro Colon de Buenos Aires, Staatsoper Hamburg, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatro Regio di Torino, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Theatre du Capitole de Toulouse, Opera de Marseille, Opera de Montpellier, Opera de Montreal, and Teatro Sao Carlos in Lisbon, as well as at the Salzburg Festival and Rossini Festival in Pesaro. Aldrich begins the 2019/20 season with her role and house debut as the Foreign Princess in Rusalka at the Theater an der Wien in, after which she will sing her first Princess Eboli in Don Carlos for her debut at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège. She will also sing concerts in Puerto Rico and Salzburg.
This past season, Aldrich debuted in the title role of La Belle Hélène at the Staatsoper Hamburg. She also sang Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Orchestre National de Lyon and Marguerite in La Damnation de Faust with the Wiener Symphoniker. In addition to a series of concerts in Lyon singing Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, the soprano appeared in concert in Salzburg, New York City and Sun Valley. In the 2017/18 season, Aldrich made her role debut as Joan of Arc in The Maid of Orleans with Odyssey Opera in Massachusetts, after which she sang her first Verdi Requiem with the Pittsburgh Symphony. She also sang Carmen at the Hawaii Opera Theatre, performed in concert with the Zürich Chamber Orchestra, and appeared in galas with the Orchestre National de France and at the Avenches Opera Festival in Switzerland. Engagements for the 2016/17 season included Giulietta in Les contes d’Hoffmann at the Opera National de Paris and Los Angeles Opera, the title role in Carmen at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Semperoper Dresden, and in Tokyo under Charles Dutoit, Charlotte in Werther in San Juan, and her debut as Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
Aldrich’s engagements from the 2015/16 season included Marguerite in La Damnation de Faust with Opera de Lyon, Arden Scott in Great Scott at the San Diego Opera, Rosmira in Handel’s Partenope in Paris, Amsterdam and Madrid, Carmen at the Verbier and Llangollen Festivals, and Statira in Spontini’s Olympie at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées with the Cercle de l’Harmonie, conducted by Jeromie Rohrer. In the 2014/15 season, she sang the title role in Carmen with Opera de Lyon and the Vancouver Opera, later appearing in the same role at Choregies d’Orange opposite Jonas Kaufmann. She also sang Idamante in Idomeneo re di Creta with Opera de Lyon and Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena with Opera de Toulon and the Bolshoi.
In the 2013/14 season, Aldrich sang Adalgisa in Norma at the Metropolitan Opera, Leonore in a new production of La Favorite at the Theatre du Capitole de Toulouse, and Carmen at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zurich, and in Seoul and Beijing. Highlights from the 2012/13 season included her debut at the Opera National de Paris as Nicklausse/The Muse in Les contes d’Hoffmann, her debut in Zurich and Seoul as the title role in Carmen, and her debut with the Royal Concertgebeouw Orchestra in Amsterdam in Frank Martin’s Golgotha. She also sang Sesto in La clemenza di Tito with the Opera Municipal de Marseille and starred in the concert performances of Massenet’s Le Mage at the Massenet Festival in St. Etienne, a work that had not been performed in over 100 years. In 2012, Aldrich also made her debut at the Teatro Real de Madrid as Sesto, returned to the Teatro Regio in Torino as Adalgisa in Norma, and sang her first Romeo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi at the Caramoor Festival under Will Crutchfield.
In 2000, Kate Aldrich made her professional debut at l’Arena di Verona as Preziosilla in La forza del destino. She was soon thereafter chosen by legendary director Franco Zeffirelli to sing the role of Amneris in a new production of Aida, which was performed on the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s death in his hometown of Busseto, Italy. Aldrich then developed her repertoire with performances as the title role in Handel’s Giulio Cesare at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf and Staatsoper Hamburg, Sesto in La clemenza di Tito in Prague, and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Isabella in L’italiana in Algeri at the Teatro Sao Carlos in Lisbon. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Opera Orchestra of New York as Frederic in a concert performance of Mignon and sang her first Charlotte in Werther opposite Roberto Alagna at the Teatro Regio in Torino, later repeating the role in Japan with Opera de Lyon. Aldrich returned to Torino as Orsini in Lucrezia Borgia and debuted at the Washington National Opera in the same role. She then made her debuts with both the San Diego Opera and Teatro Massimo in Palermo as Elisabetta I in Maria Stuarda.
Aldrich made her debut at the Salzburg Festival as Ascanio in Benvenuto Cellini, at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and at the Pesaro Festival in the title role of Rossini’s Zelmira. Her first appearances at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona also marked her debut as Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. Aldrich has also starred in revivals of such less performed works as Mariotte’s Salome with l’Opera de Montpellier and Massenet’s Don Quichotte at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and in Tokyo. She appeared as Adriano in the Deutsche Oper Berlin’s new production of Wagner’s Rienzi and was also heard in the title role of Ernest Reyer’s rarely performed Salammbo in Marseille.
On the concert platform, Aldrich has performed Das Lied von der Erde with the Bologna Symphony and Eine Florentinische Tragoedie with the San Francisco Symphony, both under the direction of James Conlon. She has performed Eine Florentinische Tragoedie and Ravel’s Sheherazade with l’Opera de Montpellier and Stravinsky’s La Pulcinella and Debussy’s Le Martyre de Saint Sebastian with the Orchestra National de Radio France, under the baton of Daniele Gatti. Aldrich has also performed both the soprano and alto solo parts of La Petite Messe Solenelle at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro and the Washington National Opera, respectively.
Several of Aldrich’s performances have been issued on DVD, including Benvenuto Cellini, La Favorite, Norma, Zelmira, Don Quichotte and Rienzi, as well as Werther opposite Roberto Alagna at the Teatro Regio di Torino. Ms. Aldrich has recorded Antoine Mariotte’s Salome on CD with l’Opera de Montpellier, as well as Massenet’s Le Mage at the Massenet Festival in St. Etienne, France.
Bruce Sledge is one of today’s most in-demand lyric tenors and sings a wide variety of repertoire with many international houses.
Mr. Sledges started the 2019-2020 season making his role debut as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly in a Metropolitan Opera’s “Live in HD” transmission. He continues with Contareno in a new production of Rossini’s Bianca e Falliero in Frankfurt. He was also seen at UCLA’s Royce Hall as a tenor soloist in Rachel Fuller’s Animal Requiem. Future engagements include debuts with Opera Colorado, the Erl Opera Festival, and Washington Concert Opera, and a return to the Santa Fe Opera.
In recent seasons, Mr. Sledge returned to the Deutsche Oper Berlin for performances of Jean in Le Prophète and to the Canadian Opera Company for Lord Percy in Anna Bolena as well as to the Santa Fe Opera as Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos and to the Metropolitan Opera roster.
Prior to that, Mr. Sledge returned to the Vancouver Opera to sing the Duke in Rigoletto, made his debut at the Canadian Opera Company as Paolo Erisso in Maometto Secondo, and returned to the roster of the Metropolitan Opera.
Mr. Sledge’s 2016-2017 season included a return to the Welsh National Opera for performances in two leading roles, Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice and Macduff in Macbeth, a return to the roster of the Metropolitan Opera, and a performance with the Defiant Requiem in Vienna.
Other projects for Mr. Sledge included big personal successes as the Duke in Rigoletto and Paolo Erisso in Maometto Secondo with the Santa Fe Opera and a return to the Metropolitan Opera for Thomas Ades’ The Tempest. In concert, the tenor was heard in Verdi’s Messa da Requiem with the Spoleto USA Festival and with the Radio Television Ireland Orchestra in Dublin, in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the National Symphony, and in Popera concerts with Opera Tampa. Prior to that, he made debuts with the Welsh National Opera as Leicester in Maria Stuarda, with the Opéra de Bordeaux as Percy in Anna Bolena and as the Duke in Rigoletto with Boston Lyric Opera and returned to the Santa Fe Opera as Vladimir Vladimirescu and the Fisherman in the double-bill of Mozart’s The Impresario and Stravinsky’s Rossignol. In concert, Mr. Sledge appeared with the Risca Male Choir in Wales.
Previous projects include a return to the Metropolitan Opera in two Mozart roles: Tamino in The Magic Flute and Ferrando in Così Fan Tutte. Additionally, Mr. Sledge made his debut with the Minnesota Opera as Leicester in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, followed by Tamino with the Manitoba Opera and Almaviva in Hamburg and in Grand Rapids before making his debut in Avenches, Switzerland, as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto. In concert, he was heard in Mozart’s Requiem with the San Francisco Symphony and in Schubert’s Mass No. 6 with the San Diego Symphony. He has also appeared as Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore with Atlanta Opera, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Hong Kong, the Duke in Rigoletto with Tulsa Opera, and Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with the Hamburgische Staatsoper. In concert, he returned to the San Francisco Symphony for Stravinsky’s Pulcinella. Mr. Sledge marked his return to Japan with a role debut as Rodrigo in Rossini’s Otello with Pesaro’s prestigious Rossini Opera Festival on tour, followed by a recital appearance for Marilyn Horne’s 75th Birthday Gala at Carnegie Hall. Additional opera engagements included a return to the Vancouver Opera as the Duke in Rigoletto and a debut with the Teatro Regio di Torino as Ernesto in Don Pasquale. Mr. Sledge also appeared with the San Francisco Symphony in the Schubert Mass No. 6 with Maestro Michel Tilson Thomas.
Mr. Sledge was a finalist in the 2002 World Voice Masters Competition in Monte Carlo, a finalist in Placido Domingo’s Operalia 2000 World Opera Contest and a national finalist in the 2000 Loren L. Zachary Vocal Competition. In 1998, he was a Western Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and was awarded first place in the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Competition. Bruce Sledge received his master’s degree in vocal arts from the University of Southern California, being awarded the most outstanding music masters graduate.
Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle as an “artist ready for the big
time,” soprano Susannah Biller was a member of the prestigious Adler
Fellowship Program with San Francisco Opera. While in San Francisco,
she was seen as Frasquita in Carmen, Lolita in the world premiere of
John Harbison’s Heart of a Soldier, Kristina in The Makropoulos Case and
Madame Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor. Additional productions with
San Francisco Opera include Der Ring des Nibelungen, Serse and
Werther. Engagements for 2018-2019 included the revival of her Kitty
Packard in Dinner at Eight in her Wexford Festival debut as well as the
title role in Madame White Snake on tour with Beth Morrison Projects
for the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Musetta in La bohème with Austin
Opera, and a return to Opera Theatre of St. Louis as the Countess in Le
nozze di Figaro. The 2019-2020 season sees her as a soloist for Dona
nobis pacem with the Chattanooga Symphony and Carmina burana with
the Memphis Symphony.
Biller’s 2017-2018 season included Norina in Don Pasquale with
Minnesota Opera, Lieschen in Der Ring des Polykrates with The Dallas
Opera, Nanetta in Falstaff with Opera Colorado, and her role debut as
Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus with Des Moines Metro Opera. In the 2016-2017 season, she joined Beth Morrison Projects as the title role in Madame White Snake, San Diego Opera as Clorinda in La Cenerentola, Minnesota Opera as
Kitty Packard in the world premiere of Dinner at Eight, and returned to Opera Theatre of St. Louis as Fraulein Burstner/Leni in The Trial by Philip Glass.
The 2015-2016 season included her debut with the Louisiana Philharmonic for
Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, her return to Arizona Opera as Rosalba in Florencia en el Amazonas, and debuts with Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Des Moines Metro Opera as Eurydice in Orphée et Eurydice, and the
Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. The 2014-2015 season saw Ms. Biller as Adele in Die Fledermaus with Portland Opera, Mica in Carly Simon’s Romulus Hunt with Nashville Opera, Marie in La fille du régiment with Arizona Opera and
Costanza in Riccardo Primo with Opera Theater of St. Louis. To open the 2013-2014 season, Ms. Biller portrayed the role of Selena in the world premiere of Dolores Claiborne with San Francisco Opera.
She received multiple accolades for her work in this role including from the San Francisco Chronicle, which hailed that she “was a bright toned, poignant
Selena; her aria during the eclipse garnered a well-earned explosion of applause” and Opera Now, who acclaimed that she “was hugely impressive as the abused daughter. Her crystalline soprano and limpid tonal production perfectly suggested the young woman, but then assumed a hint of steel when she matures into the bitter twenty-something who hates her mother.” Additional engagements for the 2013-2014 season included Garcias in Don Quichotte with San Diego Opera and Adina in L’elisir d’amore with Opera Theater of St. Louis.
Other notable performances include her company and role debut with Portland Opera as Nanetta in Falstaff, her role debut as Despina in San Francisco Opera’s production of Così fan tutte for which ARThound hailed her as one of the “clear stand-outs” who “literally glows on stage and managed to grab the limelight through the entire performance,” Eritea in Cavalli’s Eliogabalo with Gotham Chamber Opera, her New York Debut as Fortuna in Christopher Alden’s new production of Il sogno di scipione with Gotham Chamber Opera, and productions of Nixon in China and Die Zauberflöte
with San Francisco Opera. Ms. Biller debuted with Ensemble Parallele as Eurydice in the award-winning production of Philip Glass’ Orphée, and also with Opera Santa Barbara as Serpina in La serva padrona. She celebrated major success in the 2009 San Francisco Opera Merola Program performing in the Schwabacher Scenes Concert as Musetta in La bohème, Euridice in Orfeo, Monica in The Medium, and Elvira in L’italiana in Algeri.
Panamanian-American baritone Nmon Ford’s recent highlights include his exceptionally reviewed performances as Don Giovanni at Dorset Festival Opera in the UK, and in the new Metropolitan Opera production of Porgy & Bess (Crown) in which he appeared at London’s English National Opera and at Dutch National Opera in The Netherlands. In Denver, he joined Opera Colorado’s Carmen (Escamillo), a role he also sang at Calgary Opera in Canada and in London at English National Opera. Recent career highlights include Salome (Jochanaan) with Patricia Racette at Pittsburgh Opera, Fidelio (Don Pizzaro) with Christine Goerke at Cincinnati Opera, and Otello (Iago) in concert with Atlanta Symphony with Russell Thomas in the title role. Earlier in his career Mr. Ford sang often at Hamburg State Opera in Germany and appeared in Tosca (Scarpia), Il Trovatore (Luna), the title role in Billy Budd, Death in Venice (The Traveler), and Iphigenie et Tauride (Thoas) under the baton of Simone Young; future engagements include Madama Butterfly (Sharpless) at Detroit Opera.
Appointed in 2015 as Opera Colorado’s first-ever music director, Ari Pelto’s “breathtaking wizardry in the pit” (The Denver Post) has been widely celebrated, with Pelto in demand at opera houses and concert halls throughout the United States. At the age of 24, Pelto was appointed Assistant Conductor at the Spoleto Festival and he has since gone on to conduct worldwide. International engagements include performances with Bochumer Philharmoniker and opera productions at New National Theatre of Tokyo and the Teatro Nacional Sucre in Quito, Ecuador. In 2004 he made his highly-praised debut with New York City Opera, conducting La Traviata, after which he became a regular, returning for productions of Madama Butterfly, La bohème, and Carmen. Recent successes include Eugene Onegin at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Lucia di Lammermoor at Virginia Opera, and La Voix Humaine at Chicago Opera Theater.
Iranian pianist and conductor, Sahar Nouri, returns to Opera Colorado for a sixth season, serving as the company’s chorus master, assistant conductor, and pianist coach. Ms. Nouri is the newly appointed music director of the Lamont Opera Theatre at Denver University. While being based in Denver, she continues to serve as guest coach/faculty with various organizations including San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Opera North Carolina, Opera Steamboat and more.
Previously, Ms. Nouri has been a member of the music staff at Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Utah Opera, Aspen Opera Center, Opera Parallèle, and Opera in the Heights. Her repertoire includes numerous classic operas as well as many world premieres such as: Prince of Players (Carlisle Floyd), O Columbia! (Gregory Spears), Steal a Pencil for Me (Gerald Cohen), and Today It Rains (Laura Kaminsky). A multi-lingual, Nouri has done studies in the Czech Republic, Italy, and Austria, and is frequently in demand as a language coach and recitalist.
Born and raised in the Midwest, Keturah Stickann had a career as a classical and contemporary dancer, performing extensively in opera. Subsequently, her work as a stage director has been seen in many opera houses across the United States and Canada, as well as in Chile, Japan, France, Germany, Hungary, and Australia. A champion of new American opera, she has worked extensively with director and librettist, Leonard Foglia, and has helped to bring new operas to the stage by Ricky Ian Gordon, Jennifer Higdon, and Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer among others. In a creative solution for the Covid era, some of her more recent productions include the drive-in versions of La bohème and The Barber of Seville for San Diego Opera. Recent and future productions include Salome at Madison Opera, Don Giovanni at Minnesota Opera, and Intimate Apparel at Chautauqua. Keturah is an Artistic Advisor at Knoxville Opera.
The Ellie Caulkins Opera House
- 21 2022