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June 4-6: Pacific Opera Project Presents the West Coast Premiere of Bizet’s Don Procopio, Live Outdoors in LA

May 3, 2021 | By Katy Salomon
Account Director, Morahan Arts and Media

For Immediate Release

Contact: Katy Salomon | Morahan Arts & Media | 863.660.2214

Pacific Opera Project Presents Second Live, In-Person Production
this Spring, the West Coast Premiere of Bizet’s Don Procopio

Three Shows at the Heritage Square Museum – June 4, 5 and 6

“In this strange time and strange place and strange way, the pandemic has
made POP matter in a telling new way.” – Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles, CA (May 3, 2021) — Pacific Opera Project (POP) announces its next installment of revolutionary, pandemic-safe productions, the west coast premiere of Georges Bizet’s rarely performed comedic opera Don Procopio, performed live outdoors at the Heritage Square Museum in Los Angeles. The three, socially-distanced performances – Friday, June 4, 2021 at 8:00pm; Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 8:00pm; and Sunday, June 6, 2021 at 8:00pm – will be sung in Italian with projected English supertitles and a small orchestra conducted by Charlie Kim. Pacific Opera Project’s production, designed and directed by Artistic Director Josh Shaw, is set in 1913 in Highland Park, playing to the venue’s historic aesthetic. Other local touches include references to the area’s history of ostrich farms, based on the nearby Cawston Ostrich Farm, and nods to the early movie industry. Picnic and enjoy a bottle of wine with your pod, safely distanced from others and nestled between the historic homes and buildings at Heritage Square. 

Bizet’s Don Procopio is a two-act bel canto opera buffa completed in 1859 while the 21-year old composer was in Italy as winner of the Prix de Rome. The administrators of the prize expected a Mass, but Bizet defiantly sent them a comic opera. Written to an old Italian libretto by Carlo Cambiaggio, Don Procopio is Bizet’s attempt at an Italian style, so the opera sounds more like Rossini or Donizetti and has many similarities with Don Pasquale. In the plot, the smart and outgoing Donna Bettina is in love with Odoardo. Her uncle and tutor, Don Andronico, plans to marry her off to the old miser Don Procopio, but with the help of her brother, Don Ernesto, Donna Bettina turns herself into an extravagant and intimidating temptress and leads Procopio to believe she will demand that lifestyle should she be his wife. Procopio flees from what appears to be an unpleasant arrangement, and Bettina and Odoardo are united. Don Procopio was left incomplete without any recitative material, and not performed until 1906, more than 30 years after Bizet’s death.  

The cast features Ben Lowe (Don Procopio), Rachel Policar (Bettina), Jon Lee Keenan (Odoardo), Armando Contreras (Ernesto), E. Scott Levin (Don Andronico), Jessica Gonzalez-Rodriguez (Donna Eufemia), and a four-person chorus, with costumes by Maggie Green.

Performance Information
Pacific Opera Project Presents Bizet’s Don Procopio
Friday, June 4, 2021 at 8:00pm (Gates Open at 7:00pm for Picnicking)
Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 8:00pm (Gates Open at 7:00pm for Picnicking)
Sunday, June 6, 2021 at 8:00pm (Gates Open at 7:00pm for Picnicking)
Heritage Square Museum | 3800 Homer Street | Los Angeles, CA 90031
More Information: 

Music Georges Bizet
Director and Designer Josh Shaw
Assist Director Carson Gilmore
Conductor Charlie Kim
Costumes Maggie Green
Orchestral Arrangement Chris van Tuinen
Runtime: 80 minutes

Don Procopio – Ben Lowe
Bettina – Rachel Policar
Odoardo – Jon Lee Keenan
Ernesto – Armando Contreras
Don Andronico – E. Scott Levin
Donna Eufemia – Jessica Gonzalez-Rodriguez

Section 1: $150, includes a cocktail table and four chairs for up to four people. This section is closest to the stage. You may also choose to only use one, two, or three seats at the table. 

Section 2: $15 ticket for one person. This section is behind Section 1 and you must bring your own chair or blanket. You may sit in pods of up to four people.

For all seating, you are welcome to bring your own food, drinks, wine, or beer. No hard alcohol please. Tables and pods should be from the same household or fully vaccinated. 

Due to the social distancing and the height of the stage, sight lines should be excellent for all seats. Enhanced microphones and parking arrangements, including parking attendants and handicapped parking, have been made at the Heritage Square Museum.

About Pacific Opera Project
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 revolutionary drive-in productions of COVID fan tutte and the US staged premieres of two Gluck operas in November 2020; 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; 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. Learn more at

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