Tag archives: Opera SB

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, […]

New OSB Chair Appointed
By Richard Mineards   |   August 2, 2022

Nicholas Burlett is the new chair of Opera Santa Barbara replacing Joan Rutkowski after a four-year reign. Burlett, a graduate of Cornell University, New York, is a director of engineering for an international safety and security software firm and moved to our Eden by the Beach in 2004. “We must be willing to look for […]

Farewell to Zach Mendez
By Richard Mineards   |   July 5, 2022

Zach Mendez, Opera Santa Barbara’s Director of Operations and member of the organization’s team since 2018, and a member of the chorus before that, is leaving to dedicate his talents full time to his photography business. “Zach has been my closest partner, deputy, confidant, and friend for over four years, and every area of our […]

The Bistro Beat
By Richard Mineards   |   June 28, 2022

To the Riviera aerie of Joan Rutkowski, board chair of Opera Santa Barbara, for a delightful Bistro Musicale for gourmands and oenophiles organized by Epicurean SB founder Amy Baer Robinson, and concert pianist Jacopo Giacopuzzi, founder of the two-year-old Italian organization La Piazza. Jacopo and his sister, Maddalena, both alumni of the Music Academy, played […]

OSB’s Grand Finale
By Richard Mineards   |   June 21, 2022

Opera Santa Barbara ended its season in grand style with a lavish production of Verdi’s 1853 classic La Traviata at the Granada, last performed in our Eden by the Beach 11 years ago. Soprano Anya Matanovic was superb as the titular Fallen Woman with her beloved played rousingly by tenor Nathan Granner in the three-act […]

The Grand Return of Opera SB
By Steven Libowitz   |   June 7, 2022

Grand opera is returning to the Granada Theatre. After Opera Santa Barbara’s (OSB) two-plus years filled with ways to creatively cope with the COVID pandemic that ranged from virtual performances, to two Concerts in Your Car outdoor staged adaptations (that included, appropriately, a version of Carmen) and a season of smaller, shorter one-acts, reworkings, and […]

As One Moves
By Richard Mineards   |   April 5, 2022

Opera Santa Barbara, under artistic director Kostis Protopapas, brought a new dialogue to an old artform with its latest production, As One, at the Lobero. The innovative 75-minute production, featuring baritone Evan Bravos and mezzo soprano Ashley Kay Armstrong, both Chrisman student artist alumnae, as the transgender characters before and after transitioning. An on-stage quartet […]

Opera Santa Barbara is on a Roll!
By Richard Mineards   |   November 9, 2021

Just a couple of weeks after launching its new season with mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna at the Granada, the singers, accompanied by talented dancers from the State Street Ballet and the Opera Santa Barbara Orchestra under artistic director Kostis Protopapas, were at the top of their game with a delightful double […]

Opera Santa Barbara is Back with a Bang!
By Richard Mineards   |   October 12, 2021

The singers, under artistic director Kostis Protopapas, launched its first post-pandemic season with mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon), a 2010 commission from the Houston Grand Opera with music and lyrics by Jose “Pepe” Martinez. With inspiring music from Grammy winners Mariachi Los Camperos, the production, […]

Mystery Music
By Richard Mineards   |   February 15, 2018

Santa Barbara’s musical youth shone at the First United Methodist Church when the youth opera and youth symphony under Opera SB artistic director Kostis Protpapas performed a creative production of Benjamin Britten’s Noah’s Flood. The 1958 work, based on a 15th-century Chester mystery play, featured bass-baritone Vincent Grana and mezzo soprano Chelsea Melamed as his […]