Arizona Opera to Release ‘Carmen:The Graphic Novel’ in December 2022

By Chris Ruel

Arizona Opera has announced it will release “Carmen: the Graphic Novel” in early December, just in time for the holidays.

The book is a project of Alek Shrader, an operatic tenor and director who appeared in “The Audition,” a documentary about the Met Opera National Council Auditions, now called the Laffont Competition.

Shrader served as the graphic novel’s writer and worked with legendary illustrator P. Craig Russell, who has adapted several of Neil Gaiman’s novels, as well as operas such as “Die Zauberflöte,” “Pagliacci,” and Wagner’s “Ring Cycle.” Joining Shrader and Russell were award-winning penciler, inker, and colorist Aneke and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.

“Carmen: The Graphic Novel” was funded by Kickstarter, where it picked up 829 backers, doubling its funding goal of $20,000. San Diego-based art and graphic novel publisher Clover Press will publish the graphic novel.

“This project first came to our attention on Kickstarter,” said Clover Press Publisher Hank Kanalz in an official press statement. “I’m a big fan of P. Craig Russell’s work and have his previous opera adaptations. So, what started as a purchase for my private collection became a publishing partnership with Arizona Opera for the book itself.”

The graphic novel emerged from Arizona Opera’s OnPitch Business Challenge, created in association with ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the W. P. Carey School of Business, and Arizona Opera’s Funding Innovations Task Force. Funding OnPitch was made possible by an Innovation Grant from OPERA America.

“It is a thrill for Arizona Opera to share the work of this remarkable team of artists through the graphic novel format and the timeless story of “Carmen.” Throughout the pandemic, our company constantly pursued novel approaches to connecting people through opera when people need art and meaning the most. “Carmen: The Graphic Novel” represents an amazing opportunity to extend that focus on innovation, impact, and community,” said Joseph Specter, Arizona Opera’s President, and General Director, in the press statement.”