Verdi's beloved opera Aida opens Opera's 2019-2020 season in an entirely new theatrical performance utilizing set elements, costumes, lighting, and featuring the San Diego Symphony and chorus onstage, alongside some of the greatest interpreters of Verdi's music performing today. Aida opens on October 19, 2019 for four performances. Additional performances are October 22, 25, and 27 (matinee), 2019. All evening performances for the 2019-2020 season will begin at 7:30 PM for the convenience of our audiences. The matinee will remain at 2 PM. Assembled for the opening opera of the season is an exciting cast of singers including the Company debut of soprano Michelle Bradley as Aida who is quickly becoming one of the most sought after Verdi sopranos performing today. Making a welcome return to San Diego Opera in the role of Radames is tenor Carl Tanner who was last heard in San Diego Opera's 2018 production of Turandot as Calaf. Also making house debuts are mezzo-soprano Olesya Petrova as Amneris and baritone Nelson Martinez as Amonasro. Bass Mikhail Svetlov returns to sing the King of Egypt, having last been heard as Ambimelech in 2013's Samson and Delilah. Rounding out the cast is bass Simon Lim as Ramfis in his Company debut, soprano Tasha Koontz as the High Priestess and who last heard as Frasquita in last season's Carmen, and tenor Bernardo Bermudez as the Messenger, who was last heard as Dancairo in last season's Carmen. Conductor Joseph Colaneri makes his Company debut leading these performances and stage director Alan Hicks, who most recently directed last season's All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 for the Company, will stage these performances. Aida will be presented as a theatrical concert opera with the San Diego Symphony and San Diego Opera chorus on stage alongside the principal singers. Theatrical concert operas have been performed in recent years by Los Angeles Opera, The Dallas Opera, and The Metropolitan Opera, as well as being embraced by orchestras around the world. These performances of Aida will use elements from the set owned by San Diego Opera from Tony-award winning designer Michael Yeargan. Costumes are by famed fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, who made her opera design debut with San Diego Opera in 2001 with The Magic Flute, and designed both the sets and costumes for The Pearl Fishers in 2004. These costumes come from her Aida designed for Houston Grand Opera, English National Opera, Norwegian National Opera, and San Francisco Opera, and are now owned by The Dallas Opera. The lighting designer is Chris Rynne, who has a lit a number of San Diego Opera productions over the years.

Aida tells the story of Amneris, daughter of the King of Egypt, who is in love with Radames, the captain of the Egyptian guard. Radames, however, is in love with Amneris's slave, Aida. Aida is the daughter of Amonasro, the King of Ethiopia. As a reward for leading the Egyptians to victory against Ethiopia the King grants Radames one wish. Radames asks for freedom for all prisoners, knowing that one of the prisoners is the father of Aida, but unaware that he is the King of Ethiopia. Amonasro persuades Aida to make Radames tell her his battle strategy, information that would enable the Ethiopian army to defeat the Egyptians. Radames tells Aida but he is overheard by the Egyptians and sentenced to be buried alive with tragic results for all. Featuring some of Verdi's most moving music including “Celeste Aida,” “Ritorna vincitor,” and “O patria mia”, Aida has delighted opera lovers since its premiere in Cairo in 1871.

Performed in Italian with English translations above the stage, these performances will be the ninth time Aida has been seen at San Diego with other performances occurring in 2013, 2008, 2001, 1996, 1983, 1978, 1972 and 1966.

These performances of Aida are made possible by the Production Sponsors, Candace Carroll, Esq. and Len Simon, Esq. Michelle Bradley's appearance is underwritten by Robin Angly.

The Cast

Michelle Bradley, Aida

Michelle Bradley's appearance is generously underwritten by Robin Angly. San Diego Opera debut. Soprano Michelle Bradley made recent notable debuts in Frankfurt as Leonora in La Forza del Destino, in Nancy, France and Erfurt, Germany as the title role in Aida, the Deutsche Oper Berlin in staged performances of Verdi's Requiem, and returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Clotilde in Norma. This season, she makes debuts with the Vienna State Opera as Leonora in Il Trovatore, the San Francisco Opera as Elvira in Ernani, and will return to the Metropolitan Opera for their New Year's Eve Gala as Liù in Turandot. Future projects include debuts with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and returns to the Metropolitan Opera, all in leading roles. In concert, she appeared in Sir Michael Tippett's A Child of our Time with the Orchestre de Paris, sang the soprano solo in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, made her debut at the Cincinnati May in the Verdi Requiem, and sang in recital under the auspices of the George London Foundation in Miami and New York City. She is a recipient of the Leonie Rysanek Award from the George London Foundation, the Hildegard Behrens Foundation Award, and is a first place winner in the Gerda Lissner and the Serge and Olga Koussevitzky vocal competitions. She is the 2014 grand prize winner of The Music Academy of the West's Marilyn Horne Song Competition, and is a recent graduate of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

Carl Tanner, Radames

American tenor Carl Tanner made his Company debut as Calaf in 2018's production of Turandot. He appears regularly at La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Opéra National de Paris, Washington National Opera, the New National Theatre of Tokyo, Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Teatro Real de Madrid, and Liceu de Barcelona, among others. Notable role in his repertory include the title roles in Otello and Andrea Chénier, Manrico in Il trovatore, Pollione in Norma, Don José in Carmen, Canio in Pagliacci, Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, Calaf in Turandot, Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut, Dick Johnson in La fanciulla del West, Cavaradossi in Tosca, and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. Recent engagements include the title role of Otello with Opera Hong Kong, Radamès with L'Opéra de Massy and Opera Colorado, Manrico with Hawaii Opera Theater, Luigi in Il Tabarro with Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and Turiddu and Canio with the Metropolitan Opera.

Olesya Petrova, Amneris

San Diego Opera debut. Mezzo-soprano Olesya Petrova was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Notable appearances include Amneris in Aida and Ulrica in A Masked Ball at the Metropolitan Opera, Azucena in Il trovatore in Firenze and at Opera Østfold, Verdi's Requiem with Cadaques Orchestra, Théâtre des Chatelet, and the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Copenhagen, Amneris in Auckland, as well as Polina in The Queen of Spades at Bolshoi theater, Ulrica in St. Petersburg and for Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf,  Federica in Luisa Miller at Teatro Verdi di Trieste and Staatsoper Hamburg, Emilia in Otello at Liceu de Barcelona, Amneris in Montreal, Amelfa in The Little Golden Cockerel at Teatro Real de Madrid, The Mother in Tales of Hoffmann at the Metropolitan Opera, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with David Robertson in Sydney, Charlotte in Werther at Teatro Verdi di Trieste,  Madelon in Andrea Chénier at the Metropolitan Opera, Azucena at the Latvian National Opera, Fenena in Nabucco at Opéra de Montreal, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly at Greek National Opera in Athens, and Mrs. Sedley in Peter Grimes at Hamburg State Opera. She has been a soloist with the St. Petersburg Conservatory Opera Theatre since 2007.

Nelson Martínez, Amonasro

San Diego Opera debut. Cuban-American baritone Nelson Martínez began his operatic career at the age of 19 singing a variety of Italian and French operas, as well as Cuban and Spanish zarzuelas. He joined the Metropolitan Opera roster in 2016, covering the role of Count di Luna in Il trovatore. He returned in 2017, making his Met debut as Monterone in Rigoletto and returning as Giorgio Germont in La traviata. He has performed the title role of Nabucco with Florida Grand Opera. Other notable appearances include his debuts with the Greek National Opera in the title role of Rigoletto, and with the Theatro Municipal de Sao Paolo in Brazil in the title role of Falstaff. He has performed with Winter Opera St. Louis, Opera Carolina, Knoxville Opera, Miami Lyric Opera, Metro Lyric Opera of New Jersey, Baltimore Opera, and Sociedad Pro Arte Gratelli of Miami, among others.

Simon Lim, Ramfis

San Diego Opera debut. Korean bass Simon Lim's notable appearances include Guccio in Gianni Schicchi, Tom in A Masked Ball and Deputato Fiammingo in Don Carlo at Teatro alla Scala, Mustafa in L'Italiana in Algeri at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, Barone di Kelbar in Un giorno di regno in Verona, Procida in I vespri siciliani in Reggio Emilia, Modena and Piacenza, Conte Asdrubale in La pietra del Paragone at Theatre de Chatelet in Paris, Marchese di Calatrava and Padre Guardiano in La forza del destino at Verdi's Festival in Parma, Verdi Requiem in Innsbruck, Timur in Turandot and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Ratcliffe in Billy Budd in Genova, Zuniga in Carmen at Glyndebourne Festival, Zaccaria in Nabucco in Cagliari, Lisboa, and Salerno, Ramfis at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Padre Guardiano in La forza del destino, Alidoro in Cenerentola at Teatro Filarmonico Verona,Yorg in Stiffelio and Balthasar in La favorite at La Fenice, Alidoro at Teatro Regio Torino, Yorg in Bilbao, Zaccaria in Nabucco in Lille, President Wu Virtu in The New Prince in Amsterdam, Raimondo in Lucia in Venice, Tom in A Masked Ball at Bayerische Staatsoper, Oroveso in Norma in Oslo, his debut as Filippo II in Don Carlo in Tel Aviv, and Nourabad in The Pearl Fishers in Bilbao, among others. He is the winner of many awards including third place at the Operalia World Opera Competition.

Tasha Koontz, High Priestess

American soprano Tasha Koontz made her Company debut as Annina in 2017's La traviata and was seen most recently as Frasquita in 2019's Carmen. Recent appearances include Mimì in La bohème and Violetta in La traviata with Opera on the Avalon in St. John's, Newfoundland. Other highlights include Alice Ford in Falstaff at IU Opera Theater, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at Bay View Music Festival, and The Countess in The Marriage of Figaro at Northwestern University. She was recently awarded 2nd Place in the Voice Division of the Music Merit Awards in San Diego, CA and 1st Place in the Coeur d'Alene Symphony Young Artist Competition.

Mikhail Svetlov, King of Egypt

Russian bass Mikhail Svetlov made his San Diego Opera debut in 2007 as Varlaam in Boris Godunov and returned in 2013 to sing Abimelech in Samson and Delilah. Early career saw him work as a company principal at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, where his roles included the title role in Boris Godunov, Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Saltan in The Tale of Tsar Saltan, Mephistopheles in Faust, Zaccaria in Nabucco, Ferrando in Il trovatore, Sobakin in The Tsar's Bride, Dodon in Le coq d'Or, Dosifey in Khovanshchina, King René in Iolanta, Mendoza in Betrothal in a Monastery, Galitsky in Prince Igor, Angelotti in Tosca, and Gusli player in The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh. Recent engagements include Archibaldo in L'amore dei tre Re for Opera Holland Park, Fiesco in Simon Boccanegra with Kentucky Opera, Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo for the Caramoor Festival, Zaccaria in Nabucco with Naples Opera, the title role in Boris Godunov and Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville at the Chaliapin Opera Festival in Russia, and soloist in Stravinsky's Le Noces with the Orchestra of Santa Cecilia, Rome. He is well known for his interpretation of Verdi's Requiem having performed at leading venues internationally in London, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo, Montreal, and throughout the USA. His discography includes the world première of Rachmaninov's The Miserly Knight and Serov's Judith (Le Chant du Monde), for which he received a Telerama Award; Shostakovich's The Gamblers (Delta Music; and Prokofiev's Betrothal in a Monastery (BMG Classics), Shostakovich's 14th Symphony on (Virgin Classics), and was Grammy nominated for his recording of Stravinsky's Histoire du Soldat (Koch International Classics).

Bernardo Bermudez, Messenger

Venezuelan-American tenor Bernardo Bermudez made his Company mainstage debut in 2016's Madama Butterfly as Prince Yamidori and was heard as a member of the Ensemble in 2018's Maria de Buenos Aires and as a Sailor in Florencia en el Amazonas. He was a member of the ensemble in All Is Calm in 2018 and also sang the role of Dancairo in Carmen in 2019. Notable operatic roles performed include Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, Silvio in Pagliacci, Escamillo in Carmen, Valentin in Faust, Belcore in The Elixir of Love, Papageno in The Magic Flute, Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Vidal Hernando in Luisa Fernanda, Scarpia in Tosca, Schaunard in La bohème, Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, Aeneas in Dido & Aeneas, Melchior in Amahl and The Night Visitors, Mercurio in L'incoronazione di Poppea, Teniente Cantalapiedra in Cecilia Valdes, Count Capulet in Romeo et Juliette, Marullo in Rigoletto, and Morald in Richard Wagner's Die Feen. He recently performed the role of Diego Rivera in Frida at Long Beach Opera.

Joseph Colaneri, Conductor

San Diego Opera debut. Music Director of the acclaimed Glimmerglass Festival since 2013, Joseph Colaneri has served as a member of the Metropolitan conducting roster since 1998. Colaneri concurrently serves as Artistic Director of Opera at Mannes School of Music at The New School in New York City. Colaneri served as Artistic Director of the West Australian Opera from 2012-2014. In recent seasons, Maestro Colaneri led productions of La bohéme, CandideMacbeth, and Rossini's The Thieving Magpie at the Glimmerglass Festival, Don Pasquale for Atlanta Opera, and Tosca and The Elixir of Love at the Metropolitan Opera. Among the distinguished opera companies with which Colaneri has guested are Den Norske Opera, Portland Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Orlando Opera, UCLA, and the San Francisco Opera Center. Orchestral guesting credits of note include leading the Tokyo Philharmonic in a concert program of opera arias and musical theater selections starring soprano Renée Fleming, which was telecast throughout Asia by the NHK; conducting Jianyi Zhang and Richard Zeller in an opera highlights program with the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan in Taipei; conducting an ‘All-Devils concert' in Orlando, Florida  starring bass Samuel Ramey; conducting the prestigious Richard Tucker Gala at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, and the Orchestra of St. Luke's in a celebrated Gay Men's Health Crisis benefit at Avery Fisher Hall. At the Metropolitan Opera, he has led performances of La bohème, Luisa MillerTurandot, Rigoletto, L'italiana in AlgeriNabucco, FalstaffIl trittico, The Daughter of the Regiment, Lucia di Lammermoor, and  Don Pasquale. For West Australian Opera, he led productions of OtelloIl trovatoreLa bohèmeMadama ButterflyLa traviata and The Barber of Seville. Joseph Colaneri was honored by New York City Opera with its Julius Rudel Award during the 1994 season. With New York City Opera he has conducted South Pacific, The Barber of SevilleLa bohèmeCarmenRigolettoToscaLa traviataThe New Moon and The Merry Widow. Highlights of his work at City Opera include the highly acclaimed 1993 world premiere of Hugo Weisgall's Esther, and the 1995 American Premiere of the Toshiro Mayuzumi opera Kinkakuji: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. A stalwart champion of young artists and audience outreach from the beginning of his career, Mr. Colaneri  also served as Music Director of the New York City Opera National Company (the touring arm) early on, producing and conducting national productions of The Daughter of the RegimentToscaCarmenMadama ButterflyThe Barber of Seville, La traviata, and La bohème, as well as frequently conducting productions for the Western Opera Theater and the San Francisco Opera's Merola program, among them La traviata, RigolettoDie FledermausGianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica. A graduate of New York University and Westminster Choir College, in Princeton, New Jersey, from which he received a Master of Music degree, and the 1994 Distinguished Alumnus Award, Joseph Colaneri began his professional music career as an organist and choral conductor. He made his opera debut as Chorus Master of the New Jersey State Opera, and continued his choral conducting career as Chorus Master of the New York City Opera, before moving into the operatic and orchestral arenas. Mr. Colaneri began his career as a conductor with the New York City Opera (NYCO), a post he held for eleven years (1987-1998), and served as Music Director of NYCO's touring arm, the New York City Opera National Company, from 1991-1998. From 1995-1996 Mr. Colaneri served as Acting Music Director for New York City Opera. Mr. Colaneri resides in the New York City area with his family.

Alan E. Hicks, Director

American stage director Alan E. Hicks made his Company directing debut in last season's production of All is Calm. He is the first Director of Opera Theatre, a year-round shared position between San Diego Opera and San Diego State University. He has spent the past two decades in professional opera and theatre, first as a singer, then a teacher, finally turning his attention to stage direction. He has directed productions for organizations throughout the United States and in Europe including Minnesota Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Tulsa Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Miami Music Festival, Green Mountain Opera Festival, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Franco-American Vocal Academy in Salzburg, Shenandoah Conservatory, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Iowa. Alan has also served on the directing and production staffs of Central City Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Michigan Opera Theatre, New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, and Tulsa Opera. In 2013, he was appointed Director of the Emerging Artist Program at Green Mountain Opera Festival, a position he held until the company's closing in 2015. Recent engagements include La clemenza di Tito for Music Academy International (Italy),  Ariadne auf Naxos for Minnesota Opera, The Elixir of Love for Opera Santa Barbara, Albert Herring and The Magic Flute for Shenandoah University, and Albert Herring and The Turn of the Screw for the Miami Music Festival. In addition to his work with such venerable operatic performers as Renée Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Silvia McNair, Spiro Malas, Greer Grimsley, and Thomas Hampson as well as rising stars Lawrence Brownlee, Erin Morley, Kate Lindsey, Brian Jagde, Amber Wagner, and Nadine Sierra, Alan has assisted renowned opera directors Chris Alexander, Linda Brovsky, Peter Kazaras as well as Broadway veterans Susan Strohman and Sam Buntrock. A native of Mississippi, Alan holds degrees in Education, Vocal Performance, and Opera Directing from Mississippi State University, Rice University, and The University of Texas at Austin (respectively). Alan is a member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA) and the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA).

Zandra Rhodes, Costume Designer

British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes made her San Diego Opera debut designing costumes for The Magic Flute in 2001 and returned to design sets and costumes for The Pearl Fishers in 2004 which was then seen in San Francisco, New York, Miami, Denver and Washington DC, among other cities. In 2007 she designed Aida for Houston Grand Opera which was a co-commission with English National Opera, Norwegian National Opera, and San Francisco Opera. She attended Medway College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. An international fashion and textile designer, Zandra founded the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, was Royal Designer for Industry in the UK (conferred by Prince Phillip) and was made a Commander of the British Empire by the Queen in 1997. She designed for the late Princess Diana and continues to design for the rich and famous around the world. Zandra Rhodes has had many academic and professional honors bestowed upon her including six doctorates.

Michael Yeargan, Set Designer

American Scenic Designer Michael Yeargan made his debut with San Diego Opera with this production of Aida first seen in 1996 and repeated in 2001 and 2008. For San Diego Opera he also designed Madama Butterfly in 1998, 2003 and 2009, A Streetcar Named Desire in 2000, Cold Sassy Tree in 2001, Carmen in 2006 and Nabucco in 2010. Yeargan has won two Tony Awards® for Best Scenic Design for The Light in the Piazza in 2005 and South Pacific in 2008. He is a professor of stage design at the Yale School of Drama and the resident designer for the Yale Repertory Theatre, where he has designed more than 50 productions. His opera credits include set design for Harbison's The Great Gatsby for Metropolitan Opera, Bolcom's A View from the Bridge for Lyric Opera of Chicago and both Simon Boccanegra and Dead Man Walking for San Francisco Opera. He has also designed productions for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Opera Australia and the Scottish Opera. In 2009, he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Scenic Design for Joe Turner's Come and Gone.

Chris Rynne, Lighting Designer

American lighting designer Chris Rynne was the assistant lighting designer for the Company from 2000-2008. He has lit La traviata in 2004, La bohème in 2005, Aida in 2008, Madama Butterfly in 2016, and As One in 2017, and Carmen in 2019. He has designed for Madison Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Houston Grand Opera.  His off-Broadway credits include The Pianist of Willesden Lane.  Regional/Local Theatre lighting credits include: The Old Globe, San Diego Rep, Berkeley Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Laguna Playhouse, Geffen Playhouse, Cygnet Theatre, North Coast Rep, Diversionary Playhouse, Starlight Theatre, San Diego Musical Theatre. He also designs lighting for museum exhibitions, special events, architectural features, and lighting systems for new venues.

Performance Schedule

Saturday              October 19, 2019             7:30 PM

Tuesday               October 22, 2019             7:30 PM

Friday                   October 25, 2019             7:30 PM

Sunday                 October 27, 2019             2:00 PM

Get Connected

Pre-Opera Lectures

These 30-minute informative lectures for the main stage operas 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.

Post-Opera Talkbacks

Join the cast, crew, musicians and artists right after the performance of the main stage operas for an engaging, entertaining and informative Q&A session moderated by a San Diego Opera staff member. These lectures are held in the Civic Theatre and are free to all ticket holders.

San Diego Opera Podcast Series

These insights into the singers and productions can be enjoyed by opera fans as well as those who are new to the art form. Casual and fun, this is a great way to learn about our artists and the operas they star in. Watch online at These videos are also available on our YouTube Channel:


Purchasing Tickets

Only subscriptions are on sale at this time. Single tickets start at $35 for all mainstage performances and go on sale later this summer. Single tickets start at $25 for all dētour Series operas. “One Amazing Night” tickets start at $35. Children prices exist, please visit or call 619.533.7000 for more information.

Senior citizen discounts of 15% are available to the Main Stage series on Tuesday and Friday subscription packages. Senior citizen discounts of 15% are available to the dētour Series on Saturday subscription packages.

Military discounts (active and retired) of 50% are available to the Main Stage series on Tuesday and Friday subscription packages. Military discounts of 50% are available to the dētour Series on Saturday subscription packages.

For information about tickets please visit or call 619.533.7000

San Diego Opera 2019-2020 Season

Aida                                                                                           Giuseppe Verdi                            October 19, 22, 25, and 27 (mat), 2019

One Amazing Night with Ailyn Pérez and Joshua Guerrero                                            December 11, 2019

Hansel & Gretel                                                                     Engelbert Humperdinck            February 8, 11, 14, and 16 (mat), 2020

Aging Magician                                                                    Paola Prestini                                 March 13 and 14 (evening and mat), 2020

The Barber of Seville                                                           Gioachino Rossini                         April 25, 28, May 1 and 3 (mat) 2020

The Falling and the Rising                                                 Zach Redler                                    May 8, 9, and 10 (mat) 2020

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