This Wednesday night, June 8th, Distilled Opera presents Zarzuela Spanish Opera at Villain Theater.

Distilled opera is not your typical opera production of majestic proportions, ornate costumes, and a far away stage. At Villain Theater, Distilled Opera singers are just as likely to make their entrance by jumping on stage from the audience as they are to appear from the mysterious backstage. The audience is up close and personal in this cabaret-style venue. Recurring with a brand new show on the second Wednesday of every month, June’s theme is Zarzuela.

Zarzuela is a collection of Spanish opera alternating between spoken and sung scenes. It originated in Spain during the Baroque era, and after evolving through the Romantic period, was brought to the Spanish colonies, such as Cuba, in the 19th century. A lot of these Zarzuela’s, especially Cuban zarzuela, convey a commentary on society from the time they were written. Some of the political and cultural themes are still relatable today. This monthly collaboration of South Florida’s professional opera community uncovers an enchanting world of classical music presented in a contemporary fashion.

Doors open at 7:30pm. A full liquor bar, courtesy of Gramps Wynwood, will be serving drinks and munchies all night. Villain Theater is located on the second floor of Made At The Citadel at 8325 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33138.


Distilled Opera Cast

Héctor Manuel Mir hails from Miami, FL. He is the tenor section leader at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Miami Beach where he recently sung in duet with Andrea Bocelli. Héctor received his BM from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston preceded by studies at Miami’s New World School of the Arts.

The lovely Megan Barrera is a local Miami soprano. She has sung with Miami Lyric Opera and Miami Music Festival. Megan has been described as having “a lovely, dark lower register, and when she swept into the higher registers of the melody…a voice of real strength emerged.”

A native of New York City, pianist, Caren Levine has gradually established a reputation as one of today’s most compelling young artists. She has won acclaim for her musicality, charm and sensitivity, and is known for her intense and impassioned performances. The San Francisco Chronicle described her as “a petite powerhouse.” An alumna of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, she has been on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera House as Assistant Conductor and Prompter since 2003. In 2012, she received a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for The Met Opera’s DVD of John Adams Doctor Atomic Live in HD and received her second Grammy Award for The Met Opera’s DVD of Thomas Adès The Tempest Live in HD in 2014.

Andres Penalver is a Venezuelan-born, American-educated lyric tenor with a fast-growing slate of exciting roles and impressive accolades. He recently sang with the company “Pro-Arte Gratelli”. Andres began his Opera training privately in 2009 while working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture. He will be singing Rodolfo in La Boheme with Miami Music Festival this summer and is looking forward to attending Grad School in Voice Performance in the fall.

Miami native and soprano, Betsy Diaz, was recently seen singing the role of Donna Anna in the Miami Music Festival’s production of Don Giovanni to great acclaim. While at the MMF, Betsy stepped in last minute for an indisposed Deborah Voigt in the festival’s Opening Concert. Prior to that, Betsy was a young artist with Florida Grand Opera for two years. She will be singing Mimi in Puccini’s La Boheme this summer alongside Andres Penalver.

Coloratura soprano, Sydnee Waggoner was born and raised in Alaska. Sydnee was recently seen as a soloist with Miami City Ballet’s 2016 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Sydnee has been featured as Gabriel in Die Schöpfung under the baton of Kent Tritle at Manhattan School of Music where she completed her master’s, and in 2011, made her professional debut with Opera Fairbanks in L’elisir d’amore. In 2009, she represented her home state as Miss Alaska at Miss America, and was recognized the same year with the 2009 Young Alaskan Artist of the Year Award.

Bass baritone, John Cabrali, was recently seen at Fort Worth Opera in the roles of Sciarrone in Tosca, Bion in Adamo´s Lysistrata, and Figaro (cover) in Le nozze di Figaro. He also performed in the world premier of Hamlet by Carson Kievman with the SoBe Arts Institute at Miami Beach, FL. John has also performed with the Seagle Music Colony as the title role in Le nozze di Figaro and Alidoro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola.

Mezzo-Soprano, Stephanie Paige Newman, is a native of Miami. She performs in opera and concert performances across the United States, but most recently, Stephanie performed the title role in Pinocchio as a young artist with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Flora in La Traviata in honor of Barry University’s 75th anniversary and covered Carmen at the Natchez festival of Music. This coming season, she will also be appearing with the Miami Music Festival performing as Elizabeth Procter in The Crucible as well as in scenes in the Miami Wagner Institute concert.