AKA "The Hipsters"
POP’s trademark production is now a holiday tradition. The Hipsters will once again descend on Highland Park to bring Puccini’s most popular opera from 1830s Paris to 2019 Los Angeles. What new twists and updates will this production have? It’s too early to say, but rest assured up to the minute references, digs, and jokes will pop up throughout the show. If you’ve never seen this hit production, you don’t know what you’re missing. If you’ve seen it before, come see what the new class of hipsters has to offer in 2019.
Janet Szepei Todd
Orson Van Gay
Maria Dominique Lopez
E. Scott Levin
Dec 11, 13, 14
Friday December 6 8pm
Saturday December 7 8pm
Wednesday December 11 8pm
Friday December 13 8pm
Saturday December 14 8pm
The Highland Park Ebell Club
131 S. Ave 57
Los Angeles, CA 90042
Premium Table for two $90
Premium Table for four $180
food, bottle of wine, and cushioned seats included
Regular Table for two $80
Regular Table for four $140
food, bottle of wine included
Standard Table for two $60
Standard Table for four $120
food, bottle of wine included
Traditional seating $15/$20/$30
no food or beverage included
Additional food and beverage available for purchase throughout the course of the evening
Parisa Zaeri (Music Director) A native of Dallas, Parisa Zaeri maintains an active career as a conductor, collaborative pianist, and vocal coach. Her recent musical engagements include serving as Conductor for Pacific Opera Project’s Mikado, as Music Director for Parker Performing Arts’ The Addams Family, as well as Staff Coach/Accompanist of Opera Colorado’s Artist in Residence Program. Additional special honors include Parisa’s premiere of two new operas by Michael Vince and Spencer Arias in NYC, as well as her participation in the second season of The Dallas Opera Hart Institute for Women Conductors. When not performing, Parisa spends her time advocating for arts access and education, most recently as Impact and Assessment Analyst at The Colburn School. Parisa is an alumnus of NYU and Southern Methodist University and currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, cellist Zack Reaves, and two dogs, Cassie and Blue.
Orson Van Gay II (Rodolfo) A native of Southern California, Orson made his debut in the title role of Bernstein’s Candide at A Noise Within Theatre in 2018. Soon thereafter, he was featured in the Cal Philharmonic Orchestra’s celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th anniversary at Walt Disney Concert Hall. LA Opera’s touring productions have been instrumental in launching this young tenor’s career, with performances including the title role in Orpheus, Dick Johnson in The Prospector, and in his main stage debut as Bernard Curson (Cherubino) in the world premiere of Figaro 90210! In addition he has been heard in the title role of Orlando in the nationally acclaimed production of Hopscotch. He sang his debut Alfredo (La Traviata) with Pacific Opera Project. Orson premiered Golden, a composition based on the life of Polish composer, Igancy Paderewski by Nathan Wang, and the role of Prince in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star. Orson made his Carnegie Hall debut in January 2019, and in May 2019, his Long Beach Opera debut as Raymond Santana in the world premiere of The Central Park Five, a passionate opera by Anthony Davis that encompasses issues that still rock America today. This fall he created the role of The Young Man in the premiere of Joe DiPietro’s The Last Romance. For that performance, he was described as “…one of the finest operatic tenors I have had the pleasure of hearing in a very long time...” (Alan Portner, Broadway World).
Janet Szepei Todd (Mimì) Janet Szepei 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. Janet made her POP debut earlier this year in the title role in Madama Butterfly at the Aratani Theatre. In 2018 Janet also performed Cio-Cio 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 Salieri’s The Chimney Sweep, and Zelmira 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.
Kenneth Stavert (Marcello) 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 (Santa Fe Opera) and Renato in Un ballo in maschera, Scarpia in Tosca (Opera in the Heights) and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly (POP). 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.
Maria Dominique Lopez (Musetta) Praised for “a vocal instrument of exceptional beauty, range, and flexibility” and “innate artistry”, Mexican-American 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 (including Golden Globe and Academy Award Wining Disney/Pixar film, “Coco”). Recent stage appearances include Houston Grand Opera: Opera to Go!, Arizona Opera (Dritte Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Bonita in the US premiere of Kálmán’s Arizona Lady), The Phoenix Symphony (mezzo soloist, Vaughan Williams’ Magnificat), Resonance Works / Pittsburgh (Candelas in de Falla’s El Amor Brujo), Opera Memphis (Third Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute), Pacific Opera Project (POP) (Madam Flora in Menotti’s The Medium, and Mercédes in Carmen), the world premiere of Jenni Brandon’s 3 Paderewskis (Ignace), the LA premiere of Mark Weiser’s The Place Where You Started (Samantha), New Opera West (Cybil in Celka Ojakangas’ “Mirror Game”), and Southeast Symphony (Mezzo Soloist in Mahler Symphony No. 2), and Angels Vocal Arts (Principessa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica). Upcoming 2019 appearances include POP (Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème), as well as debuting Brandon’s 3 Paderewskis at Kennedy Center. A native Arizonan, Maria now lives in Huntington Beach, CA, and studies with renowned opera and musical theatre voice teacher, Eric Fütterer.
E. Scott Levin (Schaunard) Bass-Baritone, E. Scott Levin, described as having a “smooth, buttery voice,” “incredibly sharp timing,” and “a gifted comic actor,” has been making audiences laugh for the past seventeen years. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis and Graduate Certificate in Vocal Performance from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. Since 2002, Scott has sung in over twenty productions with Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis. He has also sung with many companies in California, including Opera Santa Barbara, Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, Townsend Opera, Long Beach Opera, Center Stage Opera, OperaWorks, Orange County Opera, and Celestial Opera. In 2015, Scott made his Los Angeles Opera mainstage debut as Dr. Spinelloccio in Gianni Schicchi, starring Placido Domingo, and in May of this year, he made his feature role debut as Hormigon in El Gato Montes, also starring Placido Domingo. Scott is thrilled to return to POP after previously appearing as Don Pomponio in La gazzetta, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd, Pane in La calisto, Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, the Sacristan in Tosca, KoKo in The Mikado, Maestro Biscroma Strappaviscere in Viva la Mamma!, and Baron Zeta in The Merry Widow (Widder).
Adam Cioffare (Colline) Bass-baritone Adam Cioffari recently returned to the Pittsburgh Festival Opera as Fasolt in Rhinegold and Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd, followed by Handel's Messiah, and the Mozart Requiem with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Other appearances include the Commentator in the world premiere of Wang’s Scalia/Ginsburg at the Castleton Festival, the Musiklehrer in Ariadne auf Naxos at The Glimmerglass Festival, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago, Colline in La bohème with Knoxville Opera, and Masetto with Austin Opera. He has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Theatre Capitole de Toulouse, Staatsoper Stuttgart, and Komische Oper Berlin. A former member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, he was also a participant of the Merola Opera Program, the Music Academy of the West, Aspen Opera Theater, and is a graduate from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Robert Norman (Benoit/Alcindoro/Parpignol) Tenor Robert Norman first appeared with POP in their inaugural production as Boy 1 in Trouble in Tahiti. Since then, he has appeared in fifteen total productions, performing as Pedrillo (Abduction from the Seraglio), Sellem (The Rake’s Progress), Monostatos (Magic Flute), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and Brighella (Ariadne auf Naxos), among others. Last year, Mr. Norman made his Los Angeles Opera debut in Candide playing several roles including the King of El Dorado and Don Issachar. Also in 2018, he made his Walt Disney Concert Hall solo debut with the Los Angeles Master Chorale in Shawn Kirchner’s Songs of Ascent. He is a fifth place finisher in the Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition, and is an L.A. District Winner for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Operatically he has performed as Goro in Madama Butterfly (Opera San Jose, Dayton Opera, Salt Marsh Opera); Pedrillo in Abduction from the Seraglio (Dayton Opera, Opera Orlando, Festival Opera, Salt Marsh Opera); Beppe in Pagliacci (Dayton Opera, Festival Opera); Pang in Turandot (Dayton Opera); and Caius in Falstaff (Opera San Jose). He also has a strong history in modern and American Opera having performed as Parris in The Crucible (Opera Santa Barbara); Nika Magadoff in The Consul (Dayton Opera); Steve Hubbell in A Streetcar Named Desire (Opera Santa Barbara, Union Avenue Opera, Fresno Grand Opera); Toby in Sweeney Todd (Fresno Grand Opera); and Little Bat in Susannah (Festival Opera, Pasadena Opera).
Luvi Avendano (Benoit/Alcindoro/Parpignol) Luvi Avendano is an active singer, conductor, and educator in Southern California. Recent engagements include Opera Santa Barbara, National Opera Association, The Industry, and The California Philharmonic. Mr. Avendano has performed leading roles with regional companies such as Pacific Opera Project, Center Stage Opera, Riverside Lyric 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 bohème, Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, and the title role in Don Giovanni, among several others. Luvi Avendano earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting from the University of Redlands. Mr. Avendano is currently completing his DMA in Vocal Performance at University of California Santa Barbara.
Food & Beverage
Unlike most other theaters, POP wants you to enjoy refreshments during the opera. When we're at the Ebell Club, a platter is typically served with crackers, cold cuts, cheese, fruit, salad, and sweets. Plus, there's an assortment of beverages. It's enough to keep you entertained, though our opera does a pretty good job of that, too.