The composer Georges Bizet would also embrace a form of opera that incorporated spoken dialogue for his iconic Carmen. Written a little over a century after The Magic Flute, Carmen continues to be one of the most beloved and performed operas. Arias like Habanera and The Toreador Song are at once familiar, but also fascinating to see in their original context. The audience witnesses the “cigarette girl” Carmen’s full range of emotion--savage fierceness, beguiling sensuality and tragic indifference. The soldier Don José and Carmen have a relationship that is, well, complicated. Is Carmen a feminist hero? A victim without freedom?

Performed in French with English supertitles.

Click here for a special video greeting from soprano Alyson Cambridge our Carmen

Click here for a special video greeting from baritone Alex Lawrence our Escamillo


To learn more about CARMEN, click here for the Audience Guide

Georges Bizet’s tragic masterpiece returns to Toledo Opera after a ten-year absence. Carmen, a cigarette factory worker, seduces Don José, an army corporal who falls victim to her feminine wiles. Also vying for Carmen’s attention is the dashing toreador, Escamillo. In the end, Carmen is the victim who succumbs to love and lust. James Meena will conduct an acclaimed international cast, the Toledo Opera Chorus , and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, in this production staged by director Jeffrey Buchman with choreography by Rosa Mercedes.

Alyson Cambridge, Carmen

American soprano Alyson Cambridge, hailed by critics as “radiant, vocally assured, dramatically subtle and compelling, and artistically imaginative” (Washington Post), noted for her “powerful, clear voice” (New York Times) and “revelatory, sensual, smoky readings” (Opera News) is one of the most diverse and compelling vocal artists on the scene today. Her rich, warm soprano, combined with her strikingly beautiful stage presence and affecting musical and dramatic interpretation, have brought her over a decade of successes on the world’s leading opera and concert stages, including The Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Albert Hall, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vienna Konzerthaus, among others, as well as recent débuts in Paris, Warsaw, Beijing, and other musical capitals throughout Europe and Asia. This season, Cambridge performs a variety of concerts including the Sisters in Song concert series with Lake Forest Symphony, an American Songbook Concert with The Marcus Center for Performing Arts, From the Diary of Sally Hemings with The Crypt Sessions in NYC, Leading Lady: Heroines of Opera, Broadway, and The Silver Screen with Irvine Barclay Center, and a gala concert with the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. She will also perform Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow with Florentine Opera and The Metropolitan Opera, sings in Monticello Overheard with Victory Hall Opera and will perform in Rocktopia on Broadway.

Andrés Veramendi, Tenor

Tenor Andrés Veramendi was a finalist of Operalia 2003, Placido Domingo’s world opera competition. Some of his roles include: Alfredo Germont (La Traviata) at the Massy Opera (Paris); Cavaradossi (Tosca) at the Municipal Theater of Santiago de Chile; Rodolfo (La Bohéme) at the Municipal Theater of Lima; Pollione (Norma) at the Teatro Real de Madrid; Pinkerton (Madame Butterfly) at the National Opera House in Donetsk, Ukraine and Opera de Cataluña in Sabadell; Manrico (Il Trovatore) at the Teatro Cervantes in Malaga; Calaf (Turandot) for ABBAO and Opera de Cataluña in Sabadell; and, Radamés (Aida) at the National Auditorium of Madrid where he also sang Verdi's Requiem. Mr. Veramendi sang many roles in zarzuela in Buenos Aires, Madrid, and Brussels including Fernando (Doña Francisquita) and Paco (La Vida Breve). Recently, he sang to great acclaim in the Tribute to Maria Callas in Athens, Greece in the Odeon Herodes Attticus, interpreting arias of Puccini. Mr. Veramendi has sung in several New Year’s Eve concerts for the Teatro Real de Madrid under the musical direction of Kynan Jones.

Alex Lawrence, Escamillo

Baritone Alex Lawrence recently made his Vancouver Opera debut in the title role in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and debuted the role of Il Conte in the same opera with Opera Naples in the 2017-18 season. Also last season, Mr. Lawrence sang performances of Carmina Burana with New Orchestra of Washington, Dvořák’s Requiem with Saint George’s Choral Society, and joined pianist Kevin Murphy in recital with the Ravinia Festival and the Tucson Desert Song Festival. In addition, he joined the Ravinia Festival in concerts as a member of the prestigious Ravinia Steans Institute, and sang several concerts with Sherrill Milnes’ Savannah Voice Festival. Mr. Lawrence made his European debut singing The Hunter (Rusalka), Moralès (Carmen), El Tio Sarvaor in De Falla’s La Vida Breve, Sam (Trouble in Tahiti), and L’Ami in Debussy’s rarely performed La Chute de la Maison Usher. Since then, he went on to make several further role debuts in Zürich, including Silvio (Pagliacci), Ned Keene (Peter Grimes), Dancairo (Carmen), the three baritone roles of Bohuslav Martinu’s rarely performed Juliette, and Flemish Deputy in Verdi’s Don Carlo under Fabio Luisi, the title role in Lange’s Das Gespenst von Canterville, and King of The West in Jonathan Dove’s Das Verzauberte Schwein.

James Meena, conductor

James Meena, Toledo Opera’s principal artistic advisor, consistently earns critical acclaim for his artistic vision and dynamic presence on the podium.  Mo. Meena’s guest conducting engagements have included the Washington Opera; the Pittsburgh Opera; L’Opera de Montreal; Michigan Opera Theater; Arizona Opera; the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, South Korea; the National Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of China; the Pittsburgh Symphony; the Cairo Philharmonic in Egypt; the Grand Rapids Symphony; the Toledo Symphony; the Orchestra of the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Sicily; and, the Orchestra Regionale Toscana in Florence, Italy.  This season, he opened the New York City Opera season with a double bill of Rachmaninov’s Aleko and Pagliacci, as well as his Memphis Symphony Classics debut, and returns to L’Opera de Montreal for La Bohème.

Jeffrey Buchman, director

Opera News calls director Jeffrey Buchman “a formidable talent” and South Florida Classical Review wrote, “Buchman is one of the finest and most versatile directors working in opera today.” Some recent productions include:  La bohème, Eugene Onegin, Rigoletto and Die Zauberflöte for Florida Grand Opera, Carmen for Atlanta Opera; Tosca for Opera Tampa, Le nozze di Figaro and Madama Butterfly for Opera Naples, Il barbiere di Siviglia for Baltimore Opera, La traviata, Don Giovanni and Die Zauberflöte for the Academy of Vocal Arts and CarmenLa bohème and La traviata for the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.  Mr. Buchman is in as much demand for new opera as he is for fresh, compelling productions of the operatic classics.  In contemporary opera, he has recently created productions of As One (Laura Kaminsky) for Hawaii Opera Theatre and Opera Colorado, 27 (Ricky Ian Gordon) for Michigan Opera Theatre, No Exit (Andy Vores) for Florida Grand Opera, Ainadamar for the University of Miami Frost School of Music, and the world-premieres of TeslaIntelligent Systems, and Fairy Tales: Songs of the Dandelion Woman, all by Carson Kievman. Winner of the prestigious Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition and the National Society of Arts and Letters vocal competition, Mr. Buchman is on the faculty at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, the Brancaleoni International Music Festival (Italy), and La Musica Lirica (Italy).

Rosa Mercedes, Choreographer

Barcelona native Rosa Mercedes has enjoyed a lengthy career as an exciting and versatile choreographer. Hailed by Dance Magazine as a virtuoso, her extensive and critically acclaimed career in Spanish dance as a principal dancer has had her featured in most major theaters throughout the United States, Europe, South America, and Canada.  In opera, Ms. Mercedes has had her talents as both dancer and choreographer featured by the Metropolitan Opera, Opera di Roma, Seattle Opera, Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Cincinnati Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Atlanta Opera, Florentine Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Baltimore Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Tulsa Opera, Washington Summer Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, and Opera Naples alongside such greats as Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, Agnes Baltsa, Renata Scotto, Denyse Graves, Julius Rudel, Marco Armiliato, and James Levine. Recently, she has choreographed Il barbiere di Siviglia for Washington National Opera, The Passenger by Weinberg, Carmen and Eugene Onegin for Florida Grand Opera, Turandot and The Magic Flute for Opera Naples, Carmen for Michigan Opera Theatre, and Il barbiere di Siviglia for Lyric Opera Baltimore. Ms. Mercedes is founder and artistic director of Duende Ballet Español and is a recipient of several awards, including the Dance Miami Choreographers Fellowship and the ACCA Critics Choice Award in dance. She gives master classes, workshops and teaches movement classes for singers throughout the U.S. and is a dance panelist and master teacher for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.



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