LA Opera should take note of Pacific Opera Project. The company’s edgy productions explode popular perceptions of what opera is and how it should be performed.  Under Shaw’s creative direction ... La Bohème has been superbly brought to life in a setting that is faithful to the original, as well as intimately and creatively wrought ... it is a production that sparkles with wit and infectious joie de vivre.

                                                                                                                                     -- Stageandcinema.com

Shaw creates a professionally done musical that devours the audience’s attention and reels their emotions into the gruesome story.

                                                                                                                                     -- edgelosangeles.com​



​Shaw’s hilarious interpretation, coupled with his cast’s evident talent for comedy, makes Cosi fan tutte a laugh-­out-­loud show that is as cathartic as it is entertaining.

                                                                                                                                     -- Stageandcinema.com​



Can you mount an opera like Rossini’s Barber of Seville on a shoestring budget and also squeeze all the laughs and coloratura out of every moment?  If you are Josh Shaw, Artistic Director of Pacific Opera Company, you can.  (He is)... on a mission to bring the fun of opera to the masses and it’s working.

                                                                                                                                      -- LA Splash

Before I begin this review, let’s just get one thing straight. As of the moment I’m typing this, only two opera companies in all of the Greater Los Angeles area dare to perform opera as a living art: Long Beach Opera and the up-and-coming Pacific Opera Project.

                                                                                                                                      -- Ted Ayala, Crescenta Valley Weekly

 

LA Opera should take note of Pacific Opera Project. The upstart company’s edgy productions explode popular perceptions of what opera is and how it should be performed. Pacific Opera Project takes this typically elite art form and strips it down to its barest essentials: stunning music and simple, enjoyable stories.

                                                                                                                                      -- Barnaby Hughes, Stage and Cinema

 

Under Artistic Director Josh Shaw’s hands-on guidance, Pacific Opera Project has become L.A.’s most exciting new opera company. In just three years since POP began with the teeny-tiny production of Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, I sensed that this would be the company to make quality opera more accessible, approachable, and affordable. Exceeding my expectations, POP opened their biggest production yet last Friday with a Tosca that is more powerfully intimate and emotionally successful than many of the large-budget productions seen at major opera houses... Shaw’s behemoth production went off without a hitch... Talk about a miracle of logistics.

                                                                                                                                   -- Tony Frankel, Stage and Cinema

 

Josh Shaw, POP's artistic director and its other founder, was responsible for a narratively straightforward and traditionally well-acted production. What is different is the level of intimacy. Opera on a conventional proscenium, even when the venue is far smaller than the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion or nearly 4,000-seat Metropolitan Opera, is an art form of deceits. Oversized passion on stage is projected at a distance, and that distance protects an audience from direct exposure to emotive excess. The squeamish are afforded space to psychically remove themselves when need be. But forget all that in Rosenthal, where the singers and musicians are within spitting distance. They're aiming directly at you.

                                                                                                                                   -- Mark Swed, LA Times

 

Shaw and Karr are clever in every way, putting their greatest energies into the operatic arts and doing amazing work with limited budgets. Pacific Opera Project is surely a company to watch and enjoy.

 

                                                                                                                                   -- Georja Umano, LASplash.com

 

In a stroke of supreme savvy, Director Josh Shaw found a venue that is perfectly tailored to the subject and settings of Puccini’s 1900 opera: St. James Methodist Church in Pasadena. Each of the three acts takes place in different spaces within the church grounds, a decision that not only keeps the audience literally on their toes...this Toscarepresents one of the best values you’d ever expect to find in opera today, especially at this high level of production quality. Highly recommended.

                                                                                                                                   -- David Maurer, LA Culture Spot

 

Can Shaw pull off a production without laughs? The answer is an unambiguous yes... This production makes a welcome contribution to our city’s celebration of the centenary of Britten’s birth.  Notable for its absence of humor, The Turn of the Screw provides plenty of pause for thought, especially given Shaw’s brave and unflinching production of Britten’s operatic oddity.

                                                                                                                                   -- Barnaby Hughes, Stage and Cinema

 

If you Photoshop hipster glasses on Giacomo Puccini for your company’s logo — as Pacific Opera Project did — you’d better be able to do him justice when you produce his operas... director Josh Shaw’s sets reflect the original setting of Rome in 1800. Shaw's twist is that each act utilizes a different part of Pasadena's St. James Methodist Church. Act 1, set in a church, puts the audience in the pews. When the clergy and choristers march up the aisles to the altar, you might feel guilty not kneeling or singing yourself. In this milieu, Baron Scarpia’s plans to seduce Tosca and murder her lover, Cavaradossi, seem especially blasphemous... Opera newbies will find this production effective and thought-provoking, while veterans who think they’ve sat through one too many Toscasshould come to see and hear Blackwell and Cheney from a few rows away.

                                                                                                                                    -- Christian Herzog, LA Weekly

One of the best moments of the production comes at the end of the first act when director/set designer Josh Shaw uses the cast of children choristers, nuns and other church member roles to surround the audience in the final musical number. While holding lit candles, this mass of singers engulfs the sanctuary with glorious sounds and the smell of incense while creating a visual spectacle to be remembered... this production of Tosca by the Pacific Opera Project shows that great, affordable opera is alive and well in the Los Angeles area.

                                                                                                                                   -- Humberto Capiro, Living Out Loud LA

 

When Francesco Cavalli wrote his opera “La Calisto” 363 years ago, he wasn’t thinking about how it would play in Los Angeles. So explain, then, how that opera... is so modern, so delightful, so sexually ambiguous, and still so true to the early baroque music of Cavalli. Much of that credit must go to Josh Shaw, who has created in Pacific Opera Project a sharp and talented troupe that can handle both the complex music from the 17th century and the just-as-daunting performance requirements that include slides, onstage bathrooms, swings, a playground carousel and more.

That Shaw managed to bring all these elements together is an accomplishment in itself. But that he manages to tell the story of “La Calisto” with sometimes rude, always passionate good humor, and with some really great singing, is a tribute to his company...

                                                                                                                                      --John Farrell, Los Angeles Daily News

 

...in a welcome return to the crude and edgy humor that marked POP’s early successes, Artistic Director Josh Shaw has used slangy supertitles, flushing toilets, and toy guns to considerable comic effect. Moreover, his playground set comes replete with swings, teeter-totter, merry-go-round, slide, and ball pit à la Chuck E. Cheese’s... POP has compellingly shown that baroque opera still has the power to enthrall and captivate audiences. 

                                                                                                                                       -- Barnaby Hughes, Stage and Cinema

 

With The Turn of the Screw, POP seals its place as a welcome addition to Los Angeles-area music community, reaffirming that "size isn't everything" and that it deserves to be judged as a peer alongside larger and longer established groups. The committed effort and inventiveness invested by all concerned in this production returns ample and lingering musical and dramatic satisfaction. Wider attention should be paid to POP and these performers in future.

                                                                                                                                        -- George Wallace, A Fool in the Forrest

 

Gaudy, flashy and with eye-popping colors, the over-the-top visuals of Pacific Opera Project’s The Mikado are the Technicolor herald of a new cultural gun in town... the idea that in 2013 a new opera company barely two years old can, on a shoestring budget, manage to sell out its performances is indeed encouraging news for the local arts scene.  Josh Shaw and Musical Director Stephen Karr have achieved something important: Creating accessible opera, updated in often surprising ways, that does not cost much more than the price of a movie ticket.

                                                                                                                                          -- David Maurer, LA Culture Spot

 

Artistic Director Josh Shaw and Music Director Stephen Karr have refined their recipe of equal partsdelight and trenchant stylization. Pacific Opera Project’s future will be intriguing to watch. Southern California is that much richer for the company’s presence... it’s clear that Pacific Opera Project has laid solid foundations for continued growth. The company’s winning formula of budget-wise productions mounted with spare rehearsal time – paired with mostly stellar talent and production values (all while not taking itself too seriously) has attracted sold out performances during its brief two-year existence.

                                                                                                                                             -- R. Daniel Foster, Examiner.com

UPCOMING

December 2019

La boheme at Pacific Opera Project

January 2020

Gianni Schicchi and L'enfant et les Sortileges at POP

March 2020

La boheme at Gulfshore Opera

March 2020

Cosi fan tutte at POP

June 2020

L'elisir d'amore and Tosca at SIFest

July 2020

Ercole sul Termodonte at POP

September 2020

Pirates of Penzance at POP

October 2020

Carmen at Salt Marsh Opera

November 2020

Susannah at POP

 

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©2018

JOSH SHAW​