Jana McIntyre
From a very young age, soprano Jana McIntyre has felt right at home on the stage. On Saturday, the Santa Barbara native will perform the role of Norina in Opera Santa Barbara’s presentation of Don Pasquale, A Live Drive-In Opera at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. (janamcintyre.com photo)

After a year of inaction, Opera Santa Barbara’s artists are eager and ready to get back to in-person performances — even if the venue is a drive-in stage at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

Kostis Protopapas, Opera Santa Barbara’s artistic and general director, has been working hard to bring back live music and performances during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. His efforts culminate Saturday evening with a performance of Don Pasquale, A Live Drive-In Opera.

The presentation is a hilarious, energetic version of the Gaetano Donizetti comedy, directed by Josh Shaw, founder and artistic director of Pacific Opera Project, and depicting 1920s Santa Barbara silent film mogul Donald Pasquale.

One of the lead performers is Santa Barbara native Jana McIntyre, cast in the role of Norina. At just 28 years old, McIntyre already has compiled an illustrious and award-filled career as an opera artist.

From an early age, McIntyre was encouraged to sing by her parents, Lana and John. She got serious about it during her years at Montecito’s Crane Country Day School and, in seventh grade, was connected by her piano teacher to Agatha Carubia. An extraordinary voice teacher, Carubia introduced her to the magical world of opera and classical music.

“I immediately fell in love with the magical world of opera’s history, languages, poetry, composers, performances, and the vivacity of its artists, costumes and venue that make this art form incomparable,” McIntyre told Noozhawk.

At Santa Barbara High School, she studied theater with Otto Layman and music with Phillip McLendon and performed any number of roles in musicals while her choir also appeared throughout France and Great Britain.

After earning undergraduate degrees in music and psychology at UCLA and a master’s in music from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, she performed with opera companies in communities throughout the country.

Jana McIntyre

A rising opera star, soprano Jana McIntyre got her start performing in musicals and productions at Montecito’s Crane Country Day School and Santa Barbara High School. (janamcintyre.com photo)

Just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, she won the top prize in the George London Foundation Competition and Awards in New York City and was a grand finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council competition.

Equally at home with a concert and recital repertoire as she is on the opera stage, McIntyre most recently sang the soprano solo in Mozart’s Requiem with the Tulsa Signature Symphony in Oklahoma.

Overjoyed to be rehearsing and working again in — or, at least, near — her hometown, McIntyre is looking forward to Saturday’s opportunity.

“I couldn’t ask for a better team,” she said. “Opera is a grand and elegant art form. We tell wonderful stories with music, visual arts, vivid costumes and theatrics.

“It has been a sorely missed art form this past year. Don Pasquale is a perfect production to reopen with live performances. It is over-the-top hilarious, jovial and charming!”

Opera Santa Barbara’s Don Pasquale is the season opener for the Concerts in Your Car series at the Ventura County Fairgrounds at 10 W. Harbor Blvd. in Ventura. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Click here to purchase tickets online.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at news@noozhawk.com. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at news@noozhawk.com. The opinions expressed are her own.