Stage director Octavio Cardenas captivates audiences with his visionary, visceral, and physical style of directing. Born in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico, Opera News has praised him for “an immersive theater experience” while the Dallas Morning News hailed him for bringing “every character and situation to life.” Recent projects include Puccini’s La bohème for Minnesota Opera, Philip Glass’s Galileo Galilei for Des Moines Metro Opera, Die Fledermaus for Baylor Opera, and Florencia en el Amazonas for the Tulsa Opera YAP program. Upcoming projects see him direct the world premiere of Bless Me, Ultima for Opera Southwest, Turandot for Mississippi Opera, Falstaff for Intermountain Opera, The Tender Land for Des Moines Metro Opera, and La rondine for Minnesota Opera.
Mr. Cardenas’s recent productions of Silent Night for Fort Worth Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City were described as “a breathtaking realization” with “many brilliant touches.” The Kansas City Star called the Lyric Opera’s production “one of its finest performances in recent memory.” Other recent productions include Rappaccini’s Daughter for Des Moines Metro Opera, The Magic Flute for Opera Neo in San Diego, The Giver for Minnesota Opera, and As One for UrbanArias for which MD Theater Guide acclaimed “Under the direction of Octavio Cardenas, the two stars playfully make great use of both stage and energetic space—it seemed the theatre condensed and expanded with Hannah’s journey.”
As the former Director of Opera for Baylor University, Mr. Cardenas directed productions of L’elisir d’amore, The Turn of the Screw, Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Rita. He currently serves as the Head of the Directing Staff at Des Moines Metro Opera and in addition to having been on the directing staff at Chautauqua Opera. He joined the Minnesota Opera Resident Artists Program for four consecutive seasons, working on all main stage productions and directing Andrew Sinclair’s production of Les pêcheurs de perles. Other directing credits include Susannah at Loyola Opera Theatre, which won the award for “Best College Production 2012” by the Gambit Magazine in New Orleans.
Mr. Cardenas received his Master of Fine Arts in Theatre from UCLA, a Master of Music from the University of South Carolina, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Centenary College in Louisiana.