UC Santa Barbara Opera Theatre and the Department of Music will present a virtual performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s two-act opera “Don Giovanni,” 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, as a YouTube Premiere.

Directed by UCSB associate professor Isabel Bayrakdarian, the abridged version of the opera will be sung in the original Italian with English surtitles. The video will be free and available to the public via the Department of Music’s YouTube channel.

Students in the UCSB Opera Theatre Program began preparing for the virtual production in the fall, rehearsing and later recording scenes in their own homes, in locations all over the country, with some students as far away as Italy and South Korea.

The remote format of the project challenged the students both musically and technologically, requiring them to learn recording techniques and become familiar with new equipment.

Bayrakdarian, who adapted her own performances to a virtual format at the start of the pandemic, directed the project and provided valuable advice and feedback during the rehearsals and recording process.

“Directing this opera during the pandemic — and presenting it virtually — posed many challenges, but it also offered the rare chance to assign the dual roles of Don Giovanni and Leporello to the same singer, thus alluding to the notion that the servant and his master are alter-egos, opposite sides of the same person,” she said. “This opera has a timeless quality, and it’s a great psychological thriller.

“Having sung the role of Zerlina in countless productions around the world, from the Salzburg Festival to the Metropolitan Opera, it’s an incredible honor for me to be able to pass on the experience and knowledge that I learned from the greatest conductors and stage directors, back to the new generation of singers and to our talented UCSB voice students.”

The virtual production will include performances by graduate and undergraduate Voice Program students, with piano accompaniment by UCSB continuing lecturer John Ballerino and doctoral student Erik Lawrence. Second year-doctoral student Valdis Jansons will sing the roles of Don Giovanni and his attendant Leporello; and first year-doctoral student April Amante will sing the role of Donna Anna.

Students in the master’s program for voice will sing the roles of Don Ottavio (Gianni Becker) and Zerlina (Marta Hovhannisyan). Doctoral candidate Naomi Merer will sing the role of Donna Elvira; and Steven Browning Thomson, a master’s student in the Choral Conducting Program, will sing the role of Masetto.

The choir will consist of undergraduate students Megan Ashley, Tyler Fulgham, Violet Joy Hansen, Keith Romero, Soohyun Ryu, Kartik Sundaram and Matthew Thayer.

“Don Giovanni,” based on the legend of the notorious libertine Don Juan, originally brought to life by the Spanish writer Tirso de Molina, is set in Seville, Spain, in the mid-18th century, and follows the demise of the shameless seducer Don Giovanni over the course of a mere 24 hours.

The direct link to the video of the performance will be available on the event page on the Department of Music’s website by mid-February. For more, visit music.ucsb.edu/news/event/2171.