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Gerald Carpenter: Academy Closes July With Two Spectacular Events

It's hard not to regard this weekend's musical events as the high-water point of the Music Academy of the West's 2017 Summer Festival, even though the succeeding weeks are teeming with wonderful music and fabulous performances.

First, there is this summer's grand opera, "The Elixir of Love (1832)," with music by Gaetano Donizetti and libretto by Felice Romani, which plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 27, and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, July 29, at the Granada Theater, 1214 State St.

The opera, conducted by Speranza Scappucci and directed by James Darrah, stars Joshua Blue (Nemorino), Boya Wei (Adina), Geoffrey Schellenberg (Belcore), Hannah Rose Kidwell (Gianetta), and Ben Lowe (Dr. Dulcamara).

Then, in honor of the Music Academy's 70th anniversary, they will present what they are calling "The largest classical music event in Santa Barbara's history:"

A concert by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Alan Gilbert (his final concert as NY Phil's music director), at 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 31, in Santa Barbara City College’s La Playa Stadium.

The program will consist of two works: "Three Latin-American Dances for Orchestra (2002)" by Gabriela Lena Frank; and Ludwig Beethoven's "Symphony #9 in d-minor, Opus 125 'Choral' (1824)."

The Beethoven, in the academy's words, "will feature Music Academy superstar alumni soprano Susanna Phillips ('02,’03) and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke ('02), joined by tenor Joe Kaiser, bass Morris Robinson, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale ...”

After the concert there will be "a stunning fireworks display over the ocean."

Wear a hat, big enough to protect your eyes and head, but not so big as to interfere with your neighbors’ enjoyment of the show.

Romani based the libretto of "The Elixier of Love" on Eugène Scribe's libretto for Daniel Auber's opera, "Le philtre (1831)."

But, at Donizetti's insistence, there were several significant changes made, chief of them, the insertion of the tenor aria, "Una furtiva lagrima," easily the opera's most famous aria, and one that's enjoyed a lasting stand-alone popularity in the concert hall.

Listening to it (never having heard of the Auber opera), you can certainly see why Donizetti got the big bucks.

Tickets to "The Elixir of Love" are $40-$125, and available at the Granada Theatre Ticket Office, 1214 State St., by phone at 969-8787 or 899-2222, or on line at www.musicacademy.org.

Note: Tickets bought for this performance are only available for pick up at the Granada Ticket Office. Print-at-home is not an option for Granada events.

For the New York Philharmonic, general admission tickets (bleacher seating, first-come, first-served) are $10 each. Young people ages 7-17 receive a free general admission ticket when accompanied by a ticketed adult.

Remaining tickets are on sale at the Music Academy of the West Carsey Ticket Office, 1070 Fairway Road, 9-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, or call 969-8787, or visit www.musicacademy.org.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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