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 creating “an immersive theater experience” while the Dallas Morning News hailed him for bringing “every character and situation to life.” Recent projects include Papermoon’s production of Barber of Seville with Opera DelawareLohengrin by Salvatore Sciarrino as a pop-up digital opera installation: a site-specific opera for COVID times in collaboration with artist Lance McGoldrick and Opera SouthwestCruzar la cara de la Luna with Opera Santa Barbara, and the world premiere of Zorro by Hector Armienta with Opera Southwest.

Mr. Cardenas’ 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 La bohème for Minnesota Opera to which the Star Tribune acclaimed, “what makes the production a success, is Octavio Cardenas’ staging.” His production of As One for UrbanArias was acclaimed by MD Theater Guide, “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’amoreThe Turn of the ScrewDialogues of the CarmelitesDie FledermausMan of La ManchaLa finta giardinieraHMS Pinafore and Rita. He was Visiting Director of Opera at Chapman University where he directed Florencia en el Amazonas by Daniel Catán. He was a Resident Artist at Minnesota Opera for 4 seasons and has served as the Head of Directing Staff at Des Moines Metro Opera where he directed very successful site-specific productions of María de Buenos Aires in a Black Box, Rappaccini’s Daughter at Des Moines Botanical Gardens, Galileo Galilei at a Planetarium, The Tender Land on a corn field and La bohème for the main stage. He has also been on the directing staff at Chautauqua Opera and is currently a Professor of Opera at The Eastman School of Music where he will be directing Florencia en el Amazonas.

He 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.