September 1, 2018
The Ford Amphitheater
2580 Cahuenga Blvd E, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Sung in French with English supertitles.
Directed and Designed by Josh Shaw
Conducted by Michael Powers
Choreographed by Amy Lawrence
Fight Choreographers Aubrey Trujillo-Scarr and Elias Scarr
Chorus Master Katherine Powers
Children's Chorus Director Sarah Salazar
Costumed by Maggie Green
Lighting by Dan Weingarten
The Ford Amphitheater
POP returns to the newly renovated Ford Amphitheater for a thrilling production of Carmen! Following the tremendous success of Abduction from the Seraglio in 2016, POP will once again join forces with The Ford Theaters to put on an amazing, outdoor production for POP's largest audience yet!
Maria Dominique Lopez
Jessica Berns-Garner, Rana Ebrahimi, Natalia Ferreiro, Mallory Gantner, Shannon Gray, Isabella Luchi, Jenna Jacobson, Ali Johnson, Samantha Lawrence, Christine Li, Jill Redding, Sarah Salazar, Ashley Stanbury, Rosa Beltran, Devi Bhatti, Jessica Brusilow Rollins, Eleen Hsu-Wentlandt, Jessica Gonzalez-Rodriguez, Aubrey Hawkins, Genie Hossain, Sherry Hutson, Katherine Naffie, Chelsea Obermeier, Cynthia Nitrini Stary, Tzytle Steinman, Manfred Anaya, Bruce Anderson, Steven Cornett, Michael Cruz, Jonathan Lacayo, Brandon Mautz, Patrick Putnam, Chance Robles, Todd Szabo, David Fetterman, Colin Gibson, Patrick Hare, David Hobbs, Micheal Grady, Kyril Kasimoff, Jefferson Lanz, Paul Junger, Stephen Oey, Raul Valdez-Parea
Oliver Bruns, Charlie Butler, Marlo Butler, Ella Ebrahimian, Isaiah Ebrahimian, Talia Isaacs, Samantha Kayne, Rowan Lee, Ruby Ryan, Robert Simpson, Olivia Vanek, Zoey Zook
Michael Powers (Music Director) - A native Californian, Michael Christ Powers is an ambassador and advocate for music and its transformative and uplifting power in the lives of all people. As a professional musician, talented educator and inspiring conductor, he has dedicated his career to connecting with students, musicians, and audiences through the medium of music. Described as “born to conduct…Powers has a special gift of creation, a unique and true version of each and every piece played.”
Michael was recently appointed as the Music Director of the New Valley Symphony who celebrates its 50th season serving the Los Angeles community this year. In his extensive career, Michael has led concerts in three continents with ensembles including the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Manhattan Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, North Shore Symphony, South Shore Philharmonic, and Manhattan School of Music Chamber Sinfonia. He is in demand as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, private teacher, and lecturer.
Michael has been an ambassador and advocate of music in his community through his collaborations with the USC Thornton School of Music, The Juilliard School MAP Orchestra, Crossroads School of the Arts, Harmony Project, Los Angeles City College, Pasadena City College, American Youth Symphony, Colburn School, YMF Debut Orchestra and many others.
Outside of conducting and teaching, Michael enjoys running on the roads and trails of Griffith Park and an occasional round of golf. Together with his wife, opera singer Katherine Powers, he also explores the many and fascinating neighborhoods of LA and their excellent restaurants, museums, culture, and architecture. For Michael, Los Angeles proves itself to be a catalyst and center for art in all its forms and continues to be a daily inspiration for his work and life as an Angeleno.
Amy Alexandra Lawrence (Choreographer) - This production of Carmen marks Amy’s fifth opera choreographing for POP having previously choreographed La gazzetta, L’elisir d'amore, The Merry Widder and its first production of Carmen in 2014. Amy had the opportunity to work with Josh Shaw and New Orleans Opera this past January in their production of Tabasco, A Burlesque Opera. Amy’s work has also been showcased in Opera Neo’s The Merry Widow and in Dido and Aeneas at Azusa Pacific University. Amy’s dance background is rooted in ballet, jazz and ballroom and she has taught dance in Boston, New York and Los Angeles since 2007. Amy is also a professional singer with vocal arts degrees from The Boston Conservatory and USC. With POP, Amy has performed Blondie the Turkish Grisette in The Merry Widder, Luiga in Viva la mamma!, Eternita in La calisto and Frasquita (cover)/Lead dancer for Carmen.
Milena Gligic (Accompanist)
- Milena Gligic is a pianist, vocal coach and singer from Belgrade, Serbia. She is a recent alumna of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at LA Opera, where she helped prepare several main stage productions involving Placido Domingo and James Conlon. She also collaborated with LA Phil and Gustavo Dudamel, and with The Industry and Yuval Sharon. She holds a Doctorate in Collaborative Piano from University of Maryland. Milena is a member of Contemporaneous ensemble in NYC, with whom she has been premiering new works for several years. As a singer, she recently appeared as a soloist in several concerts with the American Bach Soloists Academy in San Francisco, as well as at Narnia Festival in Italy. She is also a dancer of Balkan Folk and she performs with a Bulgarian ensemble Xorotroptzi.
Elias & Aubrey Scarr (Fight Choreographers) - Elias Scarr and Aubrey Trujillo-Scarr have been writing fight sequences together for several years. They are thrilled to be joining Pacific Opera Project again! Trained martial artists, theater combatants and swashbucklers, they write fights for many weapons and styles. Credits include Carmen, Abduction from the Seraglio, and Lucia di Lammermoor (Pacific Opera Project), Carmen and The Crucible 2019 (Opera Santa Barbara), Carmen (Opera San Jose) and Così fan tutte (Pasadena Opera).
Nora Graham-Smith (Carmen) - Internationally acclaimed opera and musical theater cross-over Mezzo-Soprano, Nora Graham-Smith is delighted to perform the title role in Pacific Opera Project’s “Carmen,” having performed the Spanish gypsy under the baton of Maestro Lorin Maazel in Maryland and Virginia, with POP in 2013, and in Mississippi. A prolific cross-over artist, Nora’s recent turn as Nellie Forbush in Annapolis Opera’s “South Pacific,” was hailed by The Baltimore Sun as “an absolute pro with a bravura talent,” and her Julie LaVerne in “Show Boat” with Utah Festival Opera was lauded as the “emotional and technical highlight of the production.” Nora has performed the world over with Opera Theatre d’Avignon (France), Royal Opera House of Muscat (Oman) Fondazione Teatro Petruzzelli (Bari, Italy), Szeged Opera (Hungary), Kungliga Operan (Stockholm, Sweden), Cincinnati Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Syracuse Opera, Toledo Opera, Aspen Opera Theater. Nora wishes to thank Josh Shaw for being the coolest cat in the opera game, and her beloved surrogate family, the Wilanders. Please visit
Dane Suarez (Don José) - Lauded for his “warm and robust tenore spinto” and “pure earth-shaking lyricism,” Dane Suarez is in high demand for his “golden throated” tenor. He sang on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera as a 2014 National Semi-Finalist of the Met Auditions and made his Kennedy Center debut in 2015 with Washington National Opera as Ely Parker in Glass’s Appomattox. Last season, Suarez made his New York City Opera debut in his "completely winning" performance as Joe in La fanciulla del West and joined Opera San José as a resident artist where he debuted the roles of Ruggero (La rondine), Erik (Der fliegende Holländer), and Alfredo where Opera Today noted his performance as "perhaps the most effortlessly boyish Alfredo I have yet seen." Suarez first came to POP for last season’s La bohème AKA: "The Hipsters" as Rodolfo, where the Act I duet was described as "a transfixing moment of sublime beauty". For summer 2018, he debuts the Title Role in Idomeneo at Opera NEO and performs concerts with Livermore Valley Opera. Next season, Suarez returns to Opera San José debuting the roles of Pinkerton, Greenhorn (Moby-Dick), and Canio. He also returns to POP reprising his Rodolfo, alongside fiancée Kerriann Otaño in her role debut as Mimì.
Babatunde Akinboboye (Escamillo) - A singer of diverse talents, Nigerian American Baritone, Babatunde Akinboboye is known for his enthralling stage presence and is excited to perform the role of Escamillo with Pacific Opera Project again. He has performed with the Los Angeles Opera, Opera Theatre St. Louis, Utah Opera, Opera San Jose, and Long Beach opera. His most recent performances include Daggoo in Utah Opera’s Moby Dick and Private Manny Davis in Opera Theatre St. Louis’ world premiere of An American Soldier. Mr. Akinboboye has also had the pleasure of headlining the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry awards in Lagos, Nigeria performing a fusion of opera and traditional African music. Babatunde’s honors include Regional Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition, and finalist in the International Eisteddfod Vocal Solo Competition in Llangollen, Wales.
Aubrey Trujillo-Scarr (Micaela) - Aubrey is thrilled to return to Pacific Opera Project and work with this incredibly talented cast in the role of Micaela! She's also excited to team up with her husband Elias to create exhilarating fight sequences for this incredible production of Carmen. At home both on stage and camera, Aubrey is a multi-passionate performing artist. Her credits include Carmen, Abduction from the Seraglio, Lucia di Lammermoor, The Mikado (Pacific Opera Project), Master Class (The Garry Marshall Theatre)(The Jewel Theater), The Women (Group Rep Theater), Carmen, La rondine (Opera Santa Barbara), Cosí fan tutte, Candide (Pasadena Opera) Roméo et Juliette, Madama Butterfly (Center Stage Opera), I pagliacci (Celestial Opera Company), and Carmen (Opera San Jose). She is a proud cast member of LA Opera's Education and Community Outreach Department and will join them again in 2019. Off stage, you’ll see her in shorts films such as Reco’s Magic, Nightwalkers. Please take off your shoes and the quirky web-series parody “Superheroes in Therapy.” Aubrey enjoys working behind the scenes as fight director, choreographer, and swashbuckler for several west coast companies. Learn more at aubreyscarr.com.
Katherine Powers (Frasquita) - Lauded as “smart singer” with a “gorgeous, clear lyric soprano voice” (Operaworld.com), soprano Katherine Powers (formerly Katherine Giaquinto) is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and began her performing career as a professional actress in Canadian film and television. Katherine made a splash with LA Opera’s 2015 Figaro Unbound series when she stepped in with less than two weeks notice for the role of Rosina in Paisiello’s Il barbiere di Siviglia under the baton of Maestro James Conlon. This past season she joined Maestro Conlon in the principle cast of Jonah and the Whale, LA Opera's annual community opera at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. She made her LA Opera debut in 2015 in the Grammy Award-winning production of The Ghosts of Versailles. In 2014, Katherine sang Stella in a critically-acclaimed production of Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire with Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis. Previous roles also include the Prima Donna in Donizetti’s Viva la mamma, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Musetta in La bohème and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, all with Pacific Opera Project. Other previous roles include Alice in Falstaff, Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Pamina in Die Zauberflöte; and the title role in The Merry Widow. From 2016-2018 she joined Long Beach Opera as one of their Company Artists, for which she performed the one-woman opera The Diary of Anne Frank. In addition to standard operatic repertoire, Katherine has become a go-to singer in the contemporary music scene, and she continues to cultivate relationships with living composers. Katherine is the founding Director of Vocal Arts at California School of the Arts - San Gabriel Valley. She received her Master of Music degree from CCM, and her Bachelor of Arts in Music from UCLA. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, conductor Michael Christ Powers.
Maria Dominique Lopez (Mercedes) - Praised for “a vocal instrument of exceptional beauty, range, and flexibility” and “innate artistry”, mezzo soprano Maria Dominique Lopez has sung operatic roles and symphonic works throughout the United States and Europe, in addition to recording vocals in the US and Canada for independent films and major motion pictures (most recently, Golden Globe and Academy Award Wining Disney/Pixar film, “Coco”). In 2014 Ms. Lopez performed with Houston Grand Opera: Opera to Go!outreach program, and in 2015 she made her mainstage debut in Arizona Opera’s production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Dritte Dame), followed by debuts with The Phoenix Symphony singing Vaughan Williams’ Magnificat and with Resonance Works / Pittsburgh in de Falla’s El Amor Brujo. She then returned to Arizona Opera for the US premiere of Kálmán’s Arizona Lady (Bonita), and in late 2015 she joined Opera Memphis in their production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Third Lady). In 2017, Ms. Lopez starred as Madam Flora in Pacific Opera Project’s production of Menotti’s The Medium to great acclaim. 2018 projects include Mark Weiser’s “The Place Where You Started” in its LA Premiere, and Menotti’s “The Boy Who Grew Too Fast” with South Coast Opera. A native Arizonan, Maria now lives in Huntington Beach, California, and studies with renown Broadway and Operatic voice teacher, Eric Fütterer. www.mariadominiquelopez.com
Derrell Acon (Zuniga) - Bass-baritone Derrell Acon is a uniquely accomplished performer whose repertoire ranges from the comic to the tragic and even the sensual. In 2018, Mr. Acon makes a series of joint role and company debuts: Escamillo in Opera Ithaca's Carmen, Rocco in Heartbeat Opera's Fidelio, and Monsù Traversen in Pacific Opera Project's production of Rossini's rarely-heard charmer La gazzetta. He has also recently debuted at Semperoper Dresden, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Deutsches Theater München, Kölner Philharmonie, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Haifa Congress Center, Tel-Aviv Charles Bronfman Hall, and Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari. Mr. Acon is a persuasive advocate for American opera of the 20th and 21st centuries, having developed, covered, and performed roles in Blanchard and Christofer's Champion and Glass' Appomattox. He has fulfilled young artist residencies with the Glimmerglass Festival, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, La Musica Lirica International Festival, Opera North, Music Academy of the West, Chautauqua Music Festival, and the Wesley Balk Opera/Music-Theater Institute.
Luvi Avendano (Morales) - is an active singer, conductor and educator in Southern California. Recent engagements include mainstage roles with Opera Santa Barbara, National Opera Association, and the California Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Mr. Avendano has performed several leading roles with regional companies such as Pacific Opera Project, Center Stage Opera, Opera Tijuana and Opera in the Ozarks, credits include Giorgio Germont in La Traviata, Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, Dr. Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, Escamillo in Carmen, Marcello in La Boheme, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte, Don Giovanni and Masetto in Don Giovanni and many others. Luvi Avendano is currently completing his DMA at University of California Santa Barbara, under the direction of Dr. Linda Di Fiore.
William Grundler (Remendado) - Los Angeles-based tenor, composer, and conductor William Grundler is thrilled to return to Pacific Opera Project to perform the role of Remendado. William’s previous roles with POP include Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Herbert in the world premiere of The Monkey’s Paw. Other recent roles include Dr S. in Pasadena Opera's The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Spoletta in Sacramento Opera’s Tosca, The Governor and Vanderdendur in Angel Vocal Art’s Candide, and Poponel in South Coast Opera’s The Boy Who Grew Too Fast. This fall, in addition to making his Long Beach Opera debut in Three Tales, William will return to POP to sing Gastone in La traviata and reprise his performance as Benoit/Parpignol/Alcindoro in La bohème AKA The Hipsters.
Never been to The Ford?
It is awesome. And totally POP. Click the picture above to go to The Ford Website to learn more. Picture an intimate Hollywood Bowl (with better parking). Bring your own picnic, wine, and beer or buy it at the venue. Come early and enjoy the sunset on one of the newly renovated terraces and then watch Carmen with 1180 other crazy POP fanatics.