Josh Shaw - Director/Designer/LibrettistEiki Isomura - Conductor/LibrettistNaoko Suga - Chorus MasterSueko Oshimoto - Costume Designer

Saturday April  6  7:00 PM

Saturday April  13  7:00 PM

Sunday   April  14  2:00 PM



So what if... what if a brash American naval officer and a young Japanese girl met and fell in love? How would they communicate? (Certainly not in Italian!) In POP’s most ambitous  production to date, Artistic Director Josh Shaw’s long-time dream of a bilingual Madama Butterfly comes to life at The Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo. With a new libretto by Josh Shaw and Eiki Isomura, all Japanese roles will be sung in Japanese (by Japanese-American artists) and all American roles will be sung in English. This is a co-production with Opera in the Heights (Houston). This production is sponsored in part by an Innovations Grant from Opera America.


Advisory Committee:  Snehal Desai (East West Players), Shigemi Matsumoto (USC, CSLB, CSNR), Doug Cooney (Diversity in American Theater), and Padraic Costello (Ethnomusicologist). 

Community Engagement Manager:  Yumi Mizui.

もし…もし明治時代に、アメリカ海軍士官が日本人の少女と出会い、恋に落ちたとしたら…二人はいったいどうやって会話を…?(どう考えてもイタリア語を使ったはずは無いでしょう。) POP史上最も大胆なプロジェクト、芸術監督Josh Shawの長年の夢、プッチーニの「蝶々夫人」のバイリンガル演出がLittle TokyoのAratani Theatreで開幕される。日本人キャラは日系アメリカ人歌手が日本語で演じ、アメリカ人キャラはアメリカ人歌手が英語で演じます。公演は英語と日本語 両方の字幕を表示して行われます。ヒューストンのOpera in the Heightsとの共同作であるこのプロダクションはフルの演出、衣装、オーケストラと合唱団を用いて上演されます。

This production is sponsored in part by a Innovations grant from Opera America and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and supported by The Japan Foundation of Los Angeles. 

Makeup for this production is generously sponsored by Star of the Color, Kaori Nara Turner.



Josh Shaw (Director/Designer/Librettist)  One of Musical America’s Top 30 Innovators in Classical Music in 2016, Josh Shaw is the Executive and Artistic Director of Pacific Opera Project, a Los Angeles based company dedicated to presenting accessible, affordable, and ENTERTAINING opera.  Over the past eight seasons, he has directed over 30 productions at POP including The Rake’s Progress, Ariadne auf Naxos, La calisto, Tosca: A Moving Production, and La boheme: AKA “The Hipsters”. Mr. Shaw’s reimagining of Die Entführung aus dem Serail as an episode of Star Trek has gained national attention and has been produced by eight companies selling out houses with record-breaking numbers. Since turning his attention to directing in 2011, he has directed over 70 productions at companies including Opera Santa Barbara, New Orleans Opera, The Southern Illinois Music Festival, Opera Neo, Alamo City Opera, Queen City Opera, Opera Orlando, and Salt Marsh Opera. 

2018 began with Mr. Shaw’s debut at New Orleans Opera, directing Tabasco: A Burlesque Opera, a newly rediscovered operetta by G. W. Chadwick, last performed in 1894. Mr. Shaw also wrote a new book and additional lyrics for the project which celebrated the McIlhenney Company’s 150th anniversary. Other 2018 engagements included productions of Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Giovanni, La gazzetta(Rossini), La traviata, Die Zauberflöte, and Carmen. In addition to the rewrite of Tabasco and the new book and lyrics for Abduction from the Seraglio, Mr. Shaw has written several English version librettos for operas including a Wild West setting of Die Lustige Witwe, a contemporary setting of Die Schauspieldirektor, and The Magic Flute, which set the show in the worlds of Mario Bros. and Zelda.  His most ambitious production to date is the bilingual Madama Butterfly, which is enjoying national support from the NEA and Opera America.  Other upcoming productions include Il trovatore at The Southern Illinois Music Festival, Gianni Schicchi at Opera Columbus, I pagliacci at Salt Marsh Opera, and Le Docteur Miracle at Opera Santa Barbara.  More details at joshshaw.org.

Eiki Isomura (Opera in the Heights Artistic Director, Conductor, Librettist)   Japanese-American conductor Eiki Isomura is in his second season as artistic director and principal conductor of Opera in the Heights (OH), where he has led over seventy performances of over fifteen operas, drawing consistent praise for elevating the company's performance standard. "The orchestra has never sounded so focused," wrote the Houston Press, "Down the line, this is ensemble playing of fine caliber... The OH chorus is ultra-fine, too, smooth and lustrous... Maestro Isomura deserves our thanks."  In recent years he has served on the music staff of Opera in the Ozarks as conductor and pianist, as well as HGOco, preparing the premieres of numerous chamber operas for Houston Grand Opera. Prior to his appointment as artistic director at OH, Eiki served as director of orchestral activities at Lone Star College-Montgomery.  Eiki holds a doctorate in orchestral conducting from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Kenneth Kiesler, who also mentored him as a conducting fellow at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa to work with the NAC Orchestra. Eiki's conducting teachers also include Thomas Cockrell, Colin Metters, Gustav Meier, and Mark Gibson.  He resides in Houston with his wife and most trusted collaborator, mezzo-soprano, Monica Isomura, and their 1 year-old, Edison.

Naoko Suga (Chorus Master)   Ms. Suga has worked as a vocal coach/repetiture with Kentucky Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and the Boulder Opera Company.  She has worked under such conductors as Steven Crawford, Richard Buckley, Joseph Mechavich, and Kelly Kuo. She has served as music director for Opera Iowa, music staff in Des Moines Metro Opera’s 2011 festival season, Opera in the Ozarks, and the Land of Enchantment Opera Institute. Ms. Suga has also served as a staff member at the University of Colorado Boulder where her responsibilities included playing for lessons, recitals, opera rehearsals, and coaching singers.  After moving to Los Angeles, she has been involved in many Japanese community projects, including the American premier of Hideaki Hirai's opera, Kaguya Hime, at the Aratani Theater in Little Tokyo (2015). In 2016 she was appointed as the Chorus Master for Orange County Friendship Choir's collaboration with the LADoctor's Symphony's performance of Brahms' Deutsches Requiem.  In addition to her private music studio in the Covina Valley and theSouthbay area, she directs the LA Oratorio Chorus, her women’s ensemble Voice Lab, and the South Bay Singers.

Sueko Oshimoto (Costume Designer)  Known for her innovative costume design in the futuristic, classic, and fantasy genres, her imaginative use of unconventional materials, and infinite eye for detail, the work of Sueko Oshimoto has been featured in award-winning fashion film, television, and international magazines such as VOGUE Italia, VOGUE Germany and L’OFFICIEL India. Her powerful use of color to tell stories on screen and the combination of exaggerated proportions in silhouette with a couture fashion edge has quickly become her trademark. Throughout the years, Sueko has designed dresses for celebrities such as Miranda Kerr, Carmen Electra, and Gwen Stefani.  Her background consists of academic studies in Japanese culture, architecture, flower arrangement, color consultation, and over 22 years as a kimono master.  For multiple years since 2013, Sueko designed Miss Universe Japan national costumes which won her 5th Prize in the National Costume category. Her work as a costume designer in film has recently caught the eye of some of Hollywood’s most noted film directors.  She is a member of the Costume Designers Guild/IATSE 892 and is the owner of KIMONO SK, a costume house specializing in Japanese kimono.  She is based in L.A. and Japan.  www.suekooshimoto.com

Keiko Clark (Cho-Cho-san)   Keiko Clark, soprano, has thrilled audiences across the globe with a voice remarkably pure and clear, and a stage presence fresh and engaging. From performing the most demanding operatic roles, to an emotional rendition of the U.S. National Anthem at Dodger Stadium, Ms. Clark takes command of her stage with a warmth and generosity of spirit that audiences take to heart.

Ms. Clark’s repertoire includes the title roles of Juliette, in Roméo et Juliette, and Lucia, in Lucia di Lammermoor. She has performed the lead roles of Constanza and Blonde, in The Abduction from the Seraglio, Norina, in Don Pasquale, and Madame Goldentrill in The Impresario. She has performed multiple renditions of the menacing Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute with Riverside Lyric Opera, Repertory Opera, Pasadena Lyric Opera, Bakersfield Symphony, Pacific Palisade Symphony and USC Thornton Opera.  A native of Tokyo, Japan, Ms. Clark trained under a scholarship with legendary tenor Carlo Bergonzi. She holds a Masters of Music degree in Vocal Arts from the University of Southern California, a Bachelors degree in Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory in Boston, as well as a teaching credential in music from Cal State Long Beach, Calif. In addition to her live performances, Ms. Clark has worked as adjunct instructor at Loyola Marymount University, co-founded a youth choir at The Church of Jesus Christ the Latter Day Saints and currently works as the choral director and theatre director for North Torrance High School.

Peter Lake (B. F. Pinkerton)   Peter Lake is an internationally performing tenor who in the summer of 2018 made his role debut as Faust in Natchez Festival of Music’s production of Faust, and sang Pang in Mississippi Opera’s Turandot.  In August, he performed as a Festival Artist for the Savannah Voice Festival in multiple concerts and covered Alfredo while singing Gastone in La traviata.  In March of 2018, he was invited to perform as a soloist on the Sherrill Milnes Gala Honoring Denyce Graves, and in February he performed the role of Don José in a condensed Carmen for the Mobile Opera Gala.  In 2017 as a Resident Artist for Opera North Peter made his role and house debut as Paris in La belle Hélène where www.vnews.com reviewed him as “…relatably earnest, and his voice carries a lush, warm timbre.”  In December 2017 Peter was invited to China to perform a series of American Art song recitals where he sang selections by Samuel Barber, Rorem, Ives, and Foster at several prestigious universities including Central Conservatory of Music and Shandong University.  In May 2019 Peter will return to Natchez to sing Rodolfo in their production of La bohème, and then to Savannah Opera in August to perform in Forever Plaid.

Kenneth Stavert (Sharpless)   Praised for his strong “sense of theatricality,” Baritone Kenneth Stavert has performed on operatic, concert and recital stages throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Some of his recent highlights include Silvio in Pagliacci, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, and Ping in Turandot (Dayton Opera), Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos (Palm Beach Opera), Yamadori in Madama Butterfly (Santa Fe Opera) and Renato in Un ballo in maschera (Opera in the Heights).  Kenneth’s orchestral credits include Berlioz’s Lélio, Fauré’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore. He has also been a featured recitalist throughout the United States specializing in less performed English art song.  Upcoming engagements for Kenneth include a return to Dayton Opera where he will perform Marcello in La bohème.

Kimberly Sogioka (Suzuki)   Praised by Opera (UK) as “...the most opulent female sound on the stage...” young mezzo-soprano Kimberly Sogioka is drawing much attention as an exciting artist on opera and concert stages. This season, Kim performs Nicklausse in Les Contes d'Hoffmann with Opera Orlando, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Opera in the Heights and Pacific Opera Project, and as a soloist in concerts in St. John's of Lattingtown and with the Whatcom Chorale.  Last season, Ms. Sogioka sang in Symphony Silicon Valley’s Misa Tango concert, which explored the style of the Argentine tango in the form of large scale orchestral compositions as opposed to its origins as dance music, and as a soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.  Additional recent engagements include Carmen in scenes from Carmen with the Metropolitan Opera Guild, workshops of Bruce Wolosoff’s The Great Good Thing and Sarah Mattox’s Heart Mountain, Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Grand Rapids, and productions with Michigan Opera Theater as Siébel in Faust and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, which she also performed with Northern Lights Music Festival. She also performed the role of Stephano in Roméo et Juliette with Opera Tampa as well as in a new co-production with Opera Carolina, Virginia Opera, Toledo Opera, Lyric Opera Baltimore, and Opera Grand Rapids.

Eiji Miura (Goro)   Japanese-American tenor Eiji Miura, a San Francisco native, is an active and sought-after Boston-based singer and educator. As a performer, Miura regularly appears in concerts, operas, musicals, and in the sacred music scene in and around the Boston area, and also records vocals for video game soundtracks. In addition to his active performing career, he holds faculty positions at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has previously taught at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School and Clark University (Worcester, MA). Miura earned is M.M. in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the Boston Conservatory.

Hisato Masuyama (Bonze)   Hisato Masuyama was originally raised in Tokyo, Japan.  At 18, he came to the US and earned his BM in vocal arts and music education from USC.  Always loving the theatre, his opera debut was as Ping in Turandot.  His other credits include: tour- 42nd Street w/ Marietta Hartley, Mame w/ Juliet Prowse, Pacific Overtures w/ Mako.  Japan Broadway productions: Chicago, as Mary Sunshine, Phantom, Tommy. Other favorites include: Dreamgirls, Anything Goes, The Student Prince, Rumors, The Music Man, The Producers.  As translator/ voice over: Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Sesame Place. Also a counter tenor, he has toured all over Japan in concert. Dedicated to Todd Ball.

Steve Moritsugu (Prince Yamadori)   Steve Moritsugu is thrilled to make his debut with POP. His previous tenor roles include Verdi (Alfredo, Don Carlo, Dr Caius, Gastone, Manrico, Otello, Radames), Puccini (Cavaradossi, Pinkerton, Rodolfo), Rossini (Almaviva, Prince Ramiro), Mozart (Don Ottavio, Monostatos, Tamino) and Tybalt, El Remandado, and Mayor Upfold with LA Metropolitan Opera, Repertory Opera, Vineyard Touring Opera, Intimate Opera, Long Beach Opera chorus and as soloist with several symphony orchestras. He sang the role in Japanese of Middle Counselor Chunagon in the US premiere of the opera Kaguya-Hime by Hideaki Hirai at the Aratani Theatre. He studies voice with MET baritone Richard Fredricks in LA.

Chelsea Obermeier (Kate Pinkerton)   Chelsea is so excited to be joining POP for this groundbreaking production of Madama Butterfly.  Chelsea has performed throughout the US both professionally and in her studies.  A native of Nebraska, Chelsea has performed with Opera Omaha singing the Dog in the Hans Krása’s Brundibár, at the Ralston Theatre as Tuptim in The King and I, and with the University of Nebraska Opera Theatre as Nancy in Britten’s Albert Herring.  She has also participated as a young artist with Opera Carolina’s OperaXpress educational outreach program, singing the Tortoise in the Tortoise and the Hare set to the music of Rossini.  Additionally, she has trained as a young artist with the CoOPERAtive Program and the Crittenden Opera Workshop.  During her time in California, Chelsea joined POP in their 2018 season in the chorus of Carmen at the Ford Amphitheatre and also Don Giovanni.  Chelsea holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master of Music degree from Temple University in Philadelphia.

Norge Yip (Imperial Commissioner)   Norge Yip is honored to return to the opera stage in his first Pacific Opera Project appearance. He has been a featured soloist with Southeast Symphony, San Fernando Valley Master Chorale, Burbank Chorale, San Gabriel Valley Choral Company, University Campus Choir, and Claremont Chorale. He has been involved in many ensembles throughout Southern California as well as recordings for albums, video game and movie soundtracks, studio demos, and premiere performances for composers such as William V. Malpede, Joe Giarrusso, Michael Pawlicki, David Avshalomov, Ken Neufeld, Mark Brymer, Eric Whitacre, David Troy Francis, and Morten Lauridsen. He has toured internationally and performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Carnegie Hall, St. Peter's in London, St. Patrick's in Dublin, and many of the chateaux throughout the Loire Valley in France. Norge has been seen most recently on stage as Caiaphas in Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Dungeon Master in Comic-Con: The Musical: The Workshop, and on television on Chris Hardwick's @midnight and on Masters of Illusion. Previous stage credits include performances with The Society of Revolutionary Operettists, El Dorado Opera, Lyric Opera of Los Angeles, Long Beach Opera, Emerald Opera Festival, La Bella Voce Opera, and Los Angeles Opera Orchestra.

Takuya Matsumoto (Registrar)     Takuya Matsumoto is a classically trained theatre actor following the Russian/British traditions. He has been in Los Angeles for five years after London, Paris, Boston, and Tokyo where he is originally from.  His theatre credits include: Tartuffe (Orgon), Marriage (Podkolyosin), The Government Inspector (Luka Lukich Khlopov), Macbeth (Ross), The Fifteen Minute Hamlet (Hamlet), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Egeus), Fame the Musical (Mr Myers).  His TV/film credits include: 'Me, Myself, and I', Angie Tribeca, Johnny English, Murphy’s Law, Der gestohlene Mond. He had a fun experience when he coached Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) a one-liner in Japanese.
He met opera when Plácido Domingo was in Tokyo in 2010 leading Arena di Verona. What was going to be a small job turned out to be an encounter with passion through witnessing a grand master at work on and behind the stage. Since then he has been in productions of Aida, Turandot, Così fan tutte, L’elisir d’amore, and The Telephone as a singer.  Takuya speaks five languages and currently he is learning Russian.

Janet Todd (Cho-Cho-san cover)   Janet Todd is an Australian soprano based in Los Angeles. She recently completed her Master of Music at the Manhattan School of Music in New York where she performed roles including Cecile in Conrad Susa’s Dangerous Liaisons, Konstanze in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Noemie in Massenet’s Cendrillon and Angelica in new work The Leopard with New York Opera Projects. Other New York highlights include soprano soloist in both Mozart’s C Minor Mass, and Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand in a collaboration with MSM and the New York Oratorio Society.  In 2018 Janet performed Cho-Cho-san in Madama Butterfly with Opera Columbus, she was the soprano soloist in Bach’s B Minor Mass with The Sydney Philharmonia, soloist in the Messiah with Perth Symphonic Chorus, performed recitals with Melbourne's Peninsula Summer Music Festival, and performed a leading role in the Los Angeles premier of Mark Lanz Weiser’s opera The Place Where You Started.  In her home country, Janet has performed with several major companies including Opera Australia (Pamina, The Magic Flute; Zerlina, Don Giovanni; Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni), Victorian Opera (Pamina, The Magic Flute; Sophie, Der Rosenkavalier; The Prince in Cinderella (Gill), Liesgen in Bach’s Coffee Cantata), Pinchgut Opera, Sydney (Miss Hawk in Salieri’s The Chimney Sweep, and Zelmira in Haydn’s Armida, Canberra’s Handel in the Theatre (Esther Esther, Iole Hercules), The Production Company, Melbourne State Theatre (Marsinah in Kismet). Janet has also appeared as a soprano soloist for productions with The Australian Ballet.