Bizet died in 1875, thinking Carmen was a terrible failure – audiences felt its racy plot “dishonored a stage dedicated to the delicate pleasures and sentiments of polite society.”
We’re about to present the same scandalous version, in English, for one night only at Jazz at Lincoln Center! So you be the judge… and now here’s a look at our amazing cast, who’s in the rehearsal room as we speak! Tickets start at just $30.
Ginger Costa-Jackson as CARMEN
Originally from Sicily, Ginger is a graduate of the New York Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists Program and is a Samling Scholar. She made her New York stage debut performing the role of Rosette in Massenet’s Manon and her European debut at the in Barcelona as Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana. One of the most versatile artists of her generation, she has also performed in Nixon in China at the San Francisco Opera and performed the lead role in the American premiere of Montsalvage’s adaptation of Puss in Boots, with the Gotham Chamber Opera.
Singing Praises: Opera Wire wrote of her performance with San Diego Opera, “This artist’s Carmen knows her worth and will live her life her own way. Her downward tones were exquisite and they became multicolored jewels as they spun out over the audience…”
Fun Fact: Ginger has performed as Carmen for more than 8 major opera companies – including the Glimmerglass Festival and premiere companies in Seattle, San Francisco, Tokyo, Mexico City, and Detroit – with three more on the boards this year. Next up: English National Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City!
Terrence Chin-Loy as DON JOSÉ
This passionate American tenor made his solo debut at the Metropolitan Opera last year with Terence Blanchard’s groundbreaking Fire Shut Up In My Bones. He appeared in the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival premiere of Daniel Bernard Roumain’s Twin Stars: Diamond Variations for Dae’Anna, and in William Grant Still’s Highway 1 at Opera Theatre St. Louis; he is also a Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist. NY audiences might have caught him at the Met in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess as Mingo (cover), or in his debut with the New York Festival of Song as a part of the Vocal Rising Stars series at Caramoor.
Singing Praises: Opera News wrote that his “beautiful lyric tenor voice keeps its silken quality even when required to sing in registers that lead many tenors to shriek.”
Fun Fact: A Phoenix native, he is originally from Coral Springs, FL, where he sang in the Singing Sons Boy Choir. A first generation Jamaican-American, he credits his mom’s love of singing in their church with getting him started.
Mikaela Bennett as MICAËLA
Mikaela is a graduate of The Juilliard School and made her professional debut in 2017 starring as Penelope in The Golden Apple at City Center Encores. Other noted roles include the title role in Daniel Fish’s production of Michael Gordon’s Acquanetta, Maria in West Side Story at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the world premiere of Michael Tilson Thomas’ Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wild with the New World Symphony. As at home on the stage as in the concert hall, she has performed in New York City’s most prestigious cabaret venues, including Joe’s Pub at The Public and 54 Below.
Singing Praises: “Ms. Bennett works magic,” wrote The New York Times of her performance as Acquanetta, “with an adroit performance as well suited to the libretto as her voice is to the music’s thrashing intensity.”
Fun Fact: This will be Mikaela’s 5th concert with MasterVoices! Her first two were in 2018 – Our America and Israel in Egypt – followed by Let ‘Em Eat Cake (2019) and A Joyful Noise (2021). We’re proud to call her family.
John Brancy as ESCAMILLO
Grammy Award-winning “velvet-voiced” baritone John Brancy made his San Francisco Opera debut in the 2019-20 season in Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd, that same season he also appeared as a soloist with Opera National de Bordeaux, sang a recital with the New York Festival of Song, and performed Handel’s Messiah for the United States Naval Academy. In 2018-19 he debuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Meredith Monk’s Atlas, and earned a Best Opera Recording GRAMMY for Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. A 2018 Lotte Lenya Competition winner, Brancy is considered a premiere interpreter of art song in our time.
Singing Praises: Brancy “filled the Hall with a buttery baritone voice that seemed equally at ease in opera and in music from Broadway’s golden age,” wrote the New York Times of Brancy’s prize-winning Lotte Lenya Competition, that seemed equally at ease in opera and in music from Broadway’s golden age.
Fun Fact: In January, John sang The Star Spangled Banner at Madison Square Garden for the NY Rangers! He was also heard – but only sort of seen – as Perseus in Part 3 of our Myths and Hymns project in 2021. The talented Earl Womack illustrated the Medusa section in anime style, with John/Perseus as superhero!