Cincinnati Opera kicks off its season with Carmen, a rep mainstay about a gypsy woman who lives by her own rules. Chances are you’ll recognize Bizet’s classic melodies that vividly evoke Spanish dances and fiestas. Stacey Rishoi is the fiery Carmen; fine lyric tenor William Burden is her hapless lover Don José; and Daniel Okulitch is the swaggering matador Escamillo, who gets the opera’s most famous aria.
Luminous soprano Laquita Michell sings Micaela, José’s hometown girl. The Cincinnati Opera’s production features a new set and staging by Canadian director Alain Gauthier plus cheering crowds for the last act’s bullfight.
7:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday; 7:30 p.m. June 21; 3 p.m. June 22. Tickets start at $25. Music Hall, 1243 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-241-2742, cincinnatiopera.com.