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Opera Santa Barbara’s Season Finale: Puccini’s ‘La Rondine’

Opera Santa Barbara will conclude its 23rd season with the company’s premiere production of Giacomo Puccini’s poignant operetta La Rondine. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 28, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 30, at the Granada Theatre, 1214 State St.

Puccini’s lone operetta, which debuted in the shadow of World War I following a fitful creative process, relates the bittersweet tale of a jaded Parisian courtesan who longs for genuine love with a younger man.

Filled with lavish costumes and Puccini’s signature effervescence, the three-act work offers glimpse of European life in the early 20th century.

“La Rondine, which we are performing almost exactly 100 years after its Monte Carlo premiere, is one of Puccini’s most elegant works,” said Kostis Protopapas, Opera Santa Barbara artistic director, who will conduct the production.

“Set in Belle Époque Paris, the story is at once reminiscent of La Traviata, La Bohème and Die Fledermaus,” Protopapas said.

”The score displays all of Puccini’s mastery of vocal writing and orchestral color, but also shows a rare and surprising personal touch, revealing some of the mature composer’s own musings about life, love, and art,” he said.

Soprano Karin Wolverton will make her company debut as Magda, the worldly woman who falls in love with a naïve student.

Tenor Adam Diegel, a veteran of several Metropolitan Opera productions, will sing the role of Ruggiero, the country boy who causes Magda to question the cost of her glittering existence.

Rounding out the cast are: baritone Peter Lindskoog as Rambaldo, Magda’s wealthy protector; tenor James Callon as the poet Prunier; and soprano Elizabeth Kelsay as the maid Lisette, Prunier’s lover. Tara Faircloth, whose credits include Wolf Trap Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago, directs.

Complete artist biographies are at

Sung in Italian with English surtitles, Opera Santa Barbara’s production of La Rondine is supported by the Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation and the Mithun Family Foundation.

Tickets are priced from $29-$204, and can be purchased at or by calling 899-2222.

All ticket-holders can attend free talks led by Protopapas 45 minutes before each Opera Santa Barbara performance at the Granada.

For more information, visit or call 898-3890.

— Tim Dougherty for Opera Santa Barbara.


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