One star ducks a Carmen debut, another steps up

One star ducks a Carmen debut, another steps up


norman lebrecht

May 24, 2023

We reported yesterday that the Latvian Kristine Opolais decided, after nine months of gestation, that she could not perform Carmen.

Within hours a virgin replacement was found – a well-known Canadian singer who was prepared to tackle Carmen for the first time.

Joyce El-Khoury comes out with it on social media:

I have a secret to share 😉
This summer I will be making my professional stage debut in the title role of Carmen Oper im Steinbruch. This might come as a surprise to some of you, but this role debut is one of the most meaningful & long-awaited in my career thus far.
My journey with the opera Carmen goes back to my student days at The University of Ottawa where I was first studied the role at the age of 20. It was through this experience that my love affair with the art form of opera began. As a young artist, I gained perspectives of the character of Carmen through the eyes of chorister, Frasquita and then as my career began to bloom, in productions as Micaëla. Needless to say, I’ve been waiting for the day to return home to the role of Carmen, who has lived deep in my soul & the colors of my imagination for the last 20 years.
I am HONORED to follow in the footsteps of the legendary sopranos who have embodied this iconic role including Maria Callas, Victoria de Los Angeles, Angela Gheorghiu & Ana Maria Martinez. I am so excited and can’t wait to introduce my Carmen to the public in Austria this summer, as well as the rest of the world in a live telecast and DVD recording that will be forthcoming.
♥️ Joyce


  • msc says:

    El-Khoury clearly has a lot of talent. I’m not sure how well Carmen suits her voice (Tatyana, Mimi, Butterfly, Amelia) but I’m sure she’ll do well.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Since student days at Juilliard, Ms. El-Khoury given some very fine performances in a varied repertoire. While she has had measured success, I hope she is promoted by the major houses. She is the real deal.

  • Sam's Hot Car Lot says:

    Joyce was born to play Carmen. All the best to her.

  • Potpourri says:

    Joyce El-Khoury has talent and courage. She immigrated to Ontario, Canada, from Lebanon when she was six years old. She was bullied at school because she spoke Arabic and French but not English. She was rejected by several music conservatories, so she studied at the University of Ottawa. She has had a successful, hard fought career and deserves this opportunity to sing Carmen.

  • Philip G. Koch says:

    Carmen and Tales of Hoffman are my two favorite French offers. I have sung the Seguidilla with the high B flat.