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Opera Santa Barbara Opens Ticket Sales for 2016-17 Season

Single tickets are on sale now for Opera Santa Barbara’s 2016-17 season, which will open Nov. 4 and 6 with Georges Bizet’s timeless drama Carmen, followed by productions of Leoš Janáček’s imaginative The Cunning Little Vixen March 3 and 5 and Giacomo Puccini’s richly melodic La rondine April 28 and 30.

Ranging in price from $29-$204, tickets can be purchased by visiting www.granadasb.org or calling 805.899.2222. Performances will take place at the historic Granada Theatre, 1214 State St., in downtown Santa Barbara.

Opera Santa Barbara’s 23rd season is the first to be planned in its entirety by Kostis Protopapas, who was named the company’s artistic director in July 2015.

“It’s my happy challenge as artistic director to assemble a season that gives some sense of what this amazing art form has to offer in terms of entertainment, feeling and meaning,” he said. “We look forward to sharing these works with you, in productions painstakingly prepared by our production staff, orchestra and chorus and featuring some of the finest young American singers working today.”

Protopapas will make his company conducting debut for the season-opening production of Carmen, Bizet’s ever-popular tale of love and jealousy set amid the vibrant, unruly streets of 19th-century Seville.

The drama about a strong-willed gypsy seductress, a charismatic bullfighter and a hapless soldier scandalized Paris upon its premiere in 1875 but has since become one of the world’s most frequently staged operas, beloved for its irresistible melodies and captivating dances.

Directed by Octavio Cardenas, Opera Santa Barbara’s production will feature some of the region’s best-known Flamenco dancers and will mark the inaugural appearance of the company’s new Youth Opera chorus for singers ages 8-18.

Mezzo-soprano Leann Sandel-Pantaleo will make her company debut in the title role. Lauded by the Portland Press Herald for her “glorious voice,” she has sung Carmen with both Opera Omaha and Tulsa Opera, and last season she performed as Amneris in Aida with Sarasota Opera.

Other recent roles include Tamara in the world premiere of Enemies, A Love Story with Palm Beach Opera, Ursule in Béatrice et Bénédict with Houston Grand Opera and Siegrune in Die Walküre with the Metropolitan Opera.

Sandel-Pantaleo also has sung Siegrune at the Berlin State Opera, Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the BBC Proms in London. This season she will appear as the Old Prioress in Dialogues of the Carmelites with Sarasota Opera. 

Critically acclaimed tenor Harold Meers will sing the role of Don Jose, the soldier whose consuming obsession turns deadly.

Since his professional debut with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Meers has frequented the principal lyric venues of North America, including appearances with San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, Baltimore Opera, New Orleans Opera, Boston Lyric Opera and Minnesota Opera, among many others.

He sang the role of the Duke in Opera Santa Barbara’s 2007 production of Rigoletto.

Rounding out the cast will be baritone Keith Phares as the flamboyant bullfighter Escamillo and Trinidadian soprano Jeanine De Bique as Micaela. 

Opera News has hailed Phares’ Grammy Award-winning recording of Elmer Gantry with Florentine Opera as “a strong contender for iconographic recognition.”

An alumnus of the Music Academy of the West, he also has performed with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera and numerous others.

De Bique boasts many international awards and credits and will be among the soloists for the Santa Barbara Symphony’s season-opening performance of Beethoven’s stirring Symphony No. 9 in October. 

Opera Santa Barbara’s production of Carmen will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, at the Granada Theatre. Performances will be sung in French with English surtitles. 

Superstar soprano and UC Santa Barbara faculty member Isabel Bayrakdarian will headline the cast of The Cunning Little Vixen, Janáček’s humorous and tender allegory about the connections between people and animals as well as the cyclical nature of life and death.

Directed by Crystal Manich and designed by Francois-Pierre Couture, the new production will appeal to both children and adults and will be performed in English with English surtitles.

Baritone David Kravitz will portray the Forester, and mezzo-soprano Lauren McNeese will make her company debut as the Fox.

Hailed as an “electrifying” performer by The New York Times, Bayrakdarian has captivated opera and concert audiences the world over. Kravitz and McNeese are increasingly sought after by opera companies throughout the nation.

The 2016-17 season will conclude with Opera Santa Barbara’s premiere production of La rondine, Puccini’s elegant and poignant operetta about a worldly woman who falls in love with a naïve younger man, who causes her to question the cost of her glittering existence.

Soprano Karin Wolverton will make her company debut as Magda, tenor Adam Diegel will sing the role of Ruggiero and baritone Zeffin Quinn Hollis will perform as Rambaldo. Tara Faircloth will direct.

Diegel’s extensive credits include appearances with the Metropolitan Opera, while Wolverton and Hollis continue to earn plaudits for their versatility as performers.

Complete artist biographies are available at www.operasb.org.

To place a season subscription order, visit www.operasb.org or call 805.898.3890. Subscribers can purchase season tickets for their children ages 17 and under for just $42. These discounted tickets allow for seating with parents in all sections of the Granada except the loge and boxes.

Related Programming

The Nov. 4 performance of Carmen will be preceded by an opening-night dinner in the McCune Founders Room of The Granada Theatre beginning at 5 p.m.

Participants will enjoy valet parking, a sumptuous dinner, private intermission and a post-performance reception. Tickets cost $250. For tickets or additional information, call 805.893.3890. 

Opera Santa Barbara also will offer a series of free noontime concerts at public libraries throughout the region beginning Oct. 10.

Featuring participants in the company’s Mosher Studio Artists Program performing arias and duets with piano accompaniment, the concerts will take place at libraries in Ojai, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Thousand Oaks and Ventura.

A performance schedule is available online at www.operasb.org/freeconcerts.php

Open to all ticket holders, free informative talks will take place 45 minutes before each Opera Santa Barbara performance at The Granada Theatre. 

For more information, visit www.operasb.org or call 805.898.3890.

Tim Dougherty represents Opera Santa Barbara.


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