Tag archives: Opera

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Onegin a Win
By Richard Mineards   |   July 26, 2022

We were all clearly in the right aria when the Music Academy staged Tchaikovsky’s classic Eugene Onegin at the Granada, directed by Peter Kazaras, head of Opera UCLA. With the orchestra under Slovenian-born conductor Daniela Candillari, Yale-educated baritone Samuel Kidd as Onegin, and soprano Johanna Will as his lover, they were absolutely superb in the […]

Seeking a New Tune
By Richard Mineards   |   July 26, 2022

Patricia Westley, daughter of the Santa Barbara Polo Club’s John Westley, who used to manage the polo training school, had just scored the experience of a lifetime two months before Russia invaded Ukraine. The Kiwi-American opera singer had won an Atkins Foundation fellowship to work at the historic Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, finding an […]

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 […]

Pursuing a Love, Talent for Opera
By Scott Craig   |   June 28, 2022

Westmont senior Sibongakonkhe (“Sibo”) Msibi joins an elite group of 20 Fellows this summer at the Vocal Institute at the Music Academy in Santa Barbara. The first Westmont student to achieve this honor, he aspires to become “one of the best opera singers out there.” Chosen from an international pool of talented applicants who seek […]

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 […]

Sum’MAW of 75
By Steven Libowitz   |   June 14, 2022

The Music Academy of the West’s return to its normal extremely event-packed eight-week summer music festival in 2022 happily coincides with a major milestone for the institute headquartered right here in Montecito. If previous partnerships with the New York Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra haven’t already done so, MAW’s 75th anniversary season truly places […]

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 […]

Rome at the Granada
By Richard Mineards   |   May 17, 2022

Opera Santa Barbara took over the cavernous stage at the Granada for A Night in Rome, a monochromatic themed tribute to the iconic 1960 Oscar-winning Federico Fellini-directed satire comedy-drama film starring Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg, with a sold-out crowd of 154 guests raising more than $180,000 for the popular organization. The boffo bash, emceed […]

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 […]

Celebrating a Classic American Opera
By Scott Craig   |   February 1, 2022

Westmont presents Aaron Copland’s great 20th century American opera The Tender Land January 28 and 30 at 7 pm at Center Stage Theater in Paseo Nuevo. Purchase tickets, which cost $15 for general admission, $10 for seniors or military, at the Center Stage box office at centerstagetheater.org. Please visit the Center Stage website to view […]

Westmont Opera Returns to the Stage with ‘Tender Land’
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 27, 2022

American composer Aaron Copland was inspired to write his opera The Tender Land when he saw Walker Evans’ famed Depression-era photographs and read James Agee’s “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.” Now, Westmont Opera is presenting the rarely seen 1954 work as its 2022 production at the Center Stage Theater, representing the school’s return to […]

‘Semele’ Stuns
By Richard Mineards   |   January 25, 2022

Opera Santa Barbara was again in fine form when it presented Handel’s Semele at the Lobero, which was first performed in 1744 at London’s Covent Garden. A fusion of elements of opera, drama, and oratorio, the popular work is taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses with Semele, the mother of the god Bacchus, superbly played by soprano […]

It All Started at Crane…
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 11, 2022

Opera soprano Jana McIntyre’s first public performance as a singer came at age five right here in Montecito. Except she wasn’t supposed to be singing.  “We had to recite poems at our graduation at Crane,” said McIntyre, recalling her first year at Crane Country Day School, the K-8 school where academic challenge is balanced with […]