Palm Beach Opera Returns to Kravis Center with Bizet's Iconic “Carmen"

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Palm Beach Opera presents Bizet’s iconic “Carmen” for one weekend only on Jan. 28-30, marking the first mainstage opera of the company’s historic 60th Anniversary Season and a triumphant return to the Kravis Center.

J'Nai Bridges as Carmen. Photo by Cory Weaver.

“As we continue to mark our milestone 60th Anniversary during this unique time, we are thrilled to be returning to the indoor stage with Bizet’s timeless ‘Carmen,’ and we have never been more proud of PBO’s strength, resilience, and unwavering commitment to live art,"

Palm Beach Opera’s vibrant and lavish production of "Carmen," one of the world's most popular operas, will be the first PBO performance back at the Kravis Center since the pandemic shuttered arts organizations nationwide beginning in 2020.

Committed to both its mission of providing live opera and to the safety of artists, audiences, and staff, Palm Beach Opera has implemented rigorous testing, masking, and mitigation strategies for staff and artists, based on consultation with the company’s medical advisor, union recommendations, and the evolution of industry best practices. To maximize comfort and safety at the performances, Palm Beach Opera is also adhering to the various protocols put in place by the Kravis Center, which include requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test result to enter and mandatory masking.

“As we continue to mark our milestone 60th Anniversary during this unique time, we are thrilled to be returning to the indoor stage with Bizet’s timeless ‘Carmen,’ and we have never been more proud of PBO’s strength, resilience, and unwavering commitment to live art,” said General & Artistic Director David Walker. “This time last year, in response to the pandemic, PBO pivoted to an outdoor opera festival, becoming the first company in the country to present a live, large-scale opera event since COVID-19 forced arts organizations across the country to close. And now, in our historic 2022 Season, we are back at the Kravis Center, where we’ve showcased acclaimed artists, iconic operas, and mesmerizing productions for 30 years.”

Distinguished conductor Antonello Allemandi, who was last seen at PBO as the conductor of “La traviata” in 2019, will return to lead the orchestra. Director Garnett Bruce, who directed PBO’s 2004 production of “Carmen,” also returns to lead the cast. Starring as Carmen in two debut performances are award-winning mezzo-sopranos J’Nai Bridges, who recently debuted at The Metropolitan Opera as Nefertiti in “Akhnaten,” and former Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Rihab Chaieb (Jan. 29), who debuted as Carmen in 2019 at Germany’s Oper Köln to critical acclaim.

Jonathan Burton, praised for his “thrilling power and beauty” by the Baltimore Sun and last seen at PBO as Rodolfo in the 2005 production of “La bohème,” will share the role of Don José with Dominick Chenes (Jan. 29), who sang the same role at PBO in a 2016 production. Zachary Nelson, last seen at PBO as Ping in the 2020 production of “Turandot,” will sing the role of Escamillo.

Frequent LA Opera artist Amanda Woodbury will perform as Micaëla and American baritone Timothy Renner will mark his PBO debut as Moralès. PBO Benenson Young Artists Christopher Humbert, Jr, Avery Boettcher, and Megan Callahan – all recently seen in the company’s sold-out December performance of “Dido and Aeneas” – will perform as Zuniga, Frasquita and Mercédès, respectively.

For some artists, in addition to marking a company debut, it will be the first time performing on an indoor stage in years due to the pandemic. “It has been two years since I have sung in an opera house,” said Bridges in a recorded video message. “I could not be more thrilled for this moment.”

“Carmen” will be sung in French with English supertitles projected above the stage. Single tickets start at $25 and are available at pbopera.org or at the Kravis Center. Subscriptions are also available for purchase at pbopera.org. As of Dec. 14, all patrons over two are required to wear face masks inside the Kravis Center and all patrons over 12 are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within the past 72 hours. For more information, visit pbopera.org and pbopera.org/faq or call the box office at 561-833-7888.

Palm Beach Opera is dedicated to producing live opera at an international standard of excellence, to enriching the life of the communities it serves with a diverse offering of educational programs, and to training the next generation of opera stars. Founded in 1961, the fully professional Palm Beach Opera presents main stage performances at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach and is a proud member of OPERA America and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.

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Adina Antonucci
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