Tony winner Rob Ashford’s CARMEN opens at Lyric Opera Feb. 11

Lyric Opera of Chicago heats up this winter with the thrilling story of a deadly love triangle in Carmen, directed by Tony and Emmy Award-winning director and choreographer Rob Ashford, who returns to Lyric after his acclaimed Carousel. This new-to-Chicago production of Georges Bizet’s iconic and passionate opera makes for a fantastic date night or first-time experience at the opera house.

Carmen opens on Saturday, February 11, with eleven performances through March 25 at Lyric’s Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. Tickets start at $34 and are available now at or at 312-827-5600.

Don José (Joseph Calleja, Feb. 11-Mar. 6, Brandon Jovanovich, Mar. 16-25), a soldier sent to break up a fight at a cigarette factory, is seduced by the alluring gypsy Carmen (Ekaterina Gubanova, Feb. 11-Mar. 6, Anita Rachvelishvili/Lyric debut, Mar. 16-25) after he arrests her. José abandons his childhood sweetheart Micaëla (Eleonora Buratto/Lyric debut) and deserts his post to follow Carmen, but loses her love to the toreador Escamillo (Christian Van Horn). Desperate times lead to desperate acts and a heart-wrenching climax.

Harry Bicket (Feb. 11-Mar. 6) and Ainars Rubikis (Mar. 16-25/Lyric debut) will conduct the new-to-Chicago production, directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford and designed by David Rockwell (Lyric debut), with lighting designed by Donald Holder (Lyric debut). Michael Black is chorus master. Members of the Chicago Children’s Chorus will be prepared by Josephine Lee.

Carmen is maybe the most popular of all operas,” says Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director, president & CEO. “Our job is to present it to our audiences with a vitality and freshness that recaptures the energy that the piece had when it was new. We wouldn’t do justice to this great masterpiece if we achieve nothing more than to remind people of its great tunes. I’m very excited that this new Lyric coproduction, directed by Rob Ashford with the conducting shared by Harry Bicket and Ainars Rubikis and with two sensational casts, will thrill both newcomers to Carmen and those who have seen it many times before.”

Adds Lyric’s music director, Sir Andrew Davis, “Who doesn’t love Carmen? I never fail to be captivated by this music – with its mix of French elegance and Spanish fire – and by the powerful emotions of the gypsy heroine and her violently jealous lover. It’s always a pleasure to bring the excitement of Carmen to Lyric, especially with artists as terrific as those we’re presenting this season!”

Lyric Opera’s new coproduction of Bizet’s Carmen is generously made possible by the Harris Family Foundation, James N. and Laurie V. Bay, Karen Z. Gray-Krehbiel and John H. Krehbiel, Jr., theMazza Foundation, the Seymour H. Persky Charitable Trust, Exelon, and ITW. Coproduction with Houston Grand Opera.

The opening-night performance of Carmen can be heard live locally on 98.7WFMT and globally on, beginning at 7:15pm on February 11. Listeners will have access to line-by-line translations in real time online at

The Lyric Opera of Chicago Broadcasts are generously sponsored by the Caerus Foundation, Inc., with matching funding provided by The Matthew and Kay Bucksbaum Family, The John and Jacolyn Bucksbaum Foundation, and The Richard P. and Susan Kiphart Family.

About Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s mission is to express and promote the life-changing, transformational, revelatory power of great opera. Lyric exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to Chicago and the nation, and to advance the development of the art form.

Founded in 1954, Lyric is dedicated to producing and performing consistently thrilling, entertaining, and thought-provoking opera with a balanced repertoire of core classics, lesser-known masterpieces, and new works; to creating an innovative and wide-ranging program of community engagement and educational activities; and to developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.

Under the leadership of General Director, President & CEO Anthony Freud, Music Director Sir Andrew Davis, and Creative Consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric strives to become The Great North American Opera Company for the 21st century: a globally significant arts organization embodying the core values of excellence, relevance, and fiscal responsibility

To learn more about Lyric’s current season, go to You can also join the conversation with @LyricOpera on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. #Lyric1617 #LongLivePassion