Rigoletto, February/March 2007, David Bazemore Photo
Welcome to the OSB Press Room

Opera Santa Barbara has designed a series of opera-themed events, including several opera-themed dinner parties that are being hosted by patrons and friends of Opera Santa Barbara.

Each party can accommodate a limited number of guests. Spaces at the individual parties are purchased separately and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Party Book sales began at the Opera Ball on February 13, 2015. Party spaces not sold at the fundraiser are now available to the general public!

To purchase a space at a party, call Opera Santa Barbara at 805.898.3890.

 

The Art of Sushi at Pagoda House

Sunday, March 22, 5:30 PM

This party, now celebrating its third year, has become one of the most memorable of all our Party Book items. Guests will learn to make dazzlingly delicious sushi rolls at the famed Pagoda House on Santa Barbara’s Riviera. Takako Wakita, 
SB City College sushi instructor, will teach you the different types of sushi rolls and demonstrate how to prepare, cut and serve in a flawless step by step process. The Pagoda House, a Japanese style home, looks as if it should be sitting on a hill in Tokyo. Built in 1910, the home has been meticulously restored by our host Maggie Gallant.

Cost per person: $175 ($50 tax deductible)      Number Available: 1 Space Remaining

A Streetcar Named Desire

Monday, April 6, 6:30 PM

Enjoy a New Orleans-inspired dinner party featuring the cast members from Opera Santa Barbara’s April production of
 A Streetcar Named Desire. This exciting party will be held at the home of Joan & Geoffrey Rutkowski on the Santa Barbara Riviera. A delicious dinner featuring cuisine from “the Bayou” will entice guests, and you will have an exclusive opportunity to meet some of the cast members from our production of Streetcar.

Cost per person: $175 ($50 tax deductible)       Number Available: 3 Spaces Remaining

La traviata

Wednesday, April 8, 6:30 PM

If you’ve ever been to a party at the home of Bob & Sandy Urquhart, you will know that no detail is spared! For this special French-inspired evening, guests will enjoy a sit-down catered dinner interspersed with scenes from the sublime film of La Traviata starring Teresa Stratas and Placido Domingo. Joining the party will be Opera Santa Barbara’s former Artistic Director Valery ryvkin, who will share his insight and intimate knowledge of the performers, the film and Verdi’s seminal work.

Cost per person: $175 ($50 tax deductible)       Number Available: SOLD OUT

Porgy & Bess

Saturday, August 29, 6:30 pM

Host Jean Rogers will present an Al-Fresco dinner on the night of the August full moon at her glorious home in Birnam Wood. The event will feature a custom designed farm-to-table feast inspired by Gershwin’s English-language opera Porgy & Bess. Southern-inspired cuisine will tempt your palate, as you are serenaded by a guest artist who will perform some of the memorable music from the opera, including the very popular song “Summertime”, all under the glow of the full moon.

Cost per person: $175 ($50 tax deductible)       Number Available: 15 Spaces Remaining

The Barber of Seville

Date to be arranged by the Host with all bidding attendees

Enter the world of Bartolo’s Seville as guests enjoy a sparkling evening at the home of Peter & Deborah Bertling. This intimate dinner will celebrate Seville and the delicious tapas and wines of Southern Spain. Guests are encouraged to dress in their Spanish finery, as they enjoy the music of Rossini’s greatest masterpiece.

Cost per person: $175 ($50 tax deductible)       Number Available: 5 Spaces Remaining

Carmen

Date to be arranged by the Host with all bidding attendees

From the Habanero to the Torreador Song, the music of Bizet’s Carmen has lived on as one of the most popular works in the operatic repertoire. Hosts Diane Dodds and David Reichert have conceived an evening celebrating fine music, fine food and fine times all themed on the opera Carmen.

Cost per person: $175 ($50 tax deductible)       Number Available: 9 Spaces Remaining

Tosca

Date to be arranged by the Host with all bidding attendees

If anyone fully appreciates the pleasures of Italian cooking and fine dining, it’s Richard and Susan Aberle! Guests at this party will enjoy an authentic Roman meal in the spirit of Puccini’s Tosca! This delicious sit-down dinner will be catered by Via Maestra. In a feast fit for Baron Scarpia, you will enjoy some of Puccini’s finest music as a backdrop to this extraordinary evening.

Cost per person: $175 ($50 tax deductible)       Number Available: 8 Spaces Remaining

Karaoke 
and Modern Art

Sunday, September 27, 6:00 PM

It’s time to grease your vocal cords and “show your stuff” as Opera Santa Barbara hosts a Karaoke Night at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Santa Barbara. Guests will sip champagne and feast on delectable appetizers while enjoying the museum’s exhibits. Then, a professional DJ will join us with a complete Karaoke system, to enable guests to sing (or lip sync) their favorite melodies. The acoustics in the space are stellar, and it’s a perfect venue to showcase your Karaoke talents!

Cost per person: $85 ($25 Tax Deductible)       Number Available: 30

The Phantom of the Opera

Friday, october 30, 7:00 PM

Just in time for Halloween, this event will be held in one of the most unique locations in all of Santa Barbara: the former jail on the top floor of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse! Hosts Rodney Baker and Robert Ooley are known for their ability to create “magic” at their events, and we can assure you a most memorable, if not unforgettable, evening. Guests are invited to dress in their Phantom finery, as they enjoy live music from the musical, drinks and delicious food all set in the most remarkable and haunting venue.

Cost per person: $175 ($50 tax deductible)       Number Available: SOLD OUT

Christmas Lights Trolley Tour

Sunday, December 20, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

For the third year in a row, Opera Santa Barbara has reserved one entire Trolley for the annual Christmas Lights Trolley Tour. This fun and engaging event tours several local neighborhoods, where the homes have been stunningly decorated with thousands of holiday lights and special decorations. The families of the homes greet guests as the trolley passes, and lively holiday music completes the trolley tour. Prior to the Trolley Tour, guests will enjoy a “Tailgate Party” hosted by OSB General Director Steven Sharpe where he will serve hot mulled wine and cider as well as a special selection of holiday treats.

Cost per person: $100 ($25 Tax Deductible)       Number Available: 22 Spaces Remaining

 

To purchase a space at a party, call Opera Santa Barbara at 805.898.3890.


The arrival of the Mosher Studio Artists for our production of L’italiana in Algeri means the return of our free Noontime Concert series!. These concerts are offered FREE to the public, and feature the talented members of our Mosher Studio Artists Program. Concerts feature a diverse repertoire of popular and lesser-known operatic offerings, all accompanied by piano.

All concerts will be held on Wednesdays in the Faulkner Gallery at the Santa Barbara Public Library.

February 2015 DATES: February 18,  25 and March 4.

NOTE: The March 4 concert will be held in the McCune Founders Room of the Granada Theatre.

March 2015 DATES: March 11, 18 and 25

LOCATION: The Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara

START TIME: 12:00 Noon

For more information, call 805-898-3890

 

 

 

 


PartyBookTelephone copyJoin Opera santa Barbara for a staged performance of Gian Carlo Menotti’s one-act comic opera The Telephone. Premiering in 1947, the opera tells the story of Ben, who is leaving on a trip and wants to propose to his girlfriend Lucy before leaving. however, Lucy is occupied with interminable conversations on the phone. Ben leaves without asking Lucy for her hand in marriage, but finds a way to make one last attempt, over the phone. the performance, which will be directed by Artistic director Jose Maria Condemi, will be presented at the glorious home of herb & elaine Kendall and will include cocktails and appetizers. But that’s not all. Guests will have the opportunity to attend a rehearsal for this production on August 23, prior to the performance, and witness firsthand how to stage and prepare an opera.

Cost per person: $150 ($35 Tax Deductible)

To purchase tickets, call 805.898.3890


WebPageTelephone

 

Opera Santa Barbara will present Menotti’s one-act opera The Telephone on Monday, August 25 at 12:00 pm at the Center Stage Theatre.

Premiering in 1947, the opera tells the story of Ben, who is leaving on a trip and wants to propose to his girlfriend Lucy before leaving. however, Lucy is occupied with interminable conversations on the phone. Ben leaves without asking Lucy for her hand in marriage, but finds a way to make one last attempt, over the phone.

This special presentation will be directed by OSB Artistic Director Jose Maria Condemi, and will feature soprano Molly Wilson as Lucy, baritone Daniel Scofield as Ben and piano accompaniment by Lin Fielding.

Tickets are $18 per person, and can be purchased at the Center Stage Theater Box Office or by calling 805-963-0408.


Opera SB Patron Services Associate Malena Jones sat down with Maestro Francesco Milioto to talk about Falstaff, which he calls “a complete joy ride from the beginning to the end… be ready for high-paced music, fun, scheming…”

Malena Jones (MJ): Falstaff is such an ensemble piece, and you’re responsible not only for the singers, but also for the orchestra! How do you keep it all together?

1506555_722943821079922_73820856_nFrancesco Milioto (FM): Good communication, and good physical communication with my arms, eyes, and face, and my body language. Some people say it’s good baton technique, but it has to go beyond that. You have to physically engage more than everyone’s sense of sight. You have to be able to make them feel something and want to do something, and want to play a certain way at a certain time. It’s a matter of being physically more musical than just your right arm or your left arm, and keeping your eyes up, looking at the singers, and being ahead with your communication – with both the stage and the pit, and quickly using your eyes and your ears to adjust anything that might be going astray – or about to go astray. It helps to not only keep my brain a little bit ahead of the music, but also to see things and understand and anticipate things, and be as helpful as I can. I try to be a combination of physically showing the music, and staying in and out of people’s way as they need me. I don’t try to impose myself on them, but I try to create and be as organically in the situation as I can.

MJ: Are there any motivic elements that mirror the characters in Falstaff? For example, is there a theme we might hear when Falstaff enters the room, or when Nannetta and Fenton are together?

FM: There aren’t any leitmotifs for specific people, but you do have, with Nannetta and Fenton, the little tag that they sing at the ends of the duets, which happens again in the third act, and with Quickly’s “reverenza”. With Falstaff I think you have a type of music that happens in each of the situations. There’s a robustness to his music that shows his character, and what he wants and needs to do. It’s more about situational music, being careful with the setting of the text and creating the atmosphere.

MJ: What do you think makes this piece distinctly Verdian?

FM: Wow. That is a huge question, because Verdi didn’t write a lot of comedies, and this piece came many many years after a lot of the things that we know – and 5 or 6 years after Otello, so what makes this piece distinctly Verdi – there are so many new things in it that Verdi does. This piece is at a completely different level of combining music and word. You almost don’t notice that the music it there, because there are little arias for Fenton, and a little one for Nannetta as the nymph (that also has chorus and some other action), but it’s not a spot-on “aria.” There are no other spots in the opera that actually stop. It goes beyond what he used to do, and what I would say that’s similar about it is that he uses a lot of the same musical language. He uses the same rhythmical language. It’s not like it’s not recognizably Verdi anymore, it’s just Verdi on a higher level in the more subtle things, like structure and combinations of tempi, and trying to keep the same inner-rhythmic pulse. I think he goes beyond the music and into the audiences’ memory of which tempos and beats and feelings work. This is similar to the way Shakespearian actors do work. They memorize things using rhythms, and the certain flow of the way the lines need to go – Verdi really bonded that together with the music that he created for this score, and to me it simply is one of the greatest pieces. It works from beginning to end, and not only has a complete structure, but also an inside structure that goes beyond words and music to convey physical beats that you understand, that are also associated with the characters and that translate into other situations seamlessly. This is a new and completely fantastic ending of an operatic career.

MJ: That sort of goes along with my next question, which is – are there any references to Verdi’s previous works, such as Otello?

FM: I think that the closest thing to this piece is definitely Otello. The use of grace notes, trilling, the use of music that we might know associated with Iago, and associated with some jealousy that obviously has importance here, but I think the closest opera to Falstaff would be Otello. In Otello you have arias, duets, and it’s more in the standard style of Verdi, but in this piece it’s incredible how he translates the music that you would associate with a type of character or a type of situation into this comical situation…it gives you a turnaround in your ear, and your eye when you combine the two things, and that for me is probably the most important thing.

MJ: What should we listen for with this opera?

FM: You should listen to the words and the situation, and you should treat this opera like a play. You should come ready to use your eyes as much as your ears, because there’s not really a time for you to stop and enjoy what’s going to happen next. Come and treat this like a musical play, or a hybrid of something that you’d see at straight theater, compared to a musical, compared to an opera. It’s not the type of piece where you’re going to stop for applause or an encore. It’s a complete joy ride from the beginning to the end, and you have to be ready for high-paced music, fun, scheming, and use your eyes and ears to figure it out, and enjoy it as it happens. Let it roll with you to the end!

MJ: What can you tell us about the fugue at the end?

FM: The fugue at the end is probably one of the hardest things in operatic ensemble writing that I’ve come across in my career. There are a few spots in Mozart where you get some larger ensembles, but this is a nod to the likes of Bach, and Verdi does it brilliantly here. It’s really one of the most complicated places for the vocal ensemble – it’s not as difficult for the orchestra. Trying to balance all of the voices and trying to make it sound like a fugue so that you create the sound you would have if you had someone at the piano, or an orchestral fugue. You want to hear every entrance clearly; you want to hear every theme. You want to hear all of the variations of the themes, and you want to hear the layering of what the composer does with fragments of the theme, parts of the theme, rhythms of the theme, words of the theme. Verdi uses everything, and turns it upside-down and backwards. It’s difficult, after having been singing for an hour and 50 minutes of singing to end on a fugue! It’s hard to build up the energy, focus, and intensity to do that. For me it’s a matter of a different kind of focus at the end, and I’m such a pianist and instrumentalist that I really do insist on the singers using the dynamics that help us create what we need to actually make it a vocal fugue, and that’s what crazy and important about it.

MJ: Thank you very much for your insights – it’s made me so much more excited to see (and hear) this opera again!