La bohème, November 2011, Photo by David Bazemore
Welcome to the Past Events

Richard Banks, a retired CPA and longtime supporter of local nonprofit organizations, has been elected to the Board of Directors for Opera Santa Barbara. His three-year term began this month.

Richard BanksMr. Banks earned a degree in business administration at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, before beginning his career as a tax accountant and auditor for Arthur Andersen & Co. He went on to serve as a controller and chief financial officer for a number of companies involved in manufacturing, agriculture, government contracting, and oil and gas development. Mr. Banks also worked in family wealth planning, specializing in high-net-worth individuals and family businesses. His professional affiliations include membership in the American Institute of CPAs, the California Society of CPAs, Tech Coast Angels, and the Family Firm Institute.

His extensive involvement with local nonprofit boards has included Crane Country Day School, Transition House, Ensemble Theatre Company, the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital Foundation, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Santa Barbara Zoo, Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Foundation, the Community Environmental Council, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, and the Lobero Theatre, among others.

“Richard has a background rich in cultural discernment and community engagement, and as such is an ideal fit for our organization,” said Joan Rutkowski, immediate past chair of Opera Santa Barbara’s Board of Directors and current chair of its Governance Committee. “We are immensely fortunate to have an individual of his caliber contribute to the company’s leadership discussions.”

Joann Younger, a successful entrepreneur whose ventures have included popular women’s clothing stores in Santa Barbara and Sacramento, has been elected to the Board of Directors for Opera Santa Barbara. Her three-year term began in January.

Joann YoungerA native of Dallas, Ms. Younger founded a development firm in Sacramento in the 1960s before turning her attention to women’s fashion, opening the juniors store Sacks Howe Avenue in 1975 and later the boutique Chantilly Lace, both in Sacramento. She currently owns Renaissance Fine Consignment, which has locations in Santa Barbara and Sacramento.

“Joann is a self-made businesswoman whose keen instincts and moxie are certain to prove invaluable as we embark on an exciting new era at Opera Santa Barbara,” said Joan Rutkowski, immediate past chair of the company’s Board of Directors and current chair of its Governance Committee. “Given her impressive record of accomplishment and her infectious enthusiasm, we expect her contributions to our organization to be both substantial and of lasting significance.”

Opera Santa Barbara’s Mosher Studio Artist program will end its Masterclass series with a free masterclass with celebrated pianist Warren Jones.


The class will be held on Saturday, May 14, 10-12 pm, Lotte Lehmann Hall, UCSB

Attendance to watch the class is being offered FREE to the general public.

Opera Santa Barbara’s 2015-16 season will resume with a sprightly production of Gaetano Donizetti’s delightful bel canto work The Elixir of Love at the historic Granada Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara on March 4 and 6. Performances will take place at 7:30 pm on Friday, March 4, and at 2:30 pm on Sunday, March 6. Ranging in price from $29 to $204, tickets can be purchased at or by calling 805-899-2222.

“As far as romantic comedies go, you can’t do any better than The Elixir of Love,” said Opera Santa Barbara Artistic Director Kostis Protopapas. “It’s Donizetti’s most fun score, and this style of opera is called ‘bel canto’ (beautiful song) for a reason! Everyone who comes to this show is guaranteed to laugh, fall in love with our dashing cast, and leave humming the tunes!”

Donizetti’s endearing confection 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 includes soprano Angela Mannino as the alluring landowner Adina, tenor Marco Cammarota as her peasant suitor Nemorino, baritone Luis Alejandro 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.

Soprano Angela Mannino made her Metropolitan Opera debut in May 2010 as the 15-Year-Old Girl in Berg’s Lulu upon completing two seasons at Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. Most recently she sang the Fairy Godmother in Cendrillon at Kentucky Opera, Papagena in The Magic Flute at Dallas Opera, and Valencienne in The Merry Widow at Lyric Opera of Chicago on short notice. Ms. Mannino also has been seen in a wide variety of performances with the New Orleans Opera and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Currently a resident artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, tenor Marco Cammarota recently sang the roles of Rodolfo in La Bohème and Alfredo in La Traviata with the Lafayette and Owensboro symphony orchestras, Nick in La fanciulla del West, and Tybalt in Romeo et Juliette, all as a member of Kentucky Opera’s studio artist program. This season he appeared as Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire with Kentucky Opera, reprised the role of Alfredo with the Rochester Philharmonic, and sang the role of Malcolm in Macbeth at the Glimmerglass Festival.

Baritone Luis Alejandro Orozco has performed with Opera Saratoga, Opera Santa Barbara, Des Moines Metro Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Syracuse Opera, Opera Theatre of St Louis, and Washington National Opera, among others. His many roles have included Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Escamillo in La tragédie de Carmen, Don Giovanni, Giulio Cesare, Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia, and Marcello in La Bohème. Mr. Orozco recently appeared as Papageno at the Seoul International Opera Festival in South Korea.

Making his leading role debut at Opera Santa Barbara, bass-baritone Zachary Owen has performed with Cincinnati Opera, Kentucky Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Central City Opera, Opera North, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. He has performed the roles of Ashby in La fanciulla del West, Don Fernando in Fidelio, and Matouš in Smetana’s The Kiss, among many others. At a recent Cincinnati Opera composer’s workshop Mr. Owen worked alongside Jake Heggie, Jack O’Brien, and Terrence McNally to develop two characters for Heggie’s new opera, Great Scott.

Complete artist biographies are available at

Sung in Italian with English supertitles, Opera Santa Barbara’s production of The Elixir of Love is generously supported by the Towbes Fund for the Performing Arts, Michael and Anne Towbes.

Opera Santa Barbara’s 2015-16 season will continue with Puccini’s great one-act operas Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi on April 22 and 24.

The Granada Theatre is located at 1214 State 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.

PrintOpera Santa Barbara’s popular outreach program for elementary schools, The Opera Lab will be touring schools in February, March, April and May, 2016!

The program will tour South Santa Barbara County schools on February 1-12 and again on March 21-25. The program will tour Ventura County schools on March 7-11. The program will tour North Santa Barbara County schools on March 14-18. Additional sessions will be added in late March and early May as needed.

The Opera Lab is an innovative highly interactive program designed to teach your students the A-B-and high Cs of opera! Guided by four professional singers specially trained in improvisation, your students will learn the building blocks of this fascinating art form and use them to construct their very own opera, performed for them on the spot.

With its music, theatrics, spectacle and humor, opera has everything people love. That is why year after year, community members and educators who experience Opera Santa Barbara’s programs beg for more. Opera Santa Barbara’s program, The Opera Lab brings an interactive build-an-opera adventure to your students – at no charge to your school!

To schedule an Opera Lab for your school, CLICK HERE.