Margarita Gritskova was born in 1987 in St. Petersburg. Aside from singing, she also learned piano in her homwtown, and later studied in the St. Petersburg Conservatoire. She is a prizewinner of numerous competitions, among others the Luciano Pavarotti-Competiton in Modena and the Concurso Internacional de Canto Villa de Colmenar in Spain. In 2010, she was a finalist at the Operalia Competition. Margarita Gritskova washeard among others singing under the direction of Mariss Janson in St. Petersburg; as well as at the Festival de Ópera de Tenerife in Salome and Cherubino at the Sommerfestival in St. Moritz, as well as Rosina at the Hungarian Staatsoper and Olga at the Opera de Quebec. In 2009/2010, Margarita Gritskova was a member of the ensemble of the National Theatre Weimar, where she sang parts like Cherubino, Flora, Maddalena, Ottone, Bradamante, Marthe, Carmen and Olga. At the Wiener Staatsoper, where she is an ensemblemember, she made her debut in 2012 as Tebaldo (Don Carlo) and has also sung among others Fjodor, Cherubino (Japan-Guest performance of the Wiener Staatsoper), Dryade, Tisbe, Bersi, Rosina, Dorabella and Angelina.
PIOTR BECZALA is one of the main representatives of Lyrical Tenors; he has celebrated success at the New York Met, in Chicago and San Francisco, at the Munich Staatsoper, ROH Covent Garden, the Paris Opéra National, the Milan Scala, the Berlin Staatsoper as well as the Festivals in Salzburg, Baden-Baden and Montpellier. Born and studied in south Poland, he was then made an ensemble member at the Landestheater Linz and then at the Opera in Zurich. He made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 1996 with Anton Bruckner’s Te Deum and also as Tamino, Belmonte, Alfredo, Faust, Rodolfo, Roméo and Edgardo. His current and central repertoire also include Verdi’s Duca and Riccardo, Massenets Werther, Gounod’s Roméo, Tschaikowskijs Lenski and Vaudémont, Smetanas Jenik as well since recently Massenets Des Grieux. Recent engagements include, among others, in Munich, the Met, the Scala, in Salzburg and in Baden-Baden. He is also a highly demanded concert singer and works regularly with leading conductors.
KS CARLOS ÁLVAREZ was born in Málaga and studied at the conservatoire in his hometown. He made his debut as a singer in 1990. Since then, his international career has brought him to La Scala, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Paris, Amsterdam, San Francisco, the Hamburg State Opera and the Bavarian State Opera, the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Arena di Verona, the Zurich Opera House, the Opera House Bonn, Brussels, Valencia, the Salzburg Festival and the New Yorker Met. He made his debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1995 as Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia).
Further roles at the Vienna State Opera include Germont (La traviata), Riccardo (I puritani), Posa (Don Carlo), Sulpice (La Fille du régiment), Carlo Gérard (Andrea Chénier), Don Carlo (Ernani), Don Carlos (La forza del destino), Stankar (Stiffelio), duke of Nottingham (Roberto Devereux), Alphonse XI. (La Favorite), Escamillo (Carmen), Ford (Falstaff) as well as leading roles in Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro. In 2007 Carlos Álvarez was awarded the honorary title for singers in Austria “Kammersänger”.
OLGA BEZSMERTNA completed her studies at the Kiev Academy of Music in Ukraine in 2010. She was among the finalists of the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna in 2010 and 2011. During her debut singing competition in Germany in 2008, she was awarded the first prize as well as the Public prize and the Puccini Prize. In 2007 she had an engagement at the Oper Oder-Spree Festival. In 2006, she received an award at the International Rimsky-Korsakow Singing Competition in St. Petersburg. Furthermore, the soprano received the first prize at the international singing competition of the Bertelsmann Trust. In 2011, she took part in the Young Singers Projects at the Salzburger Festspiele. Her repertoire includes, among others, Contessa d’Almaviva, Pamina, Donna Elvira, Fiordiligi, Micaëla, Marguerite, Nedda, Marfa (Die Zarenbraut) and Tatjana. She is an emsemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper, where she gave her debut in 2012 and sang among others: Dame (Cardillac), Pamina, 3. Norn, Contessa d’Almaviva and Rosalinde. Current performances include her debut at the Deutschen Oper Berlin and at the Salzburger Festpiele.
ACT 1 A bright and sunny midday in Seville. There is a colourful, lively crowd on the square; nearby is a guardhouse and a cigarette factory. Micaëla, a girl from the country, is searching for Corporal Don José; but he belongs to the guard which is coming on duty. Announced by the children, the changing of the guards take place and José learns that Micaëla has been there asking for him. The lunch hour begins and the female workers come sauntering out; Carmen is among them. At the moment, she is surrounded by men, but it is fascinating for her to win the one who is not paying any attention to her – José. Before Carmen goes back into the factory she throws him a flower. Micaëla returns again and reminds José of the wonderful time when they were first in love. She brings him a letter, some money and a kiss from his mother. Suddenly, a scream comes from the factory! Carmen has had a fight and has wounded another girl with a knife. José is ordered by Captain Zuniga to bring out the accused girl and after an interrogation to take her away to prison. But he quickly succumbs to her seductive charms and José permits her to escape. ACT 2 In Lillas Pastia’s inn soldiers and gypsy girls are conversing and amusing themselves. Zuniga is trying to win Carmen for himself. He tells her that José, who was sentenced because of her escape, will be released from prison today. Escamillo, the famous bullfighter, enters the inn. He sings his “Toreador Song” and feels that he is winning Carmen’s affection. Hoping to see her soon again, Escamillo leaves the inn. Smugglers are trying to persuade the gypsy girls to join in their new venture. Carmen refuses to take part because she is waiting for José, whose singing can be heard in the distance. He enters and greets Carmen, on whom he has thought of with burning desire. She begins to dance for him alone. At that moment, the sound of retreat is heard, which calls José back to the barracks. He wants to heed the call, but Carmen ridicules him. Also, his passionate decleration of love cannot change Carmen’s mind. But she now trues to persuade José to lead a free life with the smugglers. Zuniga arrives. José resists his command and the officer is politely turned out by the smugglers. Now, José is obliged to stay with the smugglers; which is what he originally did not want to do. ACT 3 The smugglers are resting overnight in the mountains. Carmen has quarreled with her lover – José. Together with two gypsy girls she is asking the cards to tell her future. Her death is read in the cards. As José stays back to stand guard, Micaëla arrives. She hides herself quickly because José is shooting Escamillo; whom he has mistaken for a customs officer. A life or death struggle, between the two men, begins for Carmen’s favour. Just at the right moment, she separates them. Escamillo invites all of the smugglers to his next bullfight. Micaëla comes out of her hiding place to bring José to his mother’s death bed. He heeds her plea and follows her. ACT 4 In front of the area in Seville the crowd is watching the procession of the Toreadors. Escamillo is accompanied by Carmen. Today, he wants to bring her the winner’s prize. The gypsy girls warn Carmen about José. He prevents her from going into the arena by blocking her way. He asks her to remember the past and pleads for her love. Carmen’s stubborn “no” drives him out of his mind and he stabs her to death – his beloved Carmen, who perhaps still loves him in her heart and therefore may be longing for death through his hand.