San Francisco Opera’s 2019 Summer Season opened with Georges Bizet’s Carmen through June 29 at the War Memorial Opera House.
Presented in American director Francesca Zambello’s acclaimed staging, which has been mounted by Opera Australia, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and Norwegian National Opera, the opera features American mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges in her first professional performances of the title role and American tenor Matthew Polenzani assuming the role of Don José for the first time.
One notable Bay Area critic opines that “a secondary character steals the show.” He’s referring to the “bland and sexless” operatic character of Micaëla. But as performed by Anita Hartig, a Romanian soprano making her company debut, she throws shade big time.
For our money, though, the real show-stealer is the steed ridden by Kyle Ketesen as Escamillo.
The horse represented Hemingway’s grace under pressure and performed admirably.