Opera Santa Barbara Opens 2019-20 Season With MADAMA BUTTERFLY
Opera SB opens its 26th season with several returning favorite artists. Soprano Eleni Calenos and tenor Harold Meers will headline a lavish production of Puccini's opera, Madama Butterfly 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, at The Granada Theatre.
Ranging in price from $31-$206, tickets can be purchased online at granadasb.org or by calling 805-899-2222.
Ms. Calenos returns to the Granada stage as the titular Madama Butterfly after her Opera SB debut in a "heart-melting performance" (Voice Magazine) as Mimì in last season's opener, La bohème. A signature role for the Greek soprano, she has been praised as Cio-Cio San in recent productions at Shreveport Opera, Annapolis Opera, Ash Lawn Opera and Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra.
Popular tenor and Opera SB favorite, Mr. Meers returns as B. F. Pinkerton, a role he has been described as embodying so well "from his youthful and handsome look, confident swagger, and delightful tenor that sits well for the character." (Arts Louisville) He has performed the role with Kentucky Opera, Opera Columbus, Nashville Opera and Amarillo Opera. Mr. Meers was last with Opera SB as Des Grieux in 2017's Manon.
Joining Calenos and Meers are award-winning mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock as Suzuki and baritone Luis Alejandro Orozco in his role debut as Sharpless. Both are returning to Santa Barbara after singing principal roles as part of last year's anniversary season. Babcock is widely recognized for her commanding performances in classic and modern works and earned praise for her recent and unforgettable role debut as the suffering wife Elizabeth Proctor in Opera SB's The Crucible. Orozco has performed leading roles across the US and around the world and was noted in last season's opener alongside Ms. Calenos for his "richly realized baritone vocals" as Marcello.
Kostis Protopapas, Opera Santa Barbara Artistic and General director, will conduct the OSB Orchestra, and Octavio Cardenas will direct the opera. Mr. Cardenas previously directed Carmen at Opera SB in 2016.
Set on the hills above the Nagasaki harbor in Imperial Japan, Madama Butterfly is a window to a world of conflicting cultures and values. The libretto tells a story of heartbreak through the thill and anguish of love. In this new production, imaginative projections create a visual narrative matched by Puccini's lush and lyrical score.
"I look forward to revisiting one of opera's greatest masterpieces, in a production that reflects our 21st century understanding of cultural conflicts and with a dream cast of principal artists," says Maestro Protopapas.
Opera Santa Barbara's 26th season also includes OSB premiere productions at the Lobero Theatre featuring the dreamy impressionistic melodies in Daniel Catán's Il Postino (sung in Spanish) March 7 and 8; and the grand choruses and passionate duets of Charles Gounod's Romeo & Juliet (sung in French) April 25, May 1 & 3.