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Opera Santa Barbara Appoints New Artistic Director

José Maria Condemi is known in the opera world for imaginative, creative stage work

José Maria Condemi has been named Opera Santa Barbara’s new artistic director, the arts organization announced Friday.

José Maria Condemi
José Maria Condemi

Called “one of the most promising and impressive directors in all opera,” Condemi made his directorial debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, directing Deborah Voigt in Lyric’s 2008-09 season productin of Tristan und Isolde and, most recently, the Lyric’s critically acclaimed new production of Ernani with Salvatore Licitra.

“I look forward to producing exciting opera in Santa Barbara and to develop artistic and logistical collaborations with companies across the nation,” Condemi said. “I also anticipate increasing collaborations with some of Santa Barbara’s remarkable organizations, as well as nurturing the creation of new work and the training of young artists in the field.”

In demand for his imaginative and creative stage work, Condemi has directed productions for companies nationwide and abroad, including San Francisco Opera (Tosca, Cosi fan Tutte and the Elixir of Love for Families); Seattle Opera (La Bohème and Il Trovatore); Canadian Opera Company (Luisa Miller); Minnesota Opera (Maria Padilla); Cincinnati Opera (Don Giovanni and Ainadamar); Portland Opera (Don Giovanni); Austin Lyric Opera (Il Trovatore) and Opera San Jose (Don Pasquale, L’Elisir d’amore, Die Zauberflöte). For the Western Opera Theatre (San Francisco Opera) he has helmed productions of Die Fledermaus and Don Giovanni, which toured nationwide.

Condemi’s collaborations with contemporary opera composers include directing the workshop premiere of the San Francisco Opera-commissioned Earthrise by Pulitzer Prize-winner Lewis Spratlan, as well as Hector Armienta’s River of Women and The Weeping Woman. His theater directing credits include Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest, Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Physicists and Federico García Lorca’s The House of Bernada Alba.

His upcoming engagements include directing San Francisco Opera’s Faust with Patricia Racette and Madama Butterfly with Daniela Dessi; Atlanta Opera’s Cosi fan Tutte; and a new production of Carmen for Lake George Opera.

Condemi’s responsibilities as artistic director include providing vision and guidance to the Board of Directors for long-range planning and artistic development of Opera Santa Barbara. He will make recommendations regarding choice of productions and venues, and have supervision over all artistic personnel for opera productions, participate in fundraising activities and represent Opera Santa Barbara on both local and national levels.

Click here for more information on Opera Santa Barbara. Click here to make a donation.

— Steven Sharpe is general director of Opera Santa Barbara.

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