Bandits, swashbucklers, and star-crossed lovers populate a lineup of pageantry and high drama inspired by the music and history of Spain in Opera Santa Barbara’s (OSB) 30th Anniversary Season.
The company will return to offering two performances for each opera. Additionally, it will present a Maria Callas Tribute Concert in collaboration with UCSB’s Argyropoulos Chair in Hellenic Studies, and a production of a family-friendly opera featuring the Chrisman Studio Artists.
Fitting with the season’s Spanish theme, OSB will open its 30th anniversary celebration with special performances and a float at the 2023 Old Spanish Days Fiesta Parade, Friday, Aug. 4. The float will showcase characters from the season’s operas and performances by company artists.
The official opera season opens at the Granada Theatre with Bizet’s “Carmen,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1.
Mezzo-soprano Sarah Saturnino, who recently was announced a Grand Fin at the Granada Theatre with Bizet’s Carmen and a-list Winner in the Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition, makes her OSB debut in the title role, surrounded by a host of company favorite artists.
Tenor Nathan Granner and bass-baritone Colin Ramsey make their role debuts as Don José and Escamillo, and soprano Anya Matanovic returns as Micaëla. This production, which will feature dancers from State Street Ballet, will be directed by Fenlon Lamb and conducted by Kostis Protopapas, OSB artistic and general director.
Tickets for both performances are available at https://ticketing.granadasb.org/18283.
On Nov. 10 sopranos Eleni Calenos and Jana McIntyre headline a celebration of the 100-year birthday of legendary Greek soprano Maria Callas. The concert will feature signature opera arias and ensembles of the great diva, accompanied by the Opera Santa Barbara Orchestra, conducted by Protopapas. The concert is presented in collaboration with UCSB.
A lecture on the life and legacy of Maria Callas by her principal biographer Helen Mattheopoulos, will be presented by UCSB at the Lobero Theatre on Nov. 8.
“We are so excited to be commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the birth of perhaps the most celebrated opera singer of the 20th century with this concert, and accompanying lecture,” said Helen Morales, the Argyropoulos Professor of Hellenic Studies.
OSB will perform the program again on at 2 p.m. Nov. 12 in the Kavli Theatre at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center in Thousand Oaks.
Tickets for the Santa Barbara performance will be available Aug. 1 at https://www.lobero.org/series/opera-santa-barbara/. Tickets for the Thousand Oaks performance will be available Aug. 15 at https://bapacthousandoaks.com/.
The annual showcase of the company’s Chrisman Studio Artists will take place at the Center Stage Theatre on Dec. 1-3, featuring Xavier Montsalvatge’s 1948 opera “El Gato con Botas” (“Puss in Boots”). Tickets will be available this fall at https://centerstagetheater.org/.
“As we look forward to our 30th anniversary season, nothing makes me happier than to be able to announce that we will be returning to a two performance schedule for our Mainstage operas,” said Protopapas. “While the environment for the performing arts remains challenging, Opera Santa Barbara is happy to be the bearer of good news.
“We are grateful for the support of the public and the donor community who have embraced our artistic and business choices in the past few years. We look forward to a rich season of music theater that truly has something for everyone.”
Opera Santa Barbara plans to offer free student matinee performances of “El Gato con Botas” and “Zorro,” subject to school availability. Interested teachers and school administrators can contact Tim Accurso at email@example.com.
For more about Opera Santa Barbara’s 2023-24 season visit https://www.operasb.org/.
Students ages 8-18 receive free admission to all OSB performances. Some conditions apply. To inquire, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Youth tickets.”