AZO Cast Members & Creatives
Casandra Zoe Valesco
Owner of a "wonderful creamy chocolate voice" Cassandra Zoe Velasco is considered one of Mexico’s rising stars of opera. A recent graduate of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at the Los Angeles Opera, Cassandra was a semi- finalist of the 2012 edition of Operalia. Additionally, she represented Mexico at the Monserrat Caballé Competition (Spain), the Competizione dell ́Opera (Germany) and the Teatro Colón Competition (Argentina).
Since the young age of 22, Ms. Velasco has been staring in productions in Mexico City, including La Scala di Seta, and L’Ocassione fa il Ladro with ProOpera, Angelina in Cinderella and Isolier in Count Ory with Mexico National Opera Company, Isabella in Italian Girl in Algiers with Arpegio Productions, and Charlotte in Werther with Festival Frances. She made her Opera de Bellas Artes debut as Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana, followed by Rosina in The Barber of Seville.
In the United States, her performances include Second Flower in Catan's La Hija de Rappaccini with Gotham Chamber Opera, Myrtale in Thaïs, sharing the stage with Plácido Domingo, Mercedes in Carmen conducted by Placido Domingo, 2nd Lady in The Magic Flute, and the world premiere of Jonah and the Whale, all with Los Angeles Opera.
Engagements for 2014-2015 included Laura in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta in her Metropolitan Opera debut, singing de Falla’s El Amor Brujo in Poland, Vivaldi’s Salve Regina in México, Philomène in Bohuslav Martinů’s Alexandre Bis with Gotham Chamber Opera, and her debuts with San Diego Opera, Houston Grand Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago as Isabel/Dolores in El Pasado Nunca Se Termina, as well as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro with the Princeton Festival.
The 2015-2016 season will see her return to the Metropolitan Opera for productions of Madama Butterfly and Simon Boccanegra, at Teatro Degolldo will make her debut as Maddalena in Verdi's Rigoletto, her debut as Suzuki in Puccin's Madama Buttrfly and she will sing Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte at Ash Law Festival as Dorabella.
On the concert stage, Ms. Velasco has been a soloist with Los Angeles Opera Camera Orchestra, the Dream Orchestra, Charlemagne Orchestra in Belgium, Vivi Vilvaldi Festival and the Aguascalientes Philharmonic in Mexico. Her performed concert repertoire includes Ravel’s Chansons Madecasses, Mozart’s Requiem, Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder, Beethoven’s C Minor Mass, Verdi’s Requiem, Dvorak’s Requiem, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater and Beethoven's 9th Symphony.
Ms. Velasco is the First Prize winner of several competitions in Mexico, among them the Carlo Morelli Competition (2011), where she also won the Audience Award, Maria Callas Award, Opera de Bellas Artes Award, and the Domingo- Embil Zarzuela Award. In 2012, she won First Prize in the National Competition of Young Voices in Bel Canto. Most recently, Ms. Velasco received the Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (2013), an Encouragement Prize from the Loren Zachary Competition (2014), the Therese Anne McCarthy Memorial Prize at Opera San Miguel (2014), and she received a grant from Opera Buffs (2014).