Opera in Three Acts. Music by George Bizet with Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on the strory of the same title by Prosper Mérimée.

At South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center

Saturday September 10 at 8:00 PM and Sunday September 11 at 4:00PM

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                     PERFORMERS:

  • Carmen, A Gypsy Girl                                               Francesca Aguado 
  • Don Jose, Corporal of Dragoons                                             Philip Alongi
  • Escamillo, Toreador                                                                     Oscar Martinez  
  • Micaela, A Village Maiden                                        Nathalie Avila
  • Zuniga, Lieutenant of Dragoons                            Mikhail Smigelski
  • Morales, Officer of Dragoons                                   Enrique Estrada
  • Remendado, Smuggler                                            Rolando Valdez
  • Dancaire , Smuggler                                                  Gabriel Menendez
  • Frasquita, Companion of Carmen                          Samantha Riling-Lopez
  • Mercédès, Companion of Carmen                         Elizabeth Di Fronzo
  • Chorus Master: Pablo Hernandez
  • Conductor: Jeffrey Eckstein
  • General and Artistic Director: Raffaele Cardone

SYNOPSYS:

Act: – In Seville by a cigarette factory, soldiers’ comment on the townspeople. Among them is Micaela, a peasant girl, who asks for a corporal named Don José. Morales, another corporal, tells her he will return with the changing of the guard. The relief guard, headed by Lieutenant Zuniga, soon arrives, and José learns from Morales that Micaela has been looking for him. When the factory bell rings, the men of Seville gather to watch the female workers—especially their favorite, the Gypsy Carmen. She tells her admirers that love is free and obeys no rules. Only one man pays no attention to her: Don José. Carmen throws a flower at him, and the girls go back to work. José picks up the flower and hides it when Micaëla returns. She brings a letter from José’s mother, who lives in a village in the countryside. As he begins to read the letter, Micaëla leaves. José is about to throw away the flower when a fight erupts inside the factory between Carmen and another girl. Zuniga sends José to retrieve the Gypsy. Carmen refuses to answer Zuniga’s questions, and José is ordered to take her to prison. Left alone with him, she entices José with suggestions of a rendezvous at Lillas Pastia’s tavern. Mesmerized, he agrees to let her get away. As they leave for prison, Carmen escapes. Don José is arrested.

Act II: – Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercedes entertain the guests at the tavern. She learnes that José has just been released after two months imprisonment. The bullfighter Escamillo enters, boasting about the pleasures of his profession, and flirts with Carmen, who tells him that she is involved with someone else. After the tavern guests have left with Escamillo, the smugglers Dancaïre and Remendado explain their latest scheme to the women. Frasquita and Mercedes are willing to help, but Carmen refuses because she is in love. The smugglers withdraw as José approaches. Carmen arouses his jealousy by telling him how she danced for Zuniga. She dances for him now, but when a bugle call is heard he says he must return to the barracks. Carmen mocks him. To prove his love, José shows her the flower she threw at him and confesses how its scent made him not lose hope during the weeks in prison. She is unimpressed: if he really loved her, he would desert the army and join her in a life of freedom in the mountains. José refuses, and Carmen tells him to leave. Zuniga bursts in, and in a jealous rage José fights him. The smugglers return and disarm Zuniga. José now has no choice but to join them.

Act III—Carmen and José quarrel in the smugglers’ mountain hideaway. She admits that her love is fading and advises him to return to live with his mother. When Frasquita and Mercedes turn the cards to tell their fortunes, they foresee love and riches for themselves, but Carmen’s cards spell death—for her and for José. Micaela appears, frightened by the mountains and afraid to meet the woman who has turned José into a criminal. She hides when a shot rings out. José has fired at an intruder, who turns out to be Escamillo. He tells José that he has come to find Carmen, and the two men fight. The smugglers separate them, and Escamillo invites everyone, Carmen in particular, to his next bullfight. When he has left, Micaëla emerges and begs José to return home. He agrees when he learns that his mother is dying, but before he leaves he warns Carmen that they will meet again.

Act IV—Back in Seville, the crowd cheers the bullfighters on their way to the arena. Carmen arrives on Escamillo’s arm, and Frasquita and Mercedes warn her that José is nearby. Unafraid, she waits outside the entrance as the crowds enter the arena. José appears and begs Carmen to forget the past and start a new life with him. She calmly tells him that their affair is over: she was born free and free she will die. The crowd is heard cheering Escamillo. José keeps trying to win Carmen back. She takes off his ring and throws it at his feet before heading for the arena. José stabs her to death.

Meet the Artists:

Francesca Aguado – Carmen

American mezzo-soprano Francesca Aguado has been praised for her solid mezzo sound and excellent support (Opera Britannia) and for her voice’s confident precision and articulation (The Washington Post). DCMetroTheatreArts said “Francesca Aguado truly commanded the center of attention in her scenes…” Her Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana) was an “excellent and well-nuanced” performance (el Nuevo Herald).

Other past credits include: Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia); Third Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Carmen (Carmen); Suzuki (Madama Butterfly); Ariodante (Ariodante); Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors); Ma Joad (suite version of The Grapes of Wrath, accompanied by composer Ricky Ian Gordon); Dorabella (Così fan tutte); Dinah (Trouble in Tahiti); Maurya (Riders to the Sea); Sesto (Giulio Cesare); Marthe (Faust); the Duchess (The Gondoliers); and Captain Frands von Frauenliebe (The Beautiful Bridegroom, presented at the 2009 National Opera Association Conference). Ms. Aguado also originated the role of Veronica in Fallen Angels, which was presented at the 2012 D.C. Fringe Festival. Equally at home on the non-operatic stage, she has also explored the role of Titania in Shakespeare’s A midsummer night’s dream (Maryland Entertainment Group). In 2016 Ms. Aguado appears for the first time with MLO in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana in the role of Santuzza. Ms. Aguado holds a master’s degree in vocal performance from Towson University and a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Maryland.

Philip Alongi - Don Jose
Philip Alongi – Don Jose’

New Jersey native Philip Alongi is an exciting tenor whose powerful voice matches his stature. He has performed over a dozen major operatic roles, including Don José in Carmen with Opera Roanoke, Miami Lyric Opera Cavaradossi in Tosca with both New Jersey Verismo Opera and the Lyric Orchestra, Luigi in Il Tabarro with Opera Company of Brooklyn and Miami Lyric Opera and many other principal roles in different opera companies throughout US. Recently, he made make his debut as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with both New Rochelle Opera and New Jersey Verismo Opera. Additionally, Mr. Alongi appeared in concert at the Official Residence of the Consulate General of Japan in Miami with The Lyric Orchestra. He was the tenor soloist in the world premiere of Ryan Malone’s Stabat Mater at Duke University and has performed in numerous concert galas and Oratorios with prestigious Symphonic orchestras.

Recently marked the release of his debut albums. ‘Heritage‘ is a collection of beloved songs and arias of Italy; a mixture of Italian operatic arias and well-known Neapolitan songs. ‘New Life: Songs of Faith” is a collection of sacred works, featuring compositions from the 17th century through to contemporary pieces. Mr. Alongi has successful performed with MLO in several productions including Il Tabarro and Cavalleria Rusticana.

Oscar Martinez-Escamillo

Mexican Baritone Oscar martinez, made his operatic debut in Monterrey, Mexico in 1985 singing Colás in Mozart’s early opera Bastien und Bastienne. His performances in years include roles ranging from Belcore and Dulcamara in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Escamillo in Carmen by Bizet, Marcello and Shaunard in Puccini’s La Boheme. David at L’Amico Fritz by Mascagni, Figaro at Il Barbiere di Siviglia by Rossini, Mercutio at Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette, among others.

Mr. Martinez worked with internationally renowned music directors, including Vladimir Kiriadjiev, Elio Orciuolo, Jeff Eckstein, Paul Nadler, Guido Maria Guida, Doris Lang Kosloff, Beverly Coulter and Raffaele Cardone, among others. He has participated in several Zarzuela with the roles of Vidal (Luisa of Moreno Torroba), Juan (Los Gavilanes by J. Guerrero), Don Diego (Don Gil de Alcalá of Manuel Penella) and Joaquín (The Bunch of Roses by P. Sorozábal).

His experience in oratorio and cantatas includes Baritone of Carmina Burana, of the Creation of Hayden and of the Messiah of Handel

He has successfully performed the roles of Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and Albert in Werther in 2017 and 2019. Since 2014. Mr. Martinez has collaborated with Miami Lyric Opera, performing several protagonic roles that include David in Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Marcello in La Boheme, Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore and other. He also performed the title role of Rigoletto in Southbend and many other roles in different international venues.

Nathalie Avila-Micaela

Cuban-American soprano, Nathalie Avila, has quickly gained recognition for her “sumptuous tone” and creating a “vivid portrait” of the roles she portrays on the operatic stage. She starred as the title role in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” with Miami Lyric Opera, Maria in Sociedad Proarte Grateli’s “La Novicia Rebelde”(“The Sound of Music”), Sylvia Varescu in Kalman’s operetta “The Gypsy Princess” at the National Theatre in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

In 2014, Ms. Avila opened the spring season as Suzel in “L’amico Fritz” with Miami Lyric Opera where she received praise for her “glamorous Suzel, commanding the stage with a sumptuous lyric soprano.” Ms. Avila has performed the roles of the Mother in Hansel and Gretel with Gulfshore Opera, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana with the Miami Lyric Opera, Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw with the Siena Music

Festival, Liza in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades with the Russian Opera Workshop at the Academy of Vocal Arts, Mimì in La Bohème and Micaëla in Carmen with the Emerald City Opera. She has been featured as the soprano soloist in Handel’sMessiah with the Royal Danish Academy of Music Choir and Orchestra, and in numerous concerts with Sociedad Proarte

Grateli, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Miami Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Miami, Symphony of the Americas and the Florida Chamber Orchestra. While living in Copenhagen she was featured as a soloist in Copenhagen’s Wednesday Concert Series and the Amager Music Festival.

Ms. Avila was chosen by Montserrat Caballe to sing in Las Voces de Montserrat Caballe, a concert featuring a select group of artists from her 2012 Masterclass in Zaragoza, Spain. Ms. Avila was the recipient of Encouragement Awards from the 2012 Florida Suncoast Opera Guild Competition and the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a Semi-Finalist at the 2013 Marcello Giordani International Voice Competition.

Nathalie Avila holds a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from The Royal Danish Academy of Music and a Bachelor’s Degree from the Peabody Conservatory where she was the recipient of the George Castelle Memorial Award. She is currently an adjunct voice faculty member for The Bower School of Music at FGCU, Miami Dade College, and The New World School of the Arts.

Mikhail Smigelski-Zugniga

Hailed as “phenomenal” (The Harvard Chrimson), “impressively epic” (schwäbische.de), and for his “wine-dark bass” (The Boston Globe), bass-baritone Mikhail Smigelski enjoys a career of vast and various genres, including opera, oratorio, early music, musical theatre, and contemporary music. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Mikhail has sung on the world most prestigious stages including Carnegie Hall, Saint Petersburg’s and Moscow’s Philharmonics, Berliner Philharmonie, Kölner Philharmonie, and performed with numerous European and American opera and concert companies such as Saint Petersburg Chamber Opera, Theater Aachen, Theater Solingen, Theater Leverkusen, Cohen New Works Festival, New York Ferus Festival, East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, Opera Leggera, Opera in the Heights, Miami Lyric Opera, and The Cleveland Opera.

Mikhail Smigelski’s repertoire includes over 30 opera roles and over 100 art songs. His operatic portrayals include both Figaro and Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Don Alfonoso in Così fan tutte, Alidoro in La cenerentola, Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Ferrando in Il trovatore, Nikitich and Varlaam in Boris Godunov, title roles in Falstaff and Eugene Onegin, and others. As a passionate advocate for contemporary classical music, Mikhail Smigelski performed in several world and USA premieres including Switch by John Aylward with East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, Golden by Michael Zapruder at Cohen New Works Festival, and Orpheus by Evan Lawson with Density 512. Recently, KNS Classical released his CD album “Russian Gems” with rarely performed art songs by P. Chesnokov and A. Grechaninov.

Supporting Artists:

Enrique Estrada-Morales
Gabriel Menendez-Dancairro
Samantha Riling Lopez-Frasquita
Elizabeth DiFronzo-Mecedes
Rolando Valdez-Remendado