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Symphony Opens Season With Mozart and a Ballet Premiere

The Santa Barbara Symphony, under the baton of Maestro Nir Kabaretti, will assemble singers and dancers from throughout the region for an all-Mozart concert — including a ballet world premiere — to open its 2017-18 season at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Granada Theatre.

Featuring Mozart’s final symphony and his famed Requiem, the latter augmented with a new work by choreographer William Soleau, the concert will be followed by an encore performance at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15.

Performances will be at the Granada, 1214 State St. Priced from $29, tickets can be purchased at or through the Granada box office, 899-2222.

“Pairing dancing with a Catholic mass is highly original to say the least,” said Kabaretti, entering his 12th season as the Santa Barbara Symphony’s music director.

“There are cultures in which dance is an accepted, even integral, part of funeral rites, and inspired by that, I thought it would be fascinating to have dancers join us for Mozart’s Requiem.

"The Requiem is Mozart’s last piece of music, and combined with his final symphony (the Jupiter) represents Mozart at his best. And for the first time ever, we have auditioned and selected chorus members specifically for this project,” Kabaretti said.

Commissioned by the Santa Barbara Symphony, Soleau’s new choreography will be performed by State Street Ballet. Featured vocal soloists will include soprano Jeanette Vecchione-Donatti, mezzo Nina Yoshida Nelsen, tenor Benjamin Bliss, and bass DeAndre Simmons.

Some 80 singers from Los Angeles to San Francisco auditioned for the professional chorus that will be assembled for the program. Both concerts will be presented in collaboration with the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts and State Street Ballet.

Soleau first gained international recognition in 1987 for his work Universe, which was performed by the Shanghai Ballet during the inaugural International Shanghai Arts Festival.

His earliest work as a resident choreographer and principal dancer for both Finis Jhung’s Chamber Ballet U.S.A. and Dennis Wayne’s Dancers in New York City during the 1980s prompted critic Allan Charlet of Back Stage to declare him “destined to become one of our most prolific dance creators.”

Vindicating that prediction, Soleau has created more than 100 ballets for companies around the world, including Ballet British Columbia, Richmond Ballet, Ballet de Montreal, the Icelandic Ballet, and Ballet Florida.

He has also created choreography for film, theater, and opera. A recipient of the Choo San-Goh Award for Choreography, Soleau serves as resident choreographer for State Street Ballet.

Complete season program information is available online at

Priced from $62, subscriptions remain available and provide the best value. Subscribers save as much as 40 percent off single-ticket prices and receive special benefits throughout the season. To order subscriptions, visit or call 898-9386.

— Tim Dougherty for Santa Barbara Symphony.


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