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Ken Cazan, Stage Director

Ken Cazan is Resident Stage Director for the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.  One of America’s most sought after directors, he has directed more than 100 productions for more than 40 opera companies, including the Santa Fe Opera (Salome, Intermezzo, Die Scheigsame Frau, Die Zauberflöte, and Le Nozze di Figaro), Central City Opera (West Side Story, Three Decembers, The Seven Deadly Sins, Gianni Schicchi L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Gloriana, Paul Bunyan, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Summer and Smoke, Jongleur de Notre Dame), Atlanta Opera (Lucia di Lammermoor, Un Ballo in Maschera, Don Giovanni, Cavalleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci, Nabucco, Il Trovatore, and Carmen), Canadian Opera (Werther, Suor Angelica, and I Pagliacci), Seattle Opera (Don Pasquale, Die Zauberflöte, Madama Butterfly and La Boheme), Opera Theater of St. Louis (Mithridate, Il Turco in Italia, and Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Opera Omaha (The Turn of the Screw, Faust, La Boheme, The Juniper Tree, and Rigoletto), Opera Pacific and Michigan Opera (Faust, Don Giovanni, and Madama Butterfly), Austin Lyric Opera (Elektra and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), Chicago Opera Theater (Death in Venice, Bluebeard’s Castle, Etwartung and Shining Brow), Opera Hamilton (Un Ballo in Maschera, Faust, and Don Giovanni), Portland Opera (Die Fledermaus, Giulio Cesare, and Die Zauberflöte), Austin Lyric Opera (Lucia di Lammermoor and Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Kentucky Opera (Cosi fan tutte and Otello), Madison Opera (Tosca and Faust) Orlando Opera (L'Elisir d'Amore and Die Fledermaus)Virginia Opera (Rigoletto and Un Ballo in Maschera), Academy of Vocal Arts (Faust and Pelleas et Melisande), Skylight Opera (Postcard from Morocco, The Cradle Will Rock, Cosi fan tutte, and The Fantasticks), Florida Grand Opera and Opera Festival of New Jersey (Faust),, Calgary Opera (The Mikado), Edmonton Opera (Romeo et Juliette), Wolf Trap Opera (Le Nozze di Figaro), Chautauqua Opera (The Turn of the Screw), Tulsa Opera and Nashville Opera (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Fort Worth Opera (Agrippina),Lyric Opera of Kansas City (Die Fledermaus), Syracuse Opera (Fidelio), and Utah Opera (Faust)

In Italy, he directed Gershwin’s Lady Be Good for the Teatro Fenice in Venice, Italy and, for the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, a collaboration with Leonard Bernstein directing a semi-staged production of La Boheme which was recorded and released on Deutsche Grammaphon, videotaped by RAI and broadcast across Europe.

Notable recent engagements include the world premiere of Lowell Lieberman’s Miss Lonely Hearts for the Juilliard School to critical acclaim, with subsequent productions in Los Angeles and in Cincinnati, West Side Story and Oklahoma for Central City Opera and Owen Wingrave for Chicago Opera Theater, West Side Story for Vancouver Opera and in Agder, Norway, Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher for Chicago Opera Theatre and Long Beach Opera and Our Town for Central City Opera. 

Recent productions include return to Central City this past summer to direct Dead Man Walking and The Sound of Music, American Opera Productions for the world premiere of As One by Laura Kaminsky and a new production of Picker’s Therese Raquin for Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater..  Notable future project includes a debut with Theatre am Gärtnerplatz in Munich, Germany Frau Schindler by Thomas Morse (for which is also the librettist) and return to Central City Opera for The Ballad of Baby Doe.

In theater, Mr. Cazan has directed Lettice and Lovage, Not About Heroes (Macdonald), Waiting for Godot, and The Inca of Perusalem for Milwaukee Chamber Theater, To Gillian on her 37th Birthday for Cain Park Theater in Cleveland, The Anastasia Affair in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Of Thee I Sing for the 1996 Olympic Cultural Festival in Atlanta.

Formerly Director of Opera Workshop at the University of Michigan, he has also taught at the Curtis Institute of Music, Academy of Vocal Arts, Kent State University, Ohio State University, University of Nebraska, Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, Merola Opera Program of the San Francisco Opera, and the Young Artists' Program of the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Cazan holds a B.F.A. in acting, directing, and dance from Syracuse University.

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