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Joan Rutkowski Re-elected Board Chair for Opera Santa Barbara

Opera Santa Barbara is pleased to announce the re-election of Joan Rutkowski as chairwoman of the board for the 2013-14 season.

Rutkowski served as artistic administrator for the company from 2000 to 2008, and joined the Board of Directors in 2008.

The opera’s other elected officers include Dan Reicker, vice chairman; Eric Oltmann, treasurer; Martin Moskovits, secretary; and Duncan Mellichamp, immediate past president.

“This year, Opera Santa Barbara is celebrating our 20th anniversary season, and we are tremendously grateful to our patrons, donors, staff and many past members of the board for their considerable support of our local opera company,” Rutkowski said. “We have designed a new season which brings three spectacular operas to the Granada Theatre, in addition to a wide variety of outreach programs designed to engage audiences of all ages in the world of opera.”

During the first year of Rutkowski’s tenure, the board focused on strengthening the governance infrastructure, creating a three-year strategic plan to guide the organization’s focus from 2013-16, and increasing the board’s participation in donor cultivation and fundraising.

The board consists of 19 members. Rutkowski also partnered with the board presidents of the Granada Theatre and the Santa Barbara Symphony to collaborate on driving best practices and sustainability for the participating organizations.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary season, Opera Santa Barbara will present three fully-staged opera productions in the Granada Theatre. The season will open with Puccini’s Tosca on Nov. 8-10, continue with Verdi’s Falstaff on March 7-9 and conclude with Menotti’s The Consul on April 25-27.

In addition to the opera productions, the company will continue its extensive educational outreach programs, which last year reached more than 4,300 local youths. Their popular program for local schools, The Opera Lab, was extended to Ventura schools this past year, and in the coming year the program will reach into schools in Thousand Oaks and Ojai as well.

Other planned activities include a performance of a short opera written about Julia Child titled Bon Appetit on Sept. 30 to kick off Epicure SB; a special holiday concert and their third-annual Valentine’s Gala at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore. The company has recently hired a community engagement manager whose role is to develop programs that extend the work of the organization more broadly throughout the community.

Over the past two years, subscription and single ticket sales to Opera Santa Barbara’s productions have more than doubled.

“More and more people are discovering the beauty of opera productions in the Granada Theatre, and we are particularly grateful to all those who participated in the renovation of this glorious space,” Rutkowski said. “I encourage anyone in the community who has not experienced opera in the Granada to join us for one or more of our wonderful productions this coming season.”

For more information, click here or call 805.898.3890.

— Steven Sharpe is general director of Opera Santa Barbara.

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