Tag archives: Opera Santa Barbara

Opera Santa Barbara: Z Is for Zorro
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 23, 2024

One hundred and five years after Zorro first appeared in the 1919 novel The Curse of Capistrano by American pulp fiction writer Johnston McCulley, the dashing vigilante hero who defends the commoners and fights for his fellow indigenous people of California, shows up with all of his swordplay, cunning, and romantic flair to take the […]

A Verdi Good Show
By Richard Mineards   |   February 20, 2024

Opera Santa Barbara’s newest production – Verdi’s historical melodrama Il Trovatore, a story of superstition, revenge, and ill-fated love in medieval Spain, including the famous “Anvil Chorus” – was an absolute delight. Featuring a powerhouse cast at the Lobero with tenor Harold Meers, soprano Karin Wolverton, baritone Timothy Mix, bass Andrew Potter, with mezzo soprano […]

Something to Celebrate A-boot
By Richard Mineards   |   December 19, 2023

Opera Santa Barbara took over the Paseo Nuevo’s Center Stage Theater when it staged Xavier Montsalvatge’s charming El Gato con Botas with singers from the Chrisman Studio Artists. Puss in Boots, to give it its English title, was a purr-fect production with director of the studio, Tim Accurso, on piano for the hour-long show, mezzo-soprano […]

Montecito’s McIntyre Returns to Celebrate Maria Callas’ Centennial
By Steven Libowitz   |   November 14, 2023

The entire opera world and other cultural institutions are all taking note of Maria Callas again as the 100th birthday of the soprano who was one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century approaches on December 2. That includes both Angelina Jolie, who will star in an upcoming biopic, and […]

Opera ‘Carmen’ at You
By Richard Mineards   |   October 10, 2023

Opera Santa Barbara kicked off its 30th season on a particularly high note at the Granada when it staged Bizet’s 1875 masterpiece Carmen, the first time in seven years. The hugely entertaining three-hour, four-act show with Kostis Protopapas, general director, conducting, featured mezzo-soprano Sarah Saturnino, a Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition, in […]

Here Comes ‘Carmen’
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 3, 2023

A lot of the buzz surrounding Carmen is, naturally, centered around Sarah Saturnino, the young mezzo-soprano who makes her Opera Santa Barbara (OSB) and role debut as the fiery heroine of the title. Deservedly so, as Saturnino, who in April was chosen as one of the winners of Metropolitan Opera’s prestigious nationwide Laffont Competition, has […]

A Sweet Night for Opera
By Richard Mineards   |   May 30, 2023

It was an evening of high note, not to mention many in between, when Opera Santa Barbara hosted a captivating La Dolce Vita, A Night of Puccini gala at the Montecito Club with a sell-out crowd of 180 raising more than $200,000 for the popular organization. The fun fête, co-chaired by Karen Knight and Carol […]

An Opera of Mythical Proportions
By Richard Mineards   |   May 9, 2023

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 […]

Opera SB on Tokyo TV
By Richard Mineards   |   April 18, 2023

Japan’s primary broadcaster NHK spotlighted Opera Santa Barbara in an extensive news segment on its Lobero Theatre production An American Dream on the treatment of legal American residents of Japanese heritage after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Tokyo TV crew was in our Eden by the Beach for several days during the filming. Clearly […]

Piazza in the Theater
By Richard Mineards   |   April 4, 2023

Opera Santa Barbara’s latest production The Light in the Piazza at Center Stage Theater, this year’s annual showcase of the Chrisman Studio Artist Program, was an absolute gem. With music and lyrics by Adam Guettel and a book by Craig Lucas, the show was based on the 1960 novella by Elizabeth Spencer and the 1963 […]

Opera Shines Light on Broadway
By Steven Libowitz   |   March 28, 2023

Opera Santa Barbara’s recent seasons have represented remarkable innovation for the company, from staging productions for the Concerts in Your Car series during the pandemic, to taking on Wagner for the first time, to mounting a mountain of new works. That ambitiousness continues this weekend with The Light in the Piazza, the first time OSB […]

An American Dream in Santa Barbara
By Richard Mineards   |   February 28, 2023

Man’s inhumanity to man was vividly on display with Opera Santa Barbara’s (OSB) latest one-act production An American Dream by Jack Perla and Jessica Murphy Moo at the Lobero. The moving 70-minute work, that premiered at the Seattle Opera in 2015, is set in Puget Sound in the 1940s, intertwining the fates and tragedies of […]

Nina’s Family Aria
By Steven Libowitz   |   February 21, 2023

An American Dream represents mezzo-soprano Nina Yoshida Nelsen’s 10th production with Opera Santa Barbara over two decades, but there’s no doubt that the California debut of the 2015 opera represents a milestone for the Montecito native.  Nelsen, who has sung in the world premieres of seven new operas, had a hand in shaping the role […]

Mori to Share About Japanese Internment Camps
By Scott Craig   |   February 7, 2023

A Westmont music professor participates in a community conversation about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Paul Mori, whose grandparents and parents were all incarcerated under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, will speak on a panel with two internment camp survivors, Roke Fukumura, and Hideko Malis, on Saturday, February 4, […]

New Members on SB Beautiful Board
By Richard Mineards   |   January 24, 2023

Santa Barbara Beautiful, which focuses on the built, green, and cultural environment, has elected a new slate of officers for 2023 led by president Kerry Methner, editor and publisher of VOICE magazine for the last 20 years, and a gifted sculptor. She has been on the board since the early 2000s and was president in […]

Dunbar Joins SBEF
By Richard Mineards   |   January 24, 2023

After three years as Opera Santa Barbara’s Director of Development, Nina Dunbar is leaving to become Donor Advisement Officer at the Santa Barbara Education Foundation. In her new role, Dunbar will be overseeing the organization’s relationship with major donors involving supporting programs that enrich the academic, artistic, and personal development of Santa Barbara Unified School […]

Silky Songs
By Richard Mineards   |   November 29, 2022

After staging Puccini’s triumphant work Tosca at the Granada, it was time for Opera Santa Barbara to turn to comedy for its latest production, Rossini’s La Scala di Seta – The Silk Ladder – at the Lobero, a one-act vintage work from 1812. Home-grown soprano Jana McIntyre, who sang in Handel’s Semele last season, was […]

‘Tosca’ Grips
By Richard Mineards   |   October 11, 2022

The venerable Granada Theatre was almost packed to overflowing when Opera Santa Barbara staged a magnificent version of Puccini’s beloved masterpiece Tosca. Artistic director Kostis Protopapas conducted the orchestra on stage while stage director Layna Chianakas managed the complexities of the spartan production with film and still images superbly. Greek soprano Eleni Calenos excelled as […]

Getting ‘Tosca’ Right
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 4, 2022

Normally when Opera Santa Barbara’s (OSB) Artistic and General Director Kostis Protopapas signs a stage director for one of the company’s productions, he largely leaves the non-musical decisions behind.  “I hire directors that I trust and I let them run with it,” he said, a formula that has served Protopapas well over his six-year tenure […]

Singing in the Grove
By Richard Mineards   |   September 20, 2022

It couldn’t have been a more picturesque locale when Opera Santa Barbara hosted its second Opera in the Park concert at Godric Grove in Elings Park. More than 150 fans turned out to watch five singers, all Chrisman Studio Artists, sing famous opera works and music from the likes of Rossini, Verdi, Bizet, Mozart, Puccini, […]