Tag archives: Opera

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 […]

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 New Setting for an Old Favorite
By Richard Mineards   |   July 25, 2023

Italian composer Puccini’s beloved opera La bohème took on a whole new tone at the Granada as part of the Music Academy’s 76th annual Summer Festival. Instead of Paris’ Latin Quarter in the 1830s, as in the original 1895 work, the setting was Brooklyn and Manhattan in 2011, a time of restless energy and a […]

A Bohemian Occupation
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 18, 2023

Mo Zhou wasn’t sure what the Academy’s new vocal program directors Sasha Cooke and John Churchwell had in mind when they asked her to helm this summer’s production of La bohème. A traditional take with period costumes and mid-19th century mannerisms? Something more modern?  Instead, they asked Zhou, who had assistant directed three previous productions […]

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 […]

Music in the Air
By Richard Mineards   |   May 23, 2023

It was definitely an evening of extremely high note when Venezuelan male soprano Samuel Marino sang in his U.S. premiere with Camerata Pacifica at the Music Academy’s Hahn Hall before winging to the U.K. to appear at the famous Glyndebourne opera festival. Marino, 20, studied voice and ballet in Caracas and at the Paris Conservatory […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Music at the Movies
By Steven Libowitz   |   November 8, 2022

The Music Academy launches its new season of projecting Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series at the recently technically upgraded Hahn Hall with Luigi Cherubini’s rarely performed Medea, with Met soprano star Sondra Radvanovsky as the mythic sorceress who will stop at nothing in her quest for vengeance. The Met-premiere production recorded live transmission at […]

Mystic Pirates Aboard
By Richard Mineards   |   October 18, 2022

Former Santa Barbara Yacht Club commodore Roger Chrisman and his wife, Sarah, who recently bought the 83-foot steel-hulled schooner Mystic Whaler, which boasts 110-foot masts and 3,000 square feet of sail, sailed it up to our tony town’s harbor from its Channel Islands base in Oxnard for a three-week stay, just a tiara’s toss from […]

‘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 […]

Opera on the Ocean
By Richard Mineards   |   October 4, 2022

It was a case of high Cs on the high seas when Hiroko Benko, owner of the popular whale-watching vessel Condor Express, hosted a two-hour opera cruise for 70 music lovers, the first in three years. Featuring new Chrisman Studio tenor artist Kyle Rudolph from San Diego, and soprano Chelsea Chaves from Orange County accompanied […]