Opera Santa Barbara will present Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, and Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi by Puccini in 2015-16.
Single-ticket sales for Opera Santa Barbara’s 2015-16 season will begin on Saturday, August 15. Ranging from $29 to $204, tickets can be purchased at www.granadasb.org or by calling 805-899-2222.
Opera Santa Barbara will open its 22nd season with Mozart’s timeless drama Don Giovanni on November 6 and 8, followed by Donizetti’s bel canto masterpiece The Elixir of Love on March 4 and 6, and a twin bill consisting of Puccini’s compelling one-act operas Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi on April 22 and 24. Performances will take place at the historic Granada Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara.
“The coming season offers something for everyone – comedy, drama, and tragedy, to say nothing of some of the most exquisite music ever composed,” said Steven Sharpe, general director of Opera Santa Barbara. “Of course, audiences can also expect exceptional casts and dynamic staging – the very things for which our company is increasingly known.”
Rapturously received at its 1787 premiere and hailed ever since as one of the most perfect operas ever written, Don Giovanni dramatizes the story of the legendary libertine Don Juan Tenorio. Mozart, 31 and at the height of his artistic powers when he composed Don Giovanni, ingeniously captures the mythical dimension of his erotic subject. In structure and style, the work of his librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, is equally masterful. The result is a powerful, deeply moving tour de force featuring complex characterizations, a blend of comedy, drama, and the supernatural, and a score of unsurpassed beauty and eloquence.
Opera Santa Barbara’s production will feature up-and-coming American baritone Mark Walters (pictured above) in the title role. Described by Opera News as “force to be reckoned with” and by the Chicago Sun-Times as a “vocal fury,” Mr. Walters “possesses a magnificently resonant voice and unforced dramatic ability,” according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Following triumphant performances in recent productions of Rigoletto, Il trovatore, and La traviata, critics have lauded his remarkable facility with demanding Verdi roles. His other recent engagements have included Fidelio with Opera Omaha and Kentucky Opera, Tosca with Sarasota Opera, and La Bohéme with Opera Naples.
Award-winning soprano Marcy Stonikas, who sang the title role in Opera Santa Barbara’s 2013-14 season production of Tosca, will appear as Donna Anna. Last season she sang the title roles in Ariadne auf Naxos (Seattle Opera) and Turandot (Cincinnati Opera), and debuted with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Rounding out the cast will be soprano Rena Harms as Donna Elvira and bass-baritone Daniel Mobbs as Leporello. Last season Ms. Harms appeared with the Grand Théâtre de Genève as Helmwige in Die Walküre and made her role debut as Desdemona in Otello with the Oldenburgishes Staatstheater. The 2014-15 season saw Mr. Mobbs return to the Metropolitan Opera as Kromow in the company’s new production of The Merry Widow. He also participated in the Met’s staging of La donna del Lago, and debuted with Los Angeles Opera as Baron Douphol in Marta Domingo’s production of La traviata. Complete artist biographies are available at www.operasb.org.
Conducted by Douglas Kinney Frost and directed by Kelly Robinson, Opera Santa Barbara’s production of Don Giovanni will be presented at 7:30 pm on Friday, November 6, and at 2:30 pm on Sunday, November 8, in the Granada Theatre.
Opera Santa Barbara’s 2015-16 season will continue with Gaetano Donizetti’s ever-popular L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) at 7:30 pm on Friday, March 4, and at 2:30 pm on Sunday, March 6, in the Granada Theatre. This delightful two-act comedy about the vagaries of romantic love, which met with enthusiasm at its Milan premiere in 1832, brims with charm and some of opera’s most affecting arias. The standout young cast will include soprano Anya Matanovic as the alluring landowner Adina, tenor Marco Cammarota as her peasant suitor Nemorino, baritone Luis Orozco as Sergeant Belcore, and bass-baritone Zachary Owen as the itinerant charlatan Doctor Dulcamara. Leonardo Vordoni will conduct, with stage direction by Alan E. Hicks.
The season will conclude in grand style with two of Puccini’s great one-act operas: the heart-warming Suor Angelica and the comic farce Gianni Schicchi. Often performed together, these two tuneful gems are part of a trio of Puccini operas (Il trittico) that premiered to great fanfare at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918. Critically acclaimed soprano Maria Kanyova will sing Sister Angelica, the tormented Florentine noblewoman compelled by her family to take the veil following a youthful indiscretion. Italian bass-baritone Stefano de Peppo will bring his considerable star power to the role of the endearing fraudster Gianni Schicchi. José Luis Moscovich will conduct, with stage direction by Fenlon Lamb. Performances will take place at 7:30 pm on Friday, April 22, and at 2:30 pm on Sunday, April 24.
The Granada Theatre is located at 1214 State Street in Santa Barbara. To place a season subscription order, visit www.operasb.org or call 805-898-3890.
The November 6 performance of Don Giovanni will be preceded by a gala dinner in the McCune Founders Room of the Granada Theatre beginning at 5 pm. Participants will enjoy valet parking, a sumptuous three-course dinner, private intermission, and a post-performance reception. Tickets cost $250. For tickets or additional information, call 805-893-3890.
Opera Santa Barbara will offer a series of free concerts at the Santa Barbara Public Library on consecutive Wednesdays prior to each of its 2015-16 productions. Featuring participants in the company’s Mosher Studio Artists Program performing popular and lesser-known operatic repertoire with piano accompaniment, the concerts will take place at noon in the library’s Faulkner Gallery on October 21 and 28 and November 4 (in advance of Don Giovanni); February 17 and 24 and March 2 (L’elisir d’amore); and April 6, 13, and 20 (Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi). The Santa Barbara Public Library is located at 40 E. Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara
Open to all ticket holders, free informative talks will take place 45 minutes before each Opera Santa Barbara performance at the Granada Theatre. Following select performances, the stage director and other production members will be available at the front of the house for an informal question-and-answer session.