Tag archives: Opera SB

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]