Marilyn Horne Song Competition Winners Recital

By Steven Libowitz   |   April 18, 2019
Last year’s Marilyn Horne Song Competition Winners Kelsey Lauritano and Andrew SunPhoto by Mark Allan

Also on the horizon before the opening of the Music Academy’s impressive eight-week 2019 Summer Music Festival in mid-June is the recital featuring the 2018 Marilyn Horne Song Competition Winners mezzo-soprano Kelsey Lauritano and pianist Andrew Sun at Hahn Hall on May 24. The singer joined the Oper Frankfurt studio last September two months after winning the competition, while the pianist served on the coaching staff at Manhattan School of Music before joining the Resident Artist Program at Minnesota Opera. In the conclusion to their four-city tour, the pair will perform a program of Schubert’s Ganymed, Du Bist die Ruh,’ and Suleika I; Ravel’s Histoires Naturelles; Falla’s Seven Popular Spanish Songs; plus the world premiere of Without Music, composed by Ricky Ian Gordon for the competition winners. Lauritano has received raves for the first performance on the tour, with New York Classic Review lauding her “clear expressive intent behind every choice she makes… [singing] with perfect control, precisely modulating both pace and dynamics, without ever losing her conversational interpretative ease,” while ARS Raving Mad enthused, “Hers is the level of preparedness and easy technique that makes you forget about the singing. It actualizes and elevates the music and the poetry, and doesn’t boast in its depth and agility (though she has those qualities in spades).”

Tickets to each concert are $10, free for ages 7-17 when accompanied by an adult. Call (805) 969-9797 or visit

Classical Corner: Betty’s Back

UCSB professor emeritus Betty Oberacker, a prodigy whose introduction to the piano also came at age three, is the centerpiece of the Santa Barbara Music Club’s penultimate concert before its annual scholarship award winners pair of concerts where she will also perform one of the works being played a week later at Hahn Hall by MAW’s Sophiko Simsive (see above). Oberacker, who has been artist-in-residence at 55 universities, conservatories, and music festivals worldwide and maintains an active performing and teaching schedule, will play two preludes and fugues from Bach’s famed The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II, pairing the most polarizing tonalities of the 24 possible keys via the C major, BWV 870, and F-sharp minor, BWV 882, before taking on the composer’s Italian Concerto, BWV 971. Clarinetist David Singer then joins to conclude the program with Brahms’ Sonata in F Minor, Op. 120/1. As always, admission to the 3 pm concert on Saturday, April 20, at the Faulkner Gallery in the Santa Barbara Public Library, is free. 

Book ‘Em 

In her new book The Caesar of Paris, Susan Jaques – a member of the Napoleonic Historical Society and Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art & Architecture who also serves as a gallery docent at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles – explores a little-known facet of Napoleon’s Reign: his obsession with antiquity. Jaques talks about and signs copies of the engaging blend of biography, art, and cultural history that looks at Napoleon’s life through the prism of art and his fascination with Rome on Thursday, April 18, at Chaucer’s Books… That’s also where local hero environmentalist, activist, and author Marc McGinnes shares and signs his recently published book, In Love with Earth, on Monday, April 22. The memoir chronicles his ongoing work in the environmental movement that dates back to the aftermath of the devastating 1969 oil blowout and includes his involvement in the conference that presented the Santa Barbara Declaration of Environmental Rights, the first Earth Day celebrations, and the creation of the Environmental Defense Center, the Community Environmental Council, and the Environmental Studies program at UCSB.

As National Poetry Month starts to come to a close, writer George Yatchisin celebrates the publication of his book The First Night We Thought the World Would End with a launch party at Café Ana at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, April 24. The evening will include readings from the book – which has garnered some early praise (“There’s a gathering feeling to this book; meditative and lyrical, his poems contemplate a range of wonders from the minutiae to the grand”) – plus new food and drink poems specifically written for the evening’s location. 

Focus on Film 

Two entries in the Carsey-Wolf Center’s just-launching “New Waves” series serve as bookends for a screening of an early propaganda film about marijuana – with all three movies clocking in at more than 60 years old – in this week’s list of special screenings.

First up is Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City (Roma città aperta, 1945), which began production only months after the end of the Nazi occupation of Rome and the arrival of Allied forces during the Italian campaign of World War II. Employing both professional actors and those new to film, the movie features a large cast of characters including children, landlords, clergy, military men, unwed mothers, cabaret girls, collaborators, resistance fighters, and subversives of all kinds, set against the backdrop of the city itself. UCSB Film and Media Studies professors Anna Brusutti and Cristina Venegas will discuss Rome, Open City’s stature as a harrowing piece of historical immediacy following the 7 pm screening on Thursday, April 18, at the Pollock Theatre on campus.

The following Thursday, April 25, brings Hiroshima Mon Amour, the classic 1959 collaboration between French New Wave director Alain Resnais and the novelist Marguerite Duras. Centering on a short, intense affair between a French actress and a Japanese architect, the movie takes place in the rebuilt Hiroshima, where the modernization can’t hide memories of the war and the surrounding traces of atomic mass destruction as past and present, trauma and erotic attraction, and the personal and the collective intermingle. University of Pittsburgh’s Lucy Fischer joins Carsey-Wolf Center director Patrice Petro for the post-screening discussion.

In between comes an event centering on a screening of Reefer Madness,the 1936 propaganda film produced by the federal government as a cautionary tale of the “evils” of marijuana, including “inevitable” addiction. Innocent high school students are introduced to the drug in a movie that mixes scare tactics, lurid details, and melodramatic moments in an effort to dissuade the youth of America long before “Just Say No” became the rallying cry of the war on drugs. Perhaps even more interesting is that the screening, at 7 pm on Saturday, April 20, at The Alcazar Theatre in Carpinteria, comes from KopSun LLC, a Carpinteria-based cannabis health and wellness company.


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