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Opera Santa Barbara will open its 23rd season with Georges Bizet’s timeless drama Carmen on November 4 and 6, followed by compelling productions of Leoš Janáček’s imaginative The Cunning Little Vixen on March 3 and 5, and Giacomo Puccini’s richly melodic La Rondine on April 28 and 30. Performances will take place at the historic Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara. Subscription sales are underway.

Artistic Director Kostis Protopapas will make his company conducting debut for Opera Santa Barbara’s production of Carmen. One of the world’s most popular operas, Bizet’s wonderfully vibrant and riveting tale of love and jealousy overflows with delightful music. Mexican director Octavio Cardenas will stage this production, which will feature Leann Sandel-Pantaleo in the title role, Harold Meers as Don Jose, and Jeanine De Bique as Micaela.

Crystal Manich will direct a new production of The Cunning Little Vixen, Janáček’s humorous and tender allegory about the connections between people and animals, and the cyclical nature of life and death. The production, to be designed by Jean-Pierre Couture, will appeal to both children and adults, and will be performed in English with English subtitles. Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian will perform the role of the vixen, David Kravitz will portray the Forester, and Lauren McNeese will make her company debut as the fox.

And the season will conclude with Opera Santa Barbara’s premiere production of La Rondine, Puccini’s elegant and poignant operetta about a worldly woman who falls in love with a naïve younger man, who in turn causes her to question the cost of her glittering existence. Tara Faircloth will direct and Kostis Protopapas will conduct. Karin Wolverton will make her company debut as Magda, Adam Diegel will play the role of Ruggiero, and Zeffin Quinn Hollis will perform as Rambaldo.


Opera Santa Barbara will welcome four promising young vocalists for 17 weeks of performances, training, and community events under an expansion of its artist residency program early next year. The company’s new Mosher Studio Artist Program will enable four singers and an accompanist to take part in Opera Santa Barbara productions, outreach activities throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and coachings and masterclasses with top industry directors and conductors. The inaugural complement of program participants will arrive in Santa Barbara on January 18. Their residencies will conclude on May 16.

“We are very grateful to the Mosher Foundation, whose generosity has made this expansion possible,” said Kostis Protopapas, who was named artistic director of Opera Santa Barbara in July. “We envision program participants serving as ambassadors for our company and opera generally, all the while receiving top-flight training that will further their careers.”

Under its original artist residency program, founded seven years ago, Opera Santa Barbara would host four singers for about five weeks of training and rehearsals prior to each of the company’s three annual opera productions, culminating in on-stage appearances as secondary performers. The effort was originally known as the Young Artists Program and was later renamed the Studio Artist Program. The Mosher Foundation, which supports educational, healthcare, and performing arts institutions in the Santa Barbara area, funded an expansion of the program last year.

Under the new Mosher Studio Artist Program, participants will tour elementary schools in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as part of the company’s Opera Lab, which uses improvisational theatre techniques to encourage children to “create their own operas”; perform six free noontime concerts at the Santa Barbara Public Library; present previews of Opera Santa Barbara productions to community groups such as retirement homes and Rotary clubs; and take part in a new series of “pop up” or “flash mob” performances from Thousand Oaks to Santa Maria. The latter will be presented at shopping malls, public libraries, farmers markets, school lunchrooms, and similar locations. To schedule a “pop up” performance, contact Opera Santa Barbara at 805-898-3890 or info@operasb.org.

Mosher Studio Artists also will perform secondary roles in Opera Santa Barbara’s upcoming productions of Gaetano Donizetti’s romantic comedy L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love) on March 4 and 6, and Puccini’s great one-act operas Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi on April 22 and 24. Featuring popular and lesser-known operatic repertoire with piano accompaniment, the free noontime concerts will be offered at the Santa Barbara Public Library’s Faulkner Gallery on February 17 and 24 and March 2 (in advance of L’elisir d’amore), and April 6, 13, and 20 (Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi). Additional concerts will likely be scheduled at other regional public libraries.

Through a related partnership, qualified UCSB voice students will be eligible to participate in the Mosher Studio Artist Program. Mezzo-soprano Molly Clementz, a doctoral candidate at UCSB, will be among the new program’s inaugural participants.

“This partnership will harness UCSB’s academic prestige and teaching excellence, along with Opera Santa Barbara’s professional opportunities and resources, in order to provide top-quality training for the area’s most promising young singers,” said Mr. Protopapas.

The full roster of incoming Mosher Studio Artists will be announced in January.

Opera Santa Barbara is seeking local homeowners to serve as housing donors for Mosher Studio Artists. Housing donors will receive a stipend of $2,000 for the full 17-week period, plus complimentary tickets to opera performances and private receptions. Each artist requires a private bedroom and bathroom and wireless internet access. For more information, contact Opera Santa Barbara at 805-898-3890.


Celebrated conductor Kostis Protopapas, whose engaging podium presence, incisive musicality, and administrative acumen have garnered praise from critics and industry professionals nationwide, has been named artistic director of Opera Santa Barbara. With the appointment, which caps a seven-month international search, Mr. Protopapas becomes just the fourth artistic director in the company’s 21-year history.

“We are very pleased and honored to welcome such a distinguished artist to our ranks,” said Steven Sharpe, general director of Opera Santa Barbara. “Given Kostis’ remarkable record of achievement, as well as the respect he justly commands in our industry, we are confident that he will contribute significantly to our artistic and educational efforts. This appointment marks an important and exciting milestone in the evolution of our company.”

“I am thrilled to be joining Opera Santa Barbara, one of the country’s up-and-coming companies in one of the world’s most beautiful cities,” said Mr. Protopapas. “I look forward to working with Steven Sharpe, the staff, and the board to broaden the company’s reach and deepen its relationship with the community. Opera is my passion, and I look forward to sharing it with the people of Santa Barbara and the Central Coast.”

As artistic director of Tulsa Opera over the past seven years, Mr. Protopapas has spearheaded a succession of notable productions from the pit. Writing in The New Yorker following a 2011 Tulsa Opera performance of The Barber of Seville, Alex Ross marveled at the orchestra’s “fluid idiomatic playing.” “In any city, it’s rare to find a conductor that sets the right tempo so consistently,” observed Mr. Ross. Mr. Protopapas previously served as Tulsa Opera’s associate conductor and chorusmaster, and has conducted 22 productions with the company since his 2005 main-stage debut with Cavalleria Rusticana/I Pagliacci.

Mr. Protopapas also has distinguished himself as an administrator. Under his leadership, Tulsa Opera has gained an outsized reputation for adventurous programming, exceptional directorial and singing talent, and extensive community outreach, including statewide educational initiatives and innovative partnerships with local and regional organizations.

“Maestro Protopapas is known for producing highly compelling productions, and prides himself on creating the conditions for artists to do their best work,” said former Tulsa Opera Board President Alvina Hart. “As a conductor he leads with exuberance and finesse, always working with the singers and orchestra to draw out the beauty and power of the music, making the classics unique and newer works accessible. His love for the art form of opera is apparent to all who meet him.”

Between 2002 and 2008, Mr. Protopapas concurrently served as assistant conductor for Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Los Angeles Opera, and the Santa Fe Opera, and during the 2002 and 2003 seasons was Lyric Opera of Chicago’s assistant chorusmaster. Having begun his career at Virginia Opera and Opera Memphis, he also has conducted at Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis, the Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Columbus, Shreveport Opera, and Opera in the Ozarks.

In a review of Union Avenue Opera’s 2014 production of A Streetcar Named Desire, St. Louis Post-Dispatch critic Sarah Bryan Miller lauded Mr. Protopapas’ “sure grasp of the score,” adding that the conductor “led his forces with clarity and energy, in a notable performance.” His performances have met with similar plaudits in the pages of Opera News, Opera Now, and Tulsa World.

Born in Athens, Greece, Mr. Protopapas studied archaeology and art history at the University of Athens before turning his attention to piano at the Boston Conservatory and conducting at Boston University. He will continue to serve as artistic director of Tulsa Opera during his tenure with Opera Santa Barbara.

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. Subscription sales are underway; single-ticket sales will begin August 15. Performances will take place at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara. To place a season subscription order, visit www.operasb.org or call 805-898-3890. To purchase single tickets after August 15, visit www.granadasb.org or call 805-899-2222.


Trattoria Vittoria, an authentic Italian restaurant located just around the corner from the Granada Theatre is offering a post-performance celebration featuring a special dinner following our matinee performance of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Sunday, April 26

5:45 pm

Trattoria Vittoria

30 East Victoria Street, Santa Barbara

 

Tickets are $25 per person, which includes choice of first and second courses, menu below.

Tickets must be purchased at the time of reservation.

Purchase your tickets by calling 805.962.5014

Trattoria Vittoria Opera Menu

 


An Operatic Evening in Verona

Posted in OSBlog, Past Events / Tags: no tag /

Opera Santa Barbara and the Bacara Resort & Spa are partnering on an extraordinary night of fine wine, fine food and fine music!

Fumanelli DinnerInspired by Verona, the “City of Love” as made famous by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this elegant evening offers the perfect coupling of fine wine, fine food and fine music! Verona’s top winemaker, Armando Fumanelli, proprietor of Fumanelli Cellars, will present four Fumanelli wines, paired with a lovely reception and four-course tasting menu by Executive Chef David Reardon. Each course will be preceded by Italian arias and duets performed by guest artists from Opera Santa Barbara.

Dinner will be served in Bacara’s magnificent circular Rotunda, situated above the resort’s lobby and courtyard. With soothing natural light filling the space, French windows and a private terrace, the Rotunda offers 360 degree views of Bacara’s magical seaside property. Architectural elements such as the beamed ceiling and massive wrought iron chandelier will be complemented by stunning floral displays by Bacara’s creative director, Lorrene Balzani.

An Evening in Verona includes:

  • Wine reception on the Bacara’s beautiful Rotunda terrace
  • Four-course dinner by Executive Chef David Reardon with Italian wine pairings in the Bacara’s spectacular circular Rotunda – CLICK HERE for a Full Menu
  • Italian opera performances with soprano Lisa Eden, baritone Daniel Mobbs and pianist Cathy Miller Popovic.

The cost for this evening $150 per person, which includes tax and gratuity.

To purchase your tickets, CLICK HERE.