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B i o g r a p h y

Michael Canales

Music Director – Composer – Conductor


Maestro Michael Canales studied principles of composition and improvisation with Dr. Richard Grayson at Occidental College. He graduated in 1985 and proceeded to study composition with Dr. Aurelio da la Vega at California State University at Northridge, whereat he received his Master’s Degree in 1988. His Master’s Thesis “Inside Out” a one act opera, was the first operatic work written and produced by either a student or faculty member in the history of California State University at Northridge. The work was awarded the inaugural Leda Campo Award for outstanding composition.


Maestro Canales established himself first as a conductor and producer of new music then focused specifically on the standard operatic repertoire, including the major operatic works of Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and Wagner. He founded the Pasadena Lyric Opera in 1996. The company’s first production, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, attracted the attention of The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, which proceeded to support the company with a series of unrestricted grants from 1997 through 2002. Maestro Canales’ work as a composer and conductor has also been awarded grants and commissions from Las Vegas Little Theatre, The Nevada Arts Counsel, The Pasadena Foundation, and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.


Maestro Canales’ compositions have been performed internationally both on new music festivals such as the Foro de Musica Nueva in Mexico City as well as through the concertizing of a variety of virtuoso musicians. He has recently published a collection of works for solo organ that have been performed by organists such as Carson Cooman, Mark Pace, and Luca Masaglia. His latest work for solo organ, “Sonata da Chiesa” is slated to be published in 2015 and premiered by Carson Cooman at the Memorial Church, Harvard University.


Maestro Canales is also a producer of classical music videos. His film “Promise” was featured in the avant-garde category in 2009 Dam Short film festival. He has also produced a variety of standard operatic scenes as well as music videos of his own dramatic works.



Suzanna Canales

Artistic Director – Dramatic Soprano


Ms. Canales has already distinguished herself as one of the most powerful and promising young dramatic voices in the western region of the United States during her time as a house dramatic soprano at Pasadena Lyric Opera. She has performed some of the most demanding roles from Italian, Mozartian and French operatic repertoire, including Carmen, Santuzza, Dido, Donna Elvira, Giulietta, and Madama Butterfly. She has performed two Wagnerian roles: Venus in “Tannhäuser” and “Senta” in The Flying Dutchman. One of her other signature roles is that of “The Femme Fatale” in Michael Canales’ Opera Noir “Color of Vengeance.”


As well known for her stage presence and screen acting as her voice, she offers the complete package of credibility as an opera singer who both sounds and looks like the characters she is given to portray. She has performed in a number of classical music films. Her work as “The Goddess of War” in Michael Canales’ film “Promise” was featured in the avant-garde category of the 2009 Dam Short Film Festival. Other operatic films include “Dido’s Lament,” “Butterfly’s Death,” “Clarion Call,” “Lady Liberty Goes to War” and “Homeland.”  Ms. Canales is also a seasoned stage director and costume designer who has run a number of opera workshop clinics in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas areas.


Ms. Canales’ skill as a dancer has been featured in productions of “Carmen,” “Man of La Mancha,” “Color of Vengeance,” “The Devil, the Damsel and Demon Rum” and “Promise.”   Though primarily a belly dancer, Ms. Canales has also trained in Flamenco and Latin Ballroom dance. In 2012, Ms. Canales won the “Dancing with the Local Stars” competition presented by Evangelical Homes in Sterling Heights, MI with her vibrant Cha-Cha, along with her trainer/partner Terry Hasty.

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