Argentinian director to help advance opera’s artistic goals for the future

Santa Barbara, CA, March 25, 2010 – The Board of Directors of Opera Santa Barbara and General Director Steven Sharpe are pleased to announce that José Maria Condemi has accepted the position of Artistic Director effective immediately.

Jose Maria CondemiCalled “one of the most promising and impressive directors in all opera,” Mr. Condemi made his directorial debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, directing Deborah Voigt in Lyric’s 08/09 season production of Tristan und Isolde and most recently the Lyric’s critically-acclaimed new production of Ernani with Salvatore Licitra. In commenting on his new role with the opera, Mr. Condemi has said, “I look forward to producing exciting opera in Santa Barbara and to develop artistic and logistical collaborations with companies across the nation. I also anticipate increasing collaborations with some of Santa Barbara’s remarkable organizations, as well as nurturing the creation of new work and the training of young artists in the field.”

“Opera Santa Barbara is extremely honored to appoint Mr. Condemi to this important position,” says Opera Santa Barbara’s General Director Steven Sharpe. “The world of opera is going through tremendous transition at the moment, thanks in part to the national Met HD broadcasts and the growing audiences they are attracting. Mr. Condemi brings a ‘fresh’ approach to the field, and we are confident that his talent, skill and vision will enable us to create productions and programs which will appeal to a broad and diverse audience.”

In demand for his imaginative and creative stage work, Mr. Condemi has directed productions for companies nationwide and abroad including: San Francisco Opera (Tosca, Cosi fan tutte and the Elixir of Love for Families); Seattle Opera (La boheme and Il Trovatore); Canadian Opera Company (Luisa Miller); Minnesota Opera (Maria Padilla); Cincinnati Opera (Don Giovanni and Ainadamar); Portland Opera (Don Giovanni); Austin Lyric Opera (Il trovatore) and Opera San Jose (Don Pasquale, L’Elisir d’amore, Die Zauberflöte). For the Western Opera Theatre (San Francisco Opera) he has helmed productions of Die Fledermaus and Don Giovanni, which toured nationwide.

His collaborations with contemporary opera composers include directing the workshop premiere of the San Francisco Opera commission Earthrise by Pulitzer Prize winner Lewis Spratlan, as well as Hector Armienta’s River of Women and The Weeping Woman. His theatre directing credits include Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest, Dürrenmatt’s The Physicists and Lorca’s The House of Bernada Alba.

Upcoming engagements for Mr. Condemi include directing San Francisco Opera’s Faust with Patricia Racette and Madama Butterfly with Daniela Dessi; Atlanta Opera’s Cosi fan Tutte; and a new production of Carmen for Lake George Opera. (Upcoming seasons will see Condemi return to Seattle and Cincinnati Operas among others.)

Mr. Condemi’s responsibilities as Artistic Director include providing vision and guidance to the Board of Directors with regard to the long-range planning and artistic development of Opera Santa Barbara. He will make recommendations regarding choice of productions and venues and have supervision over all artistic personnel for opera productions, participate in fundraising activities and represent Opera Santa Barbara on both local and national levels.

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Opera Santa Barbara is a 501(c )3 non-profit organization whose mission is to contribute to the cultural enrichment of our audiences by presenting exciting, high-quality productions and community programs that celebrate the breadth and beauty of opera.

CONTACT: Marylove Thralls


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