Media Release Contact: Edward Wilensky Phone: 619. 232. 7636 x248


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Media Release

Contact: Edward Wilensky

Phone: 619.232.7636 x248

Afterhours: 619.889.6769
Puccini’s Timeless La bohème Opens San Diego Opera’s 50th Anniversary Season
Important Company debuts include soprano Alyson Cambridge as Mimì, soprano Sara Gartland as Musetta, and tenor Harold Meers as Rodolfo
Baritones Malcolm MacKenzie as Schaunard and Morgan Smith as Marcello make welcome returns
Production from English National Opera/Cincinnati Opera never before seen in San Diego

San Diego, CA – San Diego Opera is pleased to open the 2014-2015 mainstage opera season with Puccini’s beloved classic La bohème on Saturday, January 24, 2015 for four performances (January, 24, 27, 29 and February 1, 2015). La bohème was the first opera the Company produced in 1965, 50 years ago. La bohème tells the story of young friends in Paris and the poet Rodolfo’s love affair the sick and ailing seamstress Mimì. Considered by many to be the “perfect” first time opera, it one of the most popular operas produced and served as the basis of the musical Rent.

Making an important Company debut in the role of Mimì is American soprano Alyson Cambridge. She is joined by American tenor Harold Meers as the poet Rodolfo and American soprano Sara Gartland as Musetta, both also in Company debuts. Baritone Malcolm MacKenzie, who was last heard in last season’s The Elixir of Love as Sgt. Belcore, returns to sing Schaunard. He is joined by baritone Morgan Smith who was last heard as Starbuck in 2012’s Moby-Dick to sing Marcello. Bass-baritone Christian Van Horne makes a house debut to sing Colline and bass-baritone Scott Sikon, last heard as Cristiano in 2014’s A Masked Ball, returns to sing double duty as Alcindro and Benoit. San Diego Opera’s resident conductor Karen Keltner leads the orchestra for these performances. British director Isabella Bywater will stage the action in this English National Opera/Cincinnati Opera production, which she also designed. These performances will be the eleventh time La bohème has been performed by San Diego Opera with performances happening in 1965, 1968, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010. Performed in Italian with English translations above the stage.
La bohème will have a radio broadcast on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 8PM on KPBS radio, 89.5 FM (97.7 FM Calexico) and online at

Pre-production photos can be found online at:

The Cast
Alyson Cambridge, Mimi

San Diego Opera debut. American soprano Alyson Cambridge is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and Grand Prize Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2004 as Frasquita in Carmen and has since sung numerous roles with the company over the past seven seasons, including Bianca in La rondine and Crobyle in Thaïs. Other recent highlights include her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Giulietta in The Tales of Hoffmann and Julie in the highly-acclaimed new production of Show Boat, Washington National Opera for Musetta in La bohème, Clara in Porgy and Bess and Julie in Show Boat, her Deutsche Oper Berlin debut as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Polish National Opera as Violetta in La traviata, Opera Theatre of St. Louis for Mimì, Juliette in Romeo et Juliette and Frasquita, Los Angeles Opera for Clara in Porgy and Bess, PORT Opera for Donna Elvira and Musetta, the Hungarian State Opera, Florentine Opera and Boston Lyric Opera for Mimì, and solo concert performances with the Vienna Kamerorchester, Munich Philharmoniker, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Festival de Saint-Denis, and a special recital for the US Justices of the Supreme Court, among others, including performances under the batons of Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle, Frederic Chaslin and Emmanuel Villaume. Her debut CD, "From the Diary of Sally Hemings", a song cycle by William Bolcom, was released in 2010.

Sara Gartland, Musetta

San Diego Opera debut. American soprano Sara Gartland is a former Alder Fellow with San Francisco Opera. With San Francisco Opera she has performed Micaëla in Carmen, Pat/Ann in the world premiere of Christopher Theofandis' Heart of a Soldier, Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro, and Gerhilde in Die Walküre. Recent notable engagements include Juliette in Romeo et Juliette with Des Moines Metro Opera, Adina in The Elixir of Love with Austin Lyric Opera, Violetta in La traviata and Curley’s Wife in Of Mice and Men with Utah Opera, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel with Opera San Jose, Alexandra in Regina with Des Moines Metro Opera and Norina in Don Pasquale with Opera Iowa. She has appeared on the concert stage with the Elmhurst Symphony in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Cheyenne Symphony in Carmina Burana, Central City Opera, and Colorado University's Boulder Wind Symphony in Four Maryland Songs.

Harold Meers, Rodolfo

San Diego Opera debut. American tenor Harold Meers’ recent engagements include his San Francisco Opera debut in Billy Budd, Narraboth in Salome with Opera Cleveland, the Duke in Rigoletto and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with Opera Santa Barbara, Nemorino in The Elixir of Love with Chautauqua Opera, Alfredo in La traviata and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni for Piedmont Opera and Don José in Carmen with Opera Charleston. Other appearances include Rodolfo in La bohème for Sarasota Opera, Minnesota Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera, Nadir in The Pearl Fishers with Nashville Opera, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Opera Columbus, Amarillo Opera and Nashville Opera, and a return to Minnesota Opera as Macduff in Macbeth. Meers made his international debut with the Bangkok Opera as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte. He has also performed with Opera Company of Philadelphia, Baltimore Opera, New Orleans Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Cleveland Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Omaha and Virginia Opera, among others.

Morgan Smith, Marcello

American baritone Morgan Smith made his Company debut as Starbuck in 2012’s Moby-Dick, a role he created for the 2010 World Premiere at The Dallas Opera and subsequently sang at San Francisco Opera. He has enjoyed a long association with Seattle Opera where he made his professional debut in 2001 singing Donald in Billy Budd and has returned to sing the title role of Don Giovanni, Silvio in I Pagliacci, Ricardo in I Puritani, and Peter Niles in Mourning Becomes Electra. Recent performances include Adam Brant in Mourning Becomes Electra with Florida Grand Opera, Tadeusz in The Passenger at Houston Grand Opera, Fritz in Die Tote Stadt at The Dallas Opera, Lt. Audebert in Silent Night at Fort Worth Opera, Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Papageno in The Magic Flute, Marcello in La bohème, Falke in Die Fledermaus, Leandre in Love for Three Oranges and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte for Oper Leipzig, as well as Marcello for Berlin Staatsoper and Opera Colorado. Other notable performances include Escamillo in Carmen with Fort Worth Opera and Tacoma Opera and both Morales and Zuniga in Carmen with Los Angeles Opera. As a performer of modern vocal music, he sang the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s chamber piece For a Look or a Touch and created the role of Ted Steinert in Frau Margot with Fort Worth Opera, both of which are available on recording.

Malcolm MacKenzie, Schaunard

American baritone Malcolm MacKenzie first performed with San Diego Opera as Marullo in Rigoletto in 2002, returned in 2005 as Escamillo in Carmen, in 2008 as Zurga in The Pearl Fishers, in 2009 as Marullo in Rigoletto and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, in 2010 as Schaunard in La bohème, in 2011 as Gregorio in Romeo and Juliet, in 2012 as Captain Gardiner in Moby-Dick, Hortensio in The Daughter of the Regiment and the Second Tempter/Second Knight in Murder in the Cathedral in 2013, and was heard last season as Sgt. Belcore in The Elixir of Love. Recent engagements include Iago in Otello with Nashville Opera, the title role of Simon Boccanegra for Kentucky Opera, his Metropolitan Opera debut as Dancaïre in Carmen, returning as Marullo, Count di Luna in Il trovatore for Arizona Opera, Germont in La traviata and Marcello in La bohème for Opera Santa Barbara, Germont for Glimmerglass Opera, Count di Luna for Fort Worth Opera, Alfio/Tonio in Cavalleria rusticana/ Pagliacci with Arizona Opera and Jack Rance in The Girl of the West with Nashville Opera. He was a finalist in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition, and a winner of the Metropolitan Opera Western Regional Auditions. MacKenzie began his professional career in 1994 as Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos at Glimmerglass Opera and has since performed with Washington National Opera, Madison Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Los Angeles Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Sacramento Opera and Opera Pacific. He has also appeared with the San Diego Symphony, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra, Pacific Chorale and Savannah Symphony.

Scott Sikon, Alcindro/Benoit

Since his San Diego Opera debut in 1991 as Superintendent Budd in Albert Herring, American bass-baritone Scott Sikon has sung more than twenty roles here including Schaunard in La bohème, Dikoi in Katya Kabanova, Steve Hubble in A Streetcar Named Desire, Montano in Otello, Curio in Julius Caesar in Egypt, the Second Philistine in Samson and Delilah, the First Journeyman in Wozzeck, Antonio in The Marriage of Figaro, Reinmar von Zweter in Tannhäuser, Sacristan in Tosca, Count Monterone in Rigoletto, The Bonze in Madama Butterfly, a Mandarin in Turandot, Wagner in Faust and Morales in Carmen, Nazarene in Salome, Fiorello in The Barber of Seville, a Corporal in The Daughter of the Regiment, the Second Philistine in Samson and Delilah, and was seen last season as Christian in A Masked Ball. He has performed throughout the United States with Utah Opera, Arizona Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, The Dallas Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Cincinnati Opera and Cleveland Opera. His European debut was at the Vienna Volksoper in the premiere of The Number 11 Bus. An active concert artist, Sikon has performed with the Spoleto Festival USA, the San Antonio Symphony and the Arkansas Symphony.

Karen Keltner, Conductor

San Diego Opera’s Resident Conductor Karen Keltner has been associated with the Company since 1982 and has conducted a broad repertoire for San Diego Opera including Faust, La bohème, Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote, The Pearl Fishers, Samson and Delilah, Wozzeck, Carmen, The Conquistador, Così fan tutte, Thérèse Raquin, The Flying Dutchman, The Lighthouse, Cold Sassy Tree, A Streetcar Named Desire and Rigoletto. Other engagements have been with Utah Festival Opera, Opéra National du Rhin, Strasbourg, New York City Opera, Anchorage Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Glimmerglass Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Opera Carolina. Keltner gives master classes for singers in universities and cities where she guest conducts.

Isabella Bywater, Director / Set and Costume Designer

San Diego Opera debut. British designer and director Isabella Bywater has designed sets and costumes for over 50 productions of both opera and theatre in the UK and internationally. She has collaborated with many acclaimed directors including Jonathan Miller, Nicholas Hytner, Deborah Warner, Robert Carsen, Francisico Negrin, Keith Warner and Stephen Medcalf. Notable design work includes La bohème for Cincinatti Opera, The Elixir of Love for English National Opera and New York City Opera, La Clemenza di Tito for Zurich Opera, Eugene Onegin for Santa Fe Opera and Seattle Opera, Don Pasquale for Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La traviata for Vancouver Opera and Aida for Royal Albert Hall. She had her directing debut directing and designing Gounod’s  Faust at the Mariinsky theatre in St. Petersberg and directed and designed Lucia di Lammermoor for Jyske Opera in Dernmark. She is also a sculptor and has studied philosophy at Birkbeck college. She was nominated for awards for best set design and best costumes for A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Mariinsky in 2011, a production which won the Zolotov Sofit award for best opera for 2011.

Thomas Hase, Lighting Designer

San Diego Opera debut. American lighting designer, Thomas Hase, has earned both national and international recognition as a lighting designer who is known for dynamic designs in opera, new theatrical productions and avant-garde dance. His design for the Tony-Award winning revival of Company on Broadway received critical acclaim. He has worked at many of the major opera houses in the United States including Los Angeles Opera, New York City Opera, BAM Next Wave, Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera, The Dallas Opera, Florida Grand Opera, The Goodspeed Opera, The Portland Opera, New Orleans Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera. He has also worked extensively at the regional theaters in the United States. His designs have lit the stages of the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Center Stage Theatre, Alliance Theatre, The Dallas Theater Center, The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Maine State Music Theater, Syracuse Stage and Geva Theatre. As lighting designer with Ping Chong + Company, his work was seen worldwide. He has worked at theaters and opera houses in Europe, Canada, South America and Asia, including The Finnish, Columbian, and Dutch National Operas, Opera North, The Canadian Opera Company, Malmö Opera in Sweden, The Luminato Festival in, Toronto, Opera de Marseille, Staatstheater Kassel, Theater Erfurt, The Bavarian State Opera, The Vancouver Opera, The Singapore Arts Festival, and Tokyo Metro Arts Center. In 2010, he was on the original design team for the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s opera Prima Donna at Sadler’s Wells in London, which was later produced by New York City Opera and at The Luminato Festival in Toronto. As resident lighting designer for Stadttheater Giessen in Germany, he produced over one hundred designs for theater, opera and ballet. Concurrent with his many freelance projects, he is the resident lighting designer and director the Cincinnati Opera Summer Festival.

Performance Schedule

Saturday January 24, 2015 7 PM

Tuesday January 27, 2015 7 PM

Thursday* January 29, 2015 7 PM

Sunday February 1, 2015 2 PM
*Please note, the Friday night subscribers will attend La bohème on Thursday, January 29, 2015. There is no Friday night performance of La bohème.
Get Connected For La bohème
Stars in the Salon

Meet the singers, conductor and director of La bohème in this informal panel discussion on Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 5:30 PM in the Beverly Sills Salon, Civic Theatre. Free.
Pre-Opera Lectures

These 30-minute informative lectures take place in the Civic Theatre one hour prior to every performance and offer wonderful insights into the production audience members are about to see. These lectures are free to all ticket holders.

San Diego OperaTalk! with Nicolas Reveles ­

Join Dr. Nicolas Reveles, San Diego Opera's Geisel Director of Education, for these fascinating, half-hour overviews of our operas. He'll take you on an intriguing journey though the story, music and history of each opera. You'll pick up rich insight into the structure and composition of the music, along with recommendations of the best recordings. It's a wonderful prelude to your opera experience and a great way to pick up some tidbits to impress your friends at intermission! For a complete listing of schedules and where to view it, visit:

San Diego Opera Video Podcast Series

In order to help audiences better appreciate the operas in our 2014-2015 Season, the Education and Community Engagement Department has developed a series of introductory podcasts hosted by Dr. Nicolas Reveles. These 15 to 20 minute “conversations” can be enjoyed by opera fans as well as those who are new to the art form. Informal yet informative, this is a great way to prepare for our season. These videos are also available on our YouTube Channel:
San Diego Opera on Twitter

Get frequent updates about San Diego Opera and opera in general by following us on Twitter. Follow tweets from backstage during a performance and learn about special offers and contests before anyone else by following us @SDOpera.

San Diego Opera on Facebook

San Diego Opera’s Facebook page offers a place for fellow opera fans to discuss performances, opera news, connect with other fans and get up-to-date information on upcoming events. Look for “San Diego Opera” at
San Diego Opera Blog: Aria Serious

Aria Serious is San Diego Opera's official blog. It focuses on the serious and not-so-serious world of opera with behind-the-scenes looks at our productions, artist interviews and industry as well as pop-culture news. Come and join in the conversation at:

San Diego Opera on YouTube

Now viewers can watch a large portion of San Diego Opera’s programming at their convenience on YouTube. OperaTalk!, Stars in the Salon, Opera Spotlight, our video podcast series and much more can be found on the San Diego Opera channel at:
San Diego Opera on Instagram

A picture is worth a thousand words! Take a look at what happen backstage and in the office on San Diego Opera’s Instagram page.

Purchasing Tickets

Single tickets for all operas are on sale. Single ticket prices start at $45 and can be purchased by calling (619) 533-7000 or online at
Subscriptions range from $105 for a three-opera series to $1405 for a full season package (Orchestra level subscription and the 50th Gala Anniversary Concert at the Jacobs Music Center - Copley Symphony Hall, the two recitals, and the mariachi opera). Some Saturday and Sunday subscriptions are slightly higher. Subscriptions can be purchased by calling (619) 533-7000 or online at
The 2014-2015 International Season

Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez in recital September 5, 2014

Stephanie Blythe and Craig Terry: The songs of Kate Smith December 11, 2014

La bohème Giacomo Puccini January 24, 27, 29 and Feb. 1 (mat), 2015

Don Giovanni Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart February 14, 17, 20 and 22 (mat), 2015

Nixon in China John Adams March 14, 17, 20 and 22 (mat), 2015

50th Anniversary Celebration Concert April 18 and 19, 2015

El Pasado Nunca se Termina José “Pepe” Martinez April 25 at 2 pm and 7 pm, 2015
General Information

San Diego Opera announced its 2014-2015 season and 50th Anniversary on May 19, 2014, after nearly two months of careful deliberations and analysis since the Company announced it was going to close at the end of the 2014 season. During this time, the Company launched a crowd funding campaign that resulted in an unprecedented $2.2 million in public donations, of which 48% were first time donors from 6 countries and 36 States. The outpouring of public support, the unified vision expressed by the company’s management, staff, partners and contractors, and the expert advice of Opera America and the many General Directors of U.S. opera companies who weighed in with encouragement, logistical assistance and statements of solidarity, led the Board of Directors, headed by Carol Lazier, to confidently rescind the original vote to close. The Company appointed former Lyric Opera of Chicago General Director, William Mason, as Artistic Advisor in May and has begun a search for permanent leadership to lead the Company as it reinvents itself to better serve the diverse San Diego community.


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