Release date: 10/28/2011

San Francisco Opera Presents Bizet's Carmen November 6-December 4, War Memorial Opera House

Kendall Gladen and Anita Rachvelishvili Share the Title Role

Thiago Arancam is Don Jose and Paulo Szot is Escamillo

Photos Available
San Francisco Opera presents Georges Bizet’s Carmen in eleven performances, November 6 through December 4, at the War Memorial Opera House. Thrilling but dangerous, the captivating, capricious Carmen is one of the most vivid characters in all of opera and mezzo-sopranos Kendall Gladen and Anita Rachvelishvili share the title role in this classic Jean-Pierre Ponnelle/San Francisco Opera production. Tenor Thiago Arancam is Don José; baritone Paulo Szot, a Tony Award–winner for South Pacific, makes his Company debut as Escamillo; and Adler Fellow Sara Gartland is Micaëla. Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Jose Maria Condemi directs, and San Francisco Opera Resident Conductor Giuseppe Finzi leads the final two performances. 
American mezzo-soprano Kendall Gladenhas appeared as Carmen with Deutsche Oper Berlin, Los Angeles Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre and Saratoga Opera. A former Adler Fellow, her past Company appearances include Mercédès in Carmen, a Singer in Manon Lescaut, Giovanna in Rigoletto, the Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte, and creating the role of Elizabeth Keckley in Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton’s Appomattox. Other career highlights include Maddalena in Rigoletto with Los Angeles Opera, Canadian Opera Company and New Orleans Opera; Lily in Porgy and Bess with Washington National Opera; and Mercédès with Los Angeles Opera. On the concert stage, Gladen has been a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony, New World Symphony, and the National Philharmonic. Upcoming engagements include Meg Page in Falstaff with Lausanne Opera, and Carmen with Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Gladen will sing the role of Carmen on November 6, 9, 26, 29 and December 2, 4.
A native of Tbilisi, Georgia, Anita Rachvelishvili makes her San Francisco Opera debut in this production of Carmen. She has previously appeared as Carmen at Milan’s La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, Munich’s Bavarian State Opera, Berlin State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Canadian Opera Company, the Arena di Verona and Seattle Opera. The mezzo-soprano’s other recent engagements include Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri at La Scala, Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice at the Perelada Festival, and Dalila in Samson et Dalila in concert with Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra. Later this season, Rachvelishvili will sing Dalila with Deutsche Oper Berlin, a reprisal of Carmen at the Met, and a gala concert with CulturArte in Puerto Rico. She will come to San Francisco Opera immediately following a performance of Adriana Lecouvreur with Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufmann at Carnegie Hall. Rachvelishvili will sing the role of Carmen on November 12, 15, 17, 20 and 23.
Brazilian tenor Thiago Arancam, fresh from his success as Christian de Neuveville in last fall’s Cyrano de Bergerac, is Don José, the man who unwisely falls under Carmen’s spell. He has previously sung Don José in Sanxay, Moscow and Warsaw, with Washington National Opera and, most recently, at Deutsche Oper Berlin. Other recent engagements include Cavaradossi in Tosca at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Philadelphia Opera and in Frankfurt, Rome and Las Palmas, as well as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at Washington National Opera.
Baritone Paulo Szot makes his Company debut as Escamillo, a role he has previously performed in Tokyo, Otsu, Valencia, Toronto and Santiago. A 2008 Tony Award–winner for his portrayal of Emile de Becque in South Pacific, Szot will return to that role for a tour of the United Kingdom following this production. Equally established in the operatic repertoire, Paulo Szot is highly regarded for his role as Kovalyov in the Metropolitan Opera’s recent production of Shostakovich’s The Nose and will return to that company later this season as Lescaut in Manon.
Current Adler Fellow Sara Gartland makes her role debut as Micaëlain this production. Previous appearances at San Francisco Opera include Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and Gerhilde in Die Walküre. Other recent engagements include performances with Utah Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera as Alexandra in Blitzstein’s Regina; Opera Iowa as Norina in Don Pasquale; and the Ohio Light Opera as Elisabeth Bennet in the world premiere of Baker and Jacob’s musical Pride and Prejudice, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, and as Marianne in Romberg’s The New Moon.
San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in this production. Luisotti opened the 2011-12 season conducting Puccini’s Turandot, is currently leading performances ofMozart’s Don Giovanni, and will also return to conduct two special performances with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in concert co-presented with Cal Performances and a new production of Verdi’s Attila. Luisotti’s outside engagements during the 2011–12 season include Tosca at Milan’s La Scala and the rarely performed I Masnadieri with Teatro di San Carlo in Naples in addition to many orchestral engagements, including the Berlin Philharmonic and the orchestras of Cleveland and Philadelphia. Jose Maria Condemi directs, and Resident Conductor Giuseppe Finzi conducts the final two performances.
Sung in French with English supertitles, the eleven performances of Carmen are scheduled for November 6 (2 p.m.), November 9 (7:30 p.m.), November 12 (8 p.m.), November 15 (8 p.m.), November 17 (7:30 p.m.), November 20 (2 p.m.), November 23 (7:30 p.m.), November 26 (8 p.m.), November 29 (7:30 p.m.), December 2 (8 p.m.) and December 4 (7:30 p.m.), 2011.
Tickets and Information
Tickets for the performance of Bizet’s Carmen are priced from $21 to $330 and may be purchased at or through the San Francisco Opera Box Office [301 Van Ness Avenue (at Grove Street), or by phone at (415) 864-3330]. Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; tickets are $10 each, cash only.
All performances will feature an informative Opera Talk by educator and educational consultant, Dr. Marcia Green. Talks begin fifty-five minutes before each performance in the orchestra section of the War Memorial Opera House and are presented free of charge to patrons with tickets for the corresponding performance.
The War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue at Grove Street. 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 more public transportation information, visit and
Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change. For further information about Carmen and San Francisco Opera’s 2011–12 season, please visit