Carmen Heat Returns

Carmen set to heat up Sydney Opera House again

10 February – 23 March

After a sell-out season in 2016, John Bell’s vibrantly-directed production of Bizet’s Carmen, featuring gypsy girls and bull-fighting boys in eye-popping colours set in 1050s Cuba, returns to the Sydney Opera House this summer.

Set against crumbling colonial architecture, this vivid production will bring obsessions and love to the stage through irresistible tunes, traditional Spanish dance and a touch of contemporary breakdancing.
“Carmen is colourful, physical and entertaining, but it shouldn’t get too pretty,” said John Bell. “To succeed, it must have punch. Sex and sexual politics. Physicality and power.”
Israeli born mezzo-soprano Rinat Shaham reprises the role of Carmen, a character she has been internationally recognised as one of today’s finest interpreters of the seductive femme fatale.
Sharing the role is the stunning Sian Pendry, who made her mark as the fiery Carmen last year in Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour.
Tenor extraordinaires, Argentine Marcelo Puente and Georgian Otar Jorjikia, will both make their highly anticipated Opera Australia debuts, sharing the role of soldier Don Josè.
Carmen also brings with it some of Australia’s biggest opera names – Michael Honeyman (Escamillo), Stacey Alleaume and Natalie Aroyan (Micaëla), Richard Anderson and Adrian Tamburini (Zuniga) are but a few of the exceptional singers to appear on stage.
One of the main elements that differentiates this production from others is the dynamic and colourful dance routines and presentation thanks to choreography by Kelley Abbey, assisted by Amy Campbell, and the inspired costuming by Teresa Negroponte which, combined with the grand settings by Michael Scott-Mitchell and fight scenes by Nigel Poulton, transport the audience to steamy 1950s Havana Cuba in a flash!
Conducted by Carlo Goldstein and Tahu Matheson, Bizet buffs and first-time operagoers alike will be captivated by Carmen’s incredible score, including the iconic “Habanera” and “Toreador Song”.
Over one hundred and forty years after its premiere, Carmen remains one of the world’s favourite operas, continuing to inspire contemporary music, fashion and film.
“Carmen is a must see opera, even if you’ve never set foot in an opera house,” said Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini. “If you’re new to opera, this production is the perfect first show – the work itself is, of course brilliant, the production values are second-to-none and with the stellar Australian and international cast we have assembled, it’s an opera that is set to impress.”

Carmen | Opera Australia
John Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
February 10 –  March 23
Running time approx 3hrs with one interval
Performed in French with English subtitles
Bookings: (023) 9318 8200 or

Photos Jeff Busby