(Photo by John Fitzgerald, courtesy of Kentucky Opera)
Kentucky Opera's new season is just around the corner, and right now you can get single tickets for the opener, George Bizet's Carmen. Carmen is one of the most popular operas and a must-see for budding fans. Its famous music is familiar even to the most casual fan, and the story of the beautiful gypsy and her lovers, based on a French novella by Prosper Merimee, has been performed and filmed many times.
When I played my mom's classical music LPs as a girl, two of my favorite pieces were the rousing "Toreador Song" and the "Habanera," Carmen's teasing, taunting aria. If you're looking for a night out that is a little more special than dinner and a movie, this tale of lust, betrayal, and murder makes for a slightly sexier option than the average date night.
Carmen is directed by Kristine McIntyre, who also directed last season's Cavalleria Rusticana & I Pagliacci and is conducted by Joe Mechavich (Madame Butterfly, 2010). Making their Kentucky Opera debuts are Tara Venditti as Carmen, Scott Piper as Don Jose, and Heather Phillips as Micaela. Baritone Michael Mayes  returns as the swaggering bull fighter Escamillo (last year's Silvio in I Pagliacci).
Single tickets range from $35 - $95 and go on sale Monday, August 22. For information, call 502.584.7777 or visit www.KYOpera.org . Performances are at the Brown Theater  on Friday, September 23 at 7pm (Opening Night Gala) and there is a matinee performance on Sunday September 25 at 2pm. An opera preview will be presented one hour before each performance in the ArtSpace Rehearsal Hall.
Subscriptions (CARMEN, September 23, 25 & 30; THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, November 18 & 20; and THE MERRY WIDOW, February 17 & 19) start at $82 and are available by calling 502.584.4500 or visiting www.KYOpera.org. 
Other ways to experience some of the opera season (some free!)
Mo.Joe’s Corner: Maestro Joseph Mechavich details each production via webisodes available on Kentucky Opera’s website. See the First Mo. Joe’s Corner at http://kyopera.org/carmen.html .
Lunch & Listen: Wednesday, September 7 at 12 pm. Broadcast live from the Classical 90.5 FM WUOL Performance Studio, these one hour events offer the opportunity to meet the cast and hear musical excerpts while Kentucky Opera General Director, David Roth, synopsizes the upcoming production. A limited studio audience can order a boxed lunch by calling 502.582.9402.
A Taste of Opera: Tuesday, September 13 at 5:30 pm. | 610 Magnolia
Join Kentucky Opera & Maestro Joseph Mechavich at 610 Magnolia’s wine studio for a delightful evening of great food, wine and friends (with a little learning thrown in) all the while supporting Kentucky Opera. Reservations required by call in Chörben Miller at 502.817.7936.
From the Page to the Stage: Monday, September 12 at 7pm | Bon Air branch 2816 Del Rio Place. A partnership program with the Louisville Free Public Library, From the Page to the Stage consists of discussions and live musical selection all in the context of moving literature into the world of opera. All events are free.
See Elina Garanca perform the "Habanera" below: