John Bell’s evocative, vibrant production of Bizet’s Carmen returns to the Joan Sutherland Theatre this summer with five singers making their Opera Australia debuts, bringing new life to an enduring, critically acclaimed favourite. 

The titular femme fatale is played by Italian mezzo-soprano Veronica Simeoni in a signature role she has performed all over the world with a voice described as “rich and sufficiently wine-dark” by Limelight magazine.

Italian tenor Roberto Aronica plays Carmen’s desperate lover Don José and Polish bass-baritone Lukasz Golinski plays Escamillo. Young sopranos, Italian Claudia Pavone and Romanian-born British Simona Mihai, debut in the shared role of Micaëla. 

Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini is pleased to bring these five internationally recognised singers to Sydney. 

Carmen has a vibrant mix of established singers and rising stars. I have no doubt Lukasz will be one of the best Escamillos we’ve ever had – it’s so difficult to cast him because everyone wants him. Claudia and Simona are also both brilliant sopranos with strong careers ahead of them,” he said. 

With a massive 24 show run performed over 10 weeks, Carmen features an alternating cast of eighteen exceptionally talented principal singers. 

The role of Carmen is shared with our very own Sian Sharp, and Carmen Topciu who returns after her critically acclaimed OA debut in 2019’s Anna Bolena. South Korean tenor Yonghoon Lee and Georgian tenor Otar Jorjikia will both reprise the shared role of Don José and Luke Gabbedy will share the role of Escamillo. 

The ensemble cast also includes Sharon Zhai, Jane Ede, Agnes Sarkis, Anthony Mackey, Virgilio Marino, Nicholas Jones, Alexander Hargreaves and Sitiveni Talei. 

Revival director Constantine Costi brings back a production that’s not afraid to be sexy” according to the Australian Financial Review, with prestigious conductor Christian Badea making a welcome return to the Opera House stage along with OA’s conductor Tahu Matheson. 

Since debuting in 1875, Carmen has become an international sensation and is now one of the most popular, most often-performed operas in the world. 

Photo credit: Prudence Upton


Dates: January 11 – March 26 2020
Venue: Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Prices: Single adult tickets from $48 (fees may apply)
Box office: phone (02) 9318 8200 or online

Performed in French with English Surtitles
Running time: approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes, including one interval.