Photo by David Bazemore for Opera Santa Barbara
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Opera Santa Barbara’s 22nd season will conclude in grand style with a pair of Giacomo Puccini’s great one-act operas, the heart-warming Suor Angelica and the comic farce Gianni Schicchi, at the historic Granada Theatre on April 22 and 24. Performances will take place at 7:30 pm on Friday, April 22, and at 2:30 pm on Sunday, April 24. Ranging in price from $29 to $204, tickets can be purchased at www.granadasb.org or by calling 805-899-2222.

“A teenage girl gets pregnant in a world that has no place for single mothers or their children. That’s the story of Suor Angelica. Greedy relatives fight over their deceased uncle’s fortune with hilarious consequences. That’s the story of Gianni Schicchi. Puccini’s double bill of drama and comedy, containing some of his best known tunes, will make you cry and laugh in the span of less than two hours,” said Opera Santa Barbara Artistic Director Kostis Protopapas.

Often performed together, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi 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.

“I love the juxtaposition of dreaming and scheming in these two operas,” said Ms. Lamb, who is making her company directorial debut. “Suor Angelica dreams of reuniting with her son and being accepted by her family. Gianni Schicchi schemes to dupe a greedy family into uniting his daughter with their favored son. Dreams of heaven and redemption shown in clear opposition to the schemes that might end in Dante’s Inferno – with all the ups and downs and beautiful music you could ever hope for in one night of opera.”

Ms. Kanyova has enjoyed success with a wide range of repertoire at Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Portland Opera, Utah Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Los Angeles Opera, among many others. Recent highlights of the current season include a role debut as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire with Kentucky Opera, and Ms. Kanyova’s critically acclaimed portrayal of Pat Nixon in Michael Cavanagh’s production of Nixon in China with San Diego Opera.

Mr. de Peppo has performed in opera houses throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, and South America. Recent engagements include Leporello in Don Giovanni at Finnish National Opera, the title role of Don Giovanni at Mozart Festival Opera, and Don Pasquale at Miami Lyric Opera and Opera North Carolina. He has appeared as Leporello in Prague, Milan, Rome, Mexico City, and Jerez, Spain, among others, and as Dr. Bartolo at Teatro Colón (Colombia), Minnesota Opera, and Palm Beach Opera. He made his New York debut as Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola at Lincoln Center and his Canadian debut as Mustafa in L’italiana in Algeri with Opera Hamilton.

The cast also includes contralto Alissa Anderson (Princess and Zita), soprano Monica Yunus (Lauretta), tenor Jason Slayden (Rinuccio), and local businessman and former California State Assemblyman Brooks Firestone, who will portray the recently deceased aristocrat Buoso Donati in Gianni Schicchi.

Complete artist biographies are available at www.operasb.org.

Sung in Italian with English supertitles, Opera Santa Barbara’s production of Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi is generously supported by the Christopher Carroll Endowment Fund.

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.


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.”


Opera Santa Barbara’s Mosher Studio Artist program will be offering a series of free masterclasses. From coaching on acting skills to performing Italian repertoire, these classes are a wonderful opportunity to watch professional coaches work one-on-one with our artists.

Following is a list of classes:

Stage Director Alan Hicks: Monday, February 22, 6-8 pm, Weinman Hall, Music Academy of the West

LA Opera Vocal Coach Nino Sanikidze: Saturday, March 12, 1-3 pm, Weinman Hall, Music Academy of the West

Italian bass Stefano de Peppo: Saturday, April 9, 1-3 pm, Weinman Hall, Music Academy of the West

UCSB Faculty Member Linda di Fiore, Saturday, April 23, 1-3 pm, First Congregational Church, 2101 State Street

Celebrated pianist Warren Jones: Saturday, May 14, 1-3 pm, Lotte Lehmann Hall, UCSB

Attendance to these classes is being offered FREE to the general public.


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.


Opera Santa Barbara’s popular Noontime Concert series is expanding, reaching public libraries throughout the region. Following is the list of free concerts being offered:

February 17: Santa Barbara Public Library
February 19: Ventura Public Library
February 24: Santa Barbara Public Library
March 2: Santa Barbara Public Library
March 8: Thousand Oaks Public Library
March 10: Ojai Public Library
March 18: Ventura Public Library
April 6: Santa Barbara Public Library
April 12: Thousand Oaks Public Library
April 13: Santa Barbara Public Library
April 14: Ojai Public Library
April 15: Ventura Public Library
April 20: Santa Barbara Public Library
May 10: Thousand Oaks Public Library
May 11: Santa Barbara Public Library
May 12: Ojai Public Library
May 13: Ventura Public Library

All concerts begin at 12:00 noon and feature popular and lesser-known operatic arias and duets.

If you work with a public library in Santa Barbara or Ventura Counties and are not currently scheduled, please contact our office and we will add your library to the schedule of concerts!

For more information, call 805-898-3890