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Bizet’s Carmen

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July 12 EVENING and July 14 MATINEE

Bizet’s Carmen

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7 pm | Fri
July 12th
Bizet’s Carmen (Evening)
Granada Theatre
2 pm | Sun
July 14th
Bizet’s Carmen (Matinee)
Granada Theatre
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Bizet's Carmen


Carmen is the ultimate force of nature in one of the world’s most celebrated operas. Directed by KEN CAZAN, conducted by DANIELA CANDILLARI, and featuring choreography by flamenco star MANUEL GUTIERREZ.

With members of the Sing! Children’s Chorus.



Ken Cazan

opera director


Ken Cazan has directed over 180 international productions of operas, musical theatre and plays. He is also a librettist for opera, and has written the book and lyrics for the musical Prodigy. He is currently collaborating on two other musicals with composers Billy Pace and Patrice Rushen. Most recently, he directed the musicals Carousel and The Light in the Piazza for the Central City Opera. In the spring of 2022, Cazan directed the world premiere of All the Truths We Cannot See for the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. He subsequently directed the American premiere as well, which was a collaboration between the Sibelius Academy and the USC Thornton School of Music.

He directed the world premiere of Thomas Morse’s opera Frau Schindler for the Gärtnerplatz Theatre in Munich, for which he also served as librettist along with Morse. Other world premieres include the Kaminsky/Campbell/Reed opera AS ONE for American Opera Projects and the BAM Festival in 2014, and the Lieberman/McClatchy collaboration, Miss Lonelyhearts which was commissioned by the Juilliard School for their 100th anniversary and was a co-production with the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and the USC Thornton School of Music.

Cazan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting and Directing from Syracuse University in 1979. Before that he attended Kent State University Stark County Campus from whom he has received the Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Outside of opera, he has directed plays and musicals for various theatre companies across America and in Europe. In Norway, he directed West Side Story for the inauguration of the spectacular, new Kilden Theatre in Kristiansand. In Venice, Italy, he directed a production of the Gershwins’ Lady be Good for the venerated Teatro la Fenice which marked the first time an Italian opera-theatre company had created an original production of an American musical. He is also well known for directing musicals for opera companies, everything from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim. Additionally, Cazan conceived of and wrote the book and lyrics for a new musical titled Prodigy in collaboration with pop composer Billy Pace. Prodigy is the story of the professional life and death of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the great 1980s African-American fine artist. Combining hip-hop, pop, Latino music, and ballads, Prodigy received two successful staged readings with the Los Angeles Festival of New American Musicals.

Ken Cazan is a full Professor, Resident Stage Director, and the Chair of Vocal Arts and Opera at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for whom he has worked since 2004. At USC, he has been awarded both “Excellence in Teaching” and “Excellence in Service” awards. He has taught masterclasses and acting for the Metropolitan Opera and Central City Opera Young Artist Programs, the Chautauqua Opera, and at Indiana University, Ohio State University, Kent State University, Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, and CalState University Long Beach. He is on the Board of Advisors for the Classical Division of the Orange County High School of the Arts.

In 2017, Cazan was inducted into the Grove Dictionary of Music. It was the first time in 25 years that the esteemed musical dictionary had been edited. The dictionary cited Ken Cazan as an expert in the works of Benjamin Britten and praised his skill in working with singer-actors on characters and relationships.

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Daniela Candillari

principal opera conductor


Conductor Daniela Candillari continues to garner praise for her dynamic and compelling performances at opera houses and concert stages throughout North America and Europe. Recognized for her “confidence and apparently inexhaustible verve” (The New York Times) and “powerful and breathtaking performances” (Review STL), Candillari enters her second season as both Principal Conductor at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Principal Opera Conductor at Music Academy.

In the 2022-23 season, Candillari conducts the New York Philharmonic and Yo-Yo Ma, American Composers Orchestra and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street at Carnegie Hall, Orchestre Métropolitain Montreal, the Symphonic Orchestra of Slovenian National Theater in Maribor, Toledo Symphony, the world premiere of Peter Knell and Stephanie Fleischmann’s Arkhipov at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, Deutsche Oper Berlin’s concert version of Lakmé, New Orleans Opera’s Hansel and Gretel, Tosca at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Arizona Opera, Tulsa Opera’s Gala concert version of Aida, and Music Academy’s La bohème.

Last season, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut conducting Aucoin’s Eurydice; led Jeanine Tesori’s Blue with Detroit Opera; Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones at Lyric Opera of Chicago; Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ Carmen; the North American premiere of Caroline Shaw, Andrew Yee, and Asma Maroof’s Moby Dick; or The Whale at The Shed with members of the New York Philharmonic; Music Academy’s Eugene Onegin; the 2021 made-for-film world premiere of Clint Borzoni’s The Copper Queen with Arizona Opera; and the 2022 film of Ana Sokolović’s Svadba with Boston Lyric Opera. As a composer, Candillari has been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Met Opera, and New York City Ballet Orchestras.

Candillari grew up in Serbia and Slovenia. She holds a Doctorate from the Universität für Musik in Vienna; a MM from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music; and a MM and Bachelor’s degree from the Universität für Musik in Graz.

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Manuel Gutierrez

teaching artist

Festival weeks 2-3

The blood of Córdoba: Manuel was born in Montpellier, France, but in his veins, the blood flowing is that of Córdoba. Flamenco would enter his life the day he was born given that it has been a family tradition for years & a lifestyle. By the age of 8, Manuel would win his first flamenco dance award.

Profound and charismatic: On stage he demonstrates his tremendous rhythmic formations, vigorosity & sensible way of dancing. Manuel began his successful career in the best spanish tablaos such as, Casa Patas, Palacio del Flamenco & Cordobes. He continues to tour the most prestigious stages with artists such as Juan Carmona, Chispa Negra, Chicuelo, Esperanza Fernández, Duquende. He would also collaborate with Luis Winsberg, Qawwali Flamenco, Kevan Chemerani, Eric Fernández & Souad Masse. His love for music doesn’t end with dancing, Manuel’s other artistic talents include composing, singing & percussion.

Dancer, choreographer & instructor: Manuel’s lead performances never go unrecognized. His solo acts in spectacles such as “Romancero Gitano” & “Barrio Flamenco” are brilliant. He has contributed to the choreography of these & many other shows around the world both on stage & television. One work that he is most proud of is his first creation dedicated to his father “El Emigrante”, a moving tribute to Spanish immigrants in the post-war period. His work included a 5 year running piece “Flamenka”, with much success in both London & Paris, as both lead dancer & choreographer. Manuel has been privileged to teach in the best studios in Paris, including of having the honor to teach at L’Opéra de Paris. Manuel’s passion is infinity for the art that makes him a fearless artist.
The Telegraph in London called his work “Fiery.” Danse Magazine nicknamed him, “The Young Flamenco Prince.” Figarro Newspaper raved “The dance is strong, voluptuous, and spectacular... a profound type of Flamenco and incredibly explosive.”

Manuel also had the opportunity to be performing with LA Opera as principal and captain dancer on productions like, “Carmen”, “Barbier de Seville”, “El Gato Montes”.
Artistic Director: Manuel has contributed his time as Artistic Director for the charitable “The Global Gift Gala" which works alongside actress, producer and philanthropist Eva Longoria in benefit of Eva Longoria Foundation, Ricky Martin Foundation, Global Gift Foundation and many more.

Currently residing in Los Angeles, Manuel is a very established prolific choreographer and Artistic director throughout the U.S., having created productions like, “KOMPAZ”, “FIVE” and recently “NAVIDAD FLAMENCA” a flamenco musical strorytelling of Christmas in Spain featuring Carmen Ledesma, Maria Juncal, Laura Santos, Jose Cortes, Andres Vadin And Diego Alvarez “El Negro”.
Manuel now leads “Flamenco District” a platform all about flamenco in the City of Angels.

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