"Best Opera Company in Los Angeles" - LA Weekly 2018
Pacific Opera Project was founded in July of 2011 with the purpose of bringing accessible, affordable, and ENTERTAINING opera to audiences across Los Angeles. Since that time, POP has produced over 35 fully staged operas in venues as diverse as Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale to the Ford Ampitheatre in Hollywood. To hear an in-depth interview about the founding and mission of POP, click here.
Mission Statement: To provide quality opera that is innovative, affordable, and entertaining in order to build a broader audience.
Vision Statement: In the future, opera will become a greater part of popular culture, as we develop a larger local community of opera lovers and launch the careers of opera makers.
Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Diversity Statement:
We define diversity parameters as: Age, Income, Race, Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, Gender, Disability Status. Geographic location applies to the Audience only. View our full Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Diversity Statement here.
Pacific Opera Project Biography
Founded in 2011 by Artistic Director Josh Shaw and Music Director Stephen Karr, Los Angeles’s Pacific Opera Project (POP) is dedicated to providing quality opera that is innovative, affordable, and entertaining in order to build a broader audience for the art form. LA Magazine writes “If you think you hate opera, you’ve probably never seen a Pacific Opera Project show.” POP’s regularly sold out performances take place in a wide variety of venues, from outdoors, to small clubs, big amphitheatres, and warehouses. LA Weekly named POP the “Best Opera Company in Los Angeles” in 2018, writing “making opera cool, affordable, accessible and enticing to young audiences is easier said than done. It’s also something every opera company in the country is trying desperately to do… [Pacific Opera Project] is not trying desperately to be hip. It just is.” In 2020, POP was awarded The American Prize in Opera Performance.
POP has presented more than 30 innovative new productions to date, including its critically acclaimed version of Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio set as an episode of Star Trek; a “fan-tastic” (LA Daily News) Harajuku-themed Mikado; a Dick Tracy Don Giovanni; a Magic Flute inspired by 1990s video games, called “one of the freshest takes on Mozart’s 1791 classic I have come across” (Operawire); and many more. POP’s signature take on Puccini’s La bohème, “AKA The Hipsters,” set in modern day Los Angeles, has become a holiday tradition, returning year after year to sold-out audiences and called “riotous” (LA Weekly) and “an undeniably fun night at the theater that should not be missed” (Stage Raw). POP gave the world premiere of Brooke deRosa’s The Monkey's Paw in 2017 and plans to perform the United States premiere of Vivaldi's Ercole su'l Termodonte in winter 2020.
In 2019, POP presented its most ambitious project to date: the first ever true-to-story bilingual Madama Butterfly performed in LA’s Little Tokyo. A co-production with Houston’s Opera in the Heights, the production featured a new libretto written by POP Artistic Director Josh Shaw and Opera in the Heights Artistic Director Eiki Isomura, presenting Puccini’s story as if it actually happened and attempting to answer the question: “How would Butterfly and Pinkerton communicate?” All Japanese roles were sung in Japanese by Japanese-American artists and all American roles were sung in English. San Francisco Classical Voice described the production as “on a visual scale beyond anything it has taken on before – a sumptuously costumed, fully staged, bilingual co-production... Pacific Opera Project deserves a great deal of credit for making this concept into a reality… innovative, creative, and immensely successful.”
POP presented the 2018 west coast premiere of Giacomo Rossini’s rarely performed 1816 opera, La gazzetta “The Newspaper.” The first performances in the US were given in Boston at the New England Conservatory in 2013, and POP's production was only the second in North America. Opera Today raved about the premiere, writing “Director Josh Shaw has invested the proceedings with enough good comic ideas for at least three productions. Shaw has set the show in 1960’s Paris, with eye-popping set elements and brilliant uses of color which add to the manic feel...Mr. Shaw has fashioned a take-no-prisoners approach to the staging, which was rife with clever touches… Pacific Opera Project has evidently hit on a winning formula for a night out, serving up food, drink and an operatic discovery in equal measure.”
POP has been dedicated to reaching young audiences with performance and education since its inception, regularly performing for school-aged groups in family-friendly productions of The Mikado, The Barber of Seville, Sweeney Todd, Cosi fan tutte, Gianni Schicchi, L'enfant et les sortilèges, and La bohème. POP has ongoing internships with Occidental College and collaborates with their Glee Club every other year, as well as internships with The Waverly School and Orange County School of the Arts. POP also partners with the Burbank Boys and Girls Club. During the COVID-19 pandemic, POP created interactive Education Packs appropriate for kindergarten to eighth grade students to accompany videos of POP’s productions of The Magic Flute and Madama Butterfly.