Press Room


Opera Company Opens the Season with CARMEN Simulcast on Independence Mall

For Immediate Release: September 2, 2011

Contact: Tracy C. Galligher

A Free, Live, Public Simulcast on September 30th
Under the Stars on Independence Mall
Generously Funded by the Knight Arts Challenge

Philadelphia, PA: The Opera Company of Philadelphia cordially invites both opera buffs and novices alike to grab their picnic baskets and blankets, and join the community for Opening Night Philadelphia!, a free, public simulcast of the opening night of Bizet’s Carmen on September 30, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. on Independence Mall. This first-ever live simulcast to a vast HD screen at one of Philadelphia’s most iconic public spaces was chosen for a generous $150,000 inaugural gift from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge, a three-year, $9 million program to support art ideas that enrich and engage Philadelphia.

"We are proud to be bringing this classic production of Carmen to life in a truly larger-than-life way," shared General Director David B. Devan. "We have affirmed in recent seasons through our Knight-funded ‘Random Acts of Culture’ that extending our performances beyond the walls of our theaters and into our community generates palpable excitement about the important role that art and music play in making our city vibrant. Our hope is to have just as many first-time opera-goers in our audience for this special evening on Independence Mall as we have loyal opera fans – that’s the fun of it."

"This grand celebration on Independence Mall is a wonderful way to remind the community of how the arts can enrich us," said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s vice president of arts. "The simulcast is one of many artistic projects funded by the Knight Arts Challenge that are touching the lives of Philadelphians."

Information and details on the September 30th Opening Night Philadelphia! event, including registration for free tickets, can be found at

Running September 30, October 2m, 5, 9m, & 14, 2011 at the Academy of Music, Carmen is a treasure trove of well-known and beloved music and features an all-star cast, many of whom trained for their international careers at Philadelphia’s own prominent vocal institutions. The opera tells the story of a beguiling gypsy who sets her sights on a naïve but passionate young corporal, tracing a tale of seduction, obsession, and deadly betrayal. Bizet’s masterpiece features many of opera’s most powerful melodies, from the bewitching “Habañera,” to the passionate “Seguidilla,” and the bravura of the “Toreador” song, capturing the imagination from the first notes of its renowned overture.

“We chose Carmen specifically as a vehicle for Rinat Shaham, one of the most acclaimed Carmens of our time,” shared Artistic Director Robert B. Driver. “Rinat began her career at the Curtis Institute of Music, and sang career-forging roles with us early on, including Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, and Werther’s Charlotte. To have her return at a time when she is so deeply in demand around the world is thrilling.”

Mezzo-soprano Shaham has performed the title role of Bizet’s opera in New York, Berlin, Stuttgart, Japan, Montreal, Miami and Tel Aviv, among others. Her Glyndebourne Festival debut in Carmen led the The Independent to praise her as “… a sensation. From the moment she slinks downstage…. this [Carmen] uses the music like promises and threats, coaxing, cajoling, insinuating, bending the melody." She most recently performed the role in Sydney, Australia and Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos in Portugal to rave reviews.

As Don José, dynamic Canadian tenor David Pomeroy makes his OCP debut on the heels of recent performances at the Metropolitan Opera in the title roles Romeo and Juliet and The Tales of Hoffmann. He starred as Alfredo in Vancouver Opera’s La traviata earlier this year, and sang Pinkerton in recent Canadian Opera Company performances of Madama Butterfly. Rising star baritone Jonathan Beyer, a Curtis Institute of Music alumnus who has sung a number of major roles with Pittsburgh Opera and recently performed in the World Premiere of Moby Dick at Dallas Opera, makes his Company debut as Escamillo.

Academy of Vocal Arts alumna Ailyn Pérez, who dazzled audiences last season in the title role of Romeo and Juliet with the Opera Company, returns as Micaëla following performances of Marguerite in Faust with Santa Fe and San Diego Operas. Fellow AVA alumni bass Jeremy Milner, last seen in the OCP American Premiere of Phaedra, sings the role of Zuniga, and baritone Eric Dubin, who was last seen in OCP’s La traviata as Baron Douphol, takes on the dual roles of Morales and Dancairo. Soprano Greta Ball makes her Opera Company debut as Frasquita, with mezzo-soprano Tammy Coil, a Curtis graduate, as Mercedes and tenor Diego Silva, also of Curtis, making his OCP debut as Remendado. Corrado Rovaris, the Jack Mulroney Music Director, leads this season opening production that features a classic setting directed by veteran director David Gately in his OCP debut, with lighting designed by Drew Billiau.

Georges Bizet
Performed in French with English translations
September 30, October 2m, 5, 9m & 14, 2011

Carmen Rinat Shaham
Don José David Pomeroy*
Escamillo Jonathan Beyer*
Micaëla Ailyn Peréz
Zuniga Jeremy Milner
Morales/El Dancairo Eric Dubin
Frasquita Greta Ball*
Mercedes Tammy Coil
Remendado Diego Silva*


Conductor Corrado Rovaris
Director David Gately*
Set Design Allen Charles Klein
Lighting Design Drew Billiau
Costume Direction Millie Hiibel
Wig & Make-Up Design Tom Watson
Choreographer & Fight Director John de los Santos*
Chorus Master Elizabeth Braden
Simulcast Director Bruce Bryant*

*OCP debut

Featuring the Opera Company of Philadelphia Chorus and Orchestra, and members of the Commonwealth Youthchoirs, the official youth choir of the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

Costumes supplied by Malabar, Ltd. Simulcast Production by Production Resource Group, LLC.


The live simulcast of opening night is on Friday, September 30, 2011. Advance registration for free tickets at is required for expedited entrance to Independence Mall. Onsite free registration will be available. In case of inclement weather, rain date is scheduled for Saturday, October 1, 2011. Guests may gain entrance to the mall beginning at 7:00pm, and are encouraged to bring blankets, low-slung chairs and picnic dinners. Carmen begins at 8:00pm, with an approximate running time of three hours, 25 minutes.

For information on transportation, parking, on site food options, and to register for print-at-home tickets for this free event, please visit


The Opera Company of Philadelphia 2011-2012 Season opens at the Academy of Music on September 30, 2011 with Bizet’s Carmen, with a live, public simulcast of opening night on Independence Mall. In February, a new production of Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio takes the stage, followed by Puccini’s Manon Lescaut in April. The Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theatre features Curtis Opera Theatre’s Elegy for Young Lovers in association with Kimmel Center Presents in March, and OCP’s own Dark Sisters in June 2012.
Subscriptions on sale through September at 215-732-8400 or Carmen takes place at The Academy of Music, Broad and Locust Streets.

Performance times: Wednesdays at 7:30pm; Fridays at 8:00pm; Sunday matinees at 2:30pm.
Tickets priced from $8 - $225.
To purchase, call Ticket Philadelphia at 215-893-1018 or visit
Pre-Opera talks, Opera Overtures, are given one hour prior to each performance at the opera house.
To learn more about the 2011-2012 Season, please visit 

The Opening Night Philadelphia! Simulcast of CARMEN is made possible by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge. The Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater is generously underwritten by Wyncote FoundationUS Airways is the official airline of the Opera Company. YAMAHA is the official piano of the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Hyatt at the Bellevue is the official hotel of the Opera Company. Burdumy Motors Incorporated is the official automotive dealership of the Opera Company. Macy’s is the sponsor of Opera Overtures pre-opera talks before each performance. The Opera Company of Philadelphia is supported by major grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight FoundationThe Kresge Foundation, The Lenfest Foundation, ThePew Center for Arts and Heritage through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative and the Philadelphia Music Project, The Pew Charitable Trusts and The Wallace FoundationThe William Penn Foundation and Wyncote Foundation. Additional support is provided by Beneficia Foundation, Independence Foundation, Jacob Burns Foundation, and OPERA America’s Opera Fund. The Opera Company of Philadelphia receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. General operating support is provided, in part, by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund

Special thanks to our Simulcast Partners:

The National Park Service and Independence National Historic Park; The City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy; Independence Visitor Center; Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance; Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation; Karma Communications; Center City Film and Video; Drexel University Music and Entertainment Technology Laboratory; The Philadelphia Film Office; Cunningham Piano.