Syracuse Opera's season begins with the Spanish exoticism of Bizet’s beguiling gypsy ‘Carmen’ October 20 & 22. Set in Seville, the upright soldier Don Jose finds himself bewitched by the hedonistic gypsy Carmen. His growing obsession with her collides with Carmen’s desire for freedom in both life and love, pushing them headlong toward one of opera’s most chilling climaxes. Bullfighter Escamillo’s ‘Toreador Song’ and Carmen’s seductive ‘Habañera’ have long since found their way into American popular culture in the form of movie soundtracks, TV commercials, and video games. ‘Carmen’ will feature stage direction and choreography by Syracuse University Associate Professor of Musical Theater Anthony Salatino. Christian Capocaccia, who led last season’s ‘Rigoletto,’ will conduct. Mezzo-soprano Vanessa Cariddi, who made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2004, will play the role of Carmen, with up-and-coming tenor Noah Stewart as Don Jose. CNY natives Gregory Sheppard and Julia Ebner play officer of the guard Zuniga and gypsy smuggler Frasquita, respectively.