An Opera of Mythical Proportions

By Richard Mineards   |   May 9, 2023
Opera SB rode Die Walküre into the end of their 2022-2023 season (photo by Zach Mendez)
Crystal Manich with Nina Yoshida Nelsen (photo by Zach Mendez)

The first opera I ever saw was Wagner’s Die Walküre on a school trip to the Sadler’s Wells Opera at London’s Coliseum in 1970, a three-act production lasting nearly five hours, which almost put me off the art form for life.

Thankfully Puccini and Verdi enticed me back, so it was particularly interesting attending Opera Santa Barbara’s performance of The Valkyrie at the Lobero, concluding its 2022-23 season.

The opera from the German composer’s epic saga, The Ring of the Nibelung, was presented as an abridged version lasting two hours and 50 minutes, and was created by composer Jonathan Dove and stage director Graham Vick.

It followed the success of Das Rheingold in 2021.

Greek American soprano Alexandra Loutsion was absolutely glorious as Brünhilde, the titular Valkyrie, with bass-baritone Wayne Tigges playing the conflicted father and leader of the gods, Wotan.

The roles of the star-crossed lovers, Siegmund and Sieglinde, were taken by tenor Robert Stahley and soprano Julie Davis in her OSB debut. Company favorites Nina Yoshida Nelsen, mezzo soprano, and Colin Ramsey, bass, returned with Chrisman Studio Artists’ Sunwoo Park – and mezzo sopranos Christina Pezzarossi and Georgia Jacobson rounded out the cast as the maiden warrior Valkyries.

Company artistic director and general manager Kostis Protopapas conducted the production.

Assistant Conductor Alexandra Enyart with Alexandra Loutsion (photo by Zach Mendez)

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