The Chicago Opera Theater is about to open its season with Bizet’s “Carmen”.

The semi-staged production will give audiences a rare opportunity to hear two new world-class dramatic roles of mezzo-sopranos facing each other. Jamie Barton will debut in the title role while Blythely Oratonio, the tenor alter ego of legendary Stéphanie Blythe, will sing his first Don José.

COT’s musical director, Lidiya Yankovskaya, who will conduct the semi-stage concerts, said: “Although Bizet’s melodies are familiar to many opera lovers, it will be a very different perspective from a classical one. opera. It is also a unique opportunity to hear these inimitable artists explore a whole new territory. Jamie Barton is long overdue in her debut as Carmen, and I’m delighted that Stephanie Blythe is joining us in a new role that matches her truly unusual voice like a glove.

The company will present two free community events offered before the opening night. Tuesday August 31, “What The Fach?” will explore the fluidity of vocal types, with a discussion between Stephanie Blythe, Anthony Roth Costanzo and Aiden Feltkamp, ​​who curated the recently released Anthology of New Music: Trans & Nonbinary Voices.

On Thursday, September 9, the public will be invited to the Center on Halsted, the Midwest’s most comprehensive LGBTQ community center, for a close-up with “Carmen.” With Katherine Syer, opera historian, playwright and professor at UCLA, this conversation will focus on the history of cross-dressing in opera.

The production will also star Michael Sumuel, Kimberly E. Jones, Brandon Cedel, Rachel Blaustein, Leah Dexter and Evan Bravos. Joachim Schamberger heads the production

“Carmen” will be performed on September 16-18 and all participants will be required to wear a mask covering both nose and mouth inside the Harris Theater, which will be filled to a maximum of 60% of its capacity. The public will also need to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.


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