Production Photos by David Bazemore
Welcome to the OSB Press Room

Don Giovanni

Opera Santa Barbara is partnering with Santa Barbara City College’s Center for Lifelong Learning to offer a new course on opera during the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 quarters. Titled “Opera in Performance”, the course will be centered around the three operas being performed in OSB’s 2016-17 season – Carmen, The Cunning Little Vixen, and La rondine – and on some of the operas that will be seen in the HD-Met transmissions – Don Giovanni, Romeo et Juliette, La traviata, and Der Rosenkavalier. The classes will meet on selected Mondays and will be taught by Simon Williams, who will also be inviting guest artists and lecturers to talk about their work and about the many different challenges of creating and performing opera. In lectures and discussions, the course will examine the music, libretto, and performance history of each selected opera. It will also explore the historical background, all with the intention of taking your experience of these masterpieces to a higher level. Both beginners and seasoned veterans of opera are invited to participate.

PROGRAM SCHEDULE

October 17: Introduction to  Don Giovanni

October 22: Don Giovanni on Met HD

October 24: Introduction to Carmen, including a visit with some of the artists

November 4 & 6: Carmen at the Granada

November 7: Discussion of Carmen

January 23: Introduction to Romeo et Juliette

January 21: Romeo et Juliette on Met HD

February 20: The Cunning Little Vixen, including a visit with some of the artists

February 27: Introduction to The Cunning Little Vixen

March 3 & 5: The Cunning Little Vixen at the Granada

March 6: Discussion of Vixen, introduction to La traviata

March 11: La traviata on Met HD

April 17: In-depth visit with some of the artists from La rondine

April 24: Introduction to La rondine

April 28 & 30: La rondine at the Granada

May 8: Discussion of La rondine and introduction to Der Rosenkavalier

May 13: Der Rosenkavalier on Met HD

Registration for this new series is available through the Lifelong Learning Center website – www.thecll.org.


Mary Tonetti Dorra, an author and former University of California instructor who has supported numerous area cultural organizations over several decades, has been elected to the Board of Directors for Opera Santa Barbara. Her three-year term began in June.

Mary Dorra IIBorn in Macon, Georgia, Ms. Dorra grew up in Texas and earned a degree in philosophy at Vassar College.  Following teaching stints in Costa Rica and Uruguay she spent three years in Italy, first studying at the University of Florence and then working as a research reporter in Time Life’s Rome bureau, writing about art, fashion, and film. She went on to serve as an assistant accessories editor at Harper’s Bazaar and as assistant director of fashion publicity and promotion at Revlon, both in New York, and as director of special events at the May Company in Los Angeles before working as a freelance writer for Mattel. After earning a master’s degree in, and teaching Italian at UCLA, she taught at UCSB.

Ms. Dorra has lectured extensively on gardens and travel, and her articles have appeared in such publications as Gourmet Magazine, The New York Times, Elle Decor, the Los Angeles Times, and Travel + Leisure. She has authored three books, Beautiful American Gardens and Beautiful American Rose Gardens, published by Clarkson Potter, and the historical novel Demeter’s Choice: A Portrait of My Grandmother as a Young Artist.

A former Board member for the UCSB Art Affiliates, Ms. Dorra currently serves as Board secretary for the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts. Her local nonprofit efforts also have included the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Garden Club of Santa Barbara, Planned Parenthood, the Music Academy of the West, the Santa Barbara Symphony, and Ensemble Theatre Company.

“We are very pleased to welcome Mary Tonetti Dorra,” said OSB Board Governance Committee Chair Joan Rutkowski. “She boasts a unique life story and an impressive record of advocacy on behalf of cultural organizations in our community. Opera Santa Barbara is sure to benefit from her involvement.”

“I’m delighted to have Mary Dorra join the Opera Santa Barbara Board,” said Chair Nancy Golden. “She brings a wealth of fundraising experience, a great deal of energy, and a delightful personality. She’s a terrific addition to our organization.”


Nancy Golden, an accomplished marketing and fundraising professional with a distinguished record of involvement with area cultural and nonprofit organizations, has been named Opera Santa Barbara Board chair. Ms. Golden, who had been serving as vice-chair, will succeed Sandra Urquhart when her two-year term begins July 1. Rounding out the Board’s new complement of officers are Jon DuPrau (vice-chair), Mary Penny (secretary), Richard Banks (treasurer), and Beno Budgor (member at large). Each will serve a one-year term.

Nancy GoldenA native of Connecticut, Ms. Golden earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature at Russell Sage College in Troy, New York, before holding a succession of marketing positions at Time Inc. over a 21-year period. For the past 26 years she has served as the principal of Golden Direct Fundraising, a direct mail consultancy whose clients have included museums and environmental, performing arts, and human services organizations in the Bay Area and locally. Ms. Golden has lectured on direct mail fundraising at the University of San Francisco and presented workshops for members of the Santa Barbara/Ventura Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and for the Santa Barbara Non-Profit Support Center. Her local volunteer efforts include Santa Barbara Meals on Wheels and the Santa Barbara Public Library Adult Literacy Program. She has been a resident of Santa Barbara since 1995, having lived in San Francisco the previous seven years.

“Growing up, I sang in church and school choirs and fell in love with opera upon seeing Carmen at the Met as a seventh-grader. I don’t have much musical talent, but have always loved music, and take great pride in doing what I can to nourish and support music-presenting organizations in our community,” said Ms. Golden, who until recently served on the Santa Barbara Symphony Board. “I care deeply about Opera Santa Barbara and look forward to contributing to its success. The company has a very bright future.”

“We will certainly miss Sandy Urquhart’s calm and insightful leadership as well as her unfailing good nature. She has been an absolute pleasure to work with. At the same time we are very excited at the prospect of having Nancy step into the role of Board chair,” said General Director Steven Sharpe. “Organizations such as ours thrive to the extent they attract committed and talented advocates. Together and individually Sandy and Nancy offer undeniable proof that our company has been exceedingly fortunate in this regard.”


Opera Santa Barbara will hold Youth Opera auditions for its 2016-17 season from 12 to 5 pm on August 20 . We are looking for singers ages 7 to 18 of exceptional talent, enthusiasm, and musical ability to be a part of our dynamic company. Productions include Bizet’s Carmen in November, Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen in March, and an original children’s opera production of Hans Krasa’s Brunidbár in May. This is a unique and rewarding opportunity to be part of a professional opera company with other young artists who love to sing, act, and celebrate, in a safe, supportive, and artistically challenging environment.

YO auditionsEvery child should come ready to move, dressed in comfortable clothes that are easy to move and work in. Each child should bring 16 measures of a song they love to sing, in any language, in the key they sing it in. Please bring a copy of the music for the pianist.

The day’s schedule:
Noon-1:30 — Warmups, ensemble singing
1:30-1:45 — Break
1:45-5 – Individual auditions (5 mins each)

Auditions will take place in the Fellowship Room at First Congregational Church of Santa Barbara. There is a parking lot off State Street. The Fellowship Room entrance is accessible via the parking lot.

FCC of Santa Barbara
2101 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Please arrive early to sign up for an audition time.

If you have questions, contact Youth Opera Director Rebecca Comerford at rebeccacomerford@yahoo.com.


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.