POP's Josh Shaw Takes On 'Barber' For Opera Santa Barbara

Gioachino Rossini's laugh-out-loud romantic comedy returns to Opera Santa Barbara for the first time since 2001. The Barber of Seville has been entertaining audiences for more than 200 years with its outrageous stage antics and vocal acrobatics. Featuring some of opera's most recognizable tunes, audiences are sure to leave the theater singing Figaro, Figaro, Fiiiiiii-garo!

The Barber of Seville tells the story of a smart and savvy young woman who must outsmart a pompous old lecher who stands between her and her true love. Hilarity ensues as the would-be couple, aided and abetted by a wily barber, run through a barrage of trickery that includes more than a few false identities, a most unusual voice lesson and opera's funniest case of scarlet fever. They meet a few close shaves along the way, but in the end time's up for the old goat and love trumps all.

Opera Santa Barbara's Artistic & General Director, Kostis Protopapas conducts a crack team for this production. Mezzo-soprano Cassandra Zoe? Velasco, tenor Andrew Bidlack and baritone Alexander Elliott make their company debuts as Rosina, Almaviva, and Figaro. "These three singing actors are the complete package," says Protopapas. "They possess top-notch voices, stage presence to burn, and on top of that they look like Hollywood stars." Peter Strummer and Nathan Stark will sing Bartolo and Basilio, the opera's bumbling baddies. The irrepressible Josh Shaw, Artistic Director of the trail-blazing Pacific Opera Project, directs this fanciful production inspired by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi?.

"There's a reason Barber of Seville is opera's most popular comedy," says General & Artistic Director Kostis Protopapas. "Rossini is a melodic genius and a master comedian... The Barber of Seville is the most fun evening at the opera you'll ever have."

• "The Barber of Seville" plays Friday, March 2, 2018 at 7:30pm and on Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 2:30pm • Performances take place at The Granada Theatre, 1214 State Street, Santa Barbara CA 93101
• Ticket Prices: $28 to $188
• Online Orders: www.granadasb.org

• Phone Orders: 805.899.2222

Press Contact: Marylove Thralls -marylove@operasb.org

THE CAST

Mezzo soprano Cassandra Zoe? Velasco is one of Mexico's rising stars of opera. This season, she sang Rosina in The Barber of Seville with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Dorabella in Cosi? fan tutte with Opera San Jose, and "dominated the stage" in the title role in Maria de Buenos Aires with Nashville Opera. She also returned to the Metropolitan Opera to sing Olga in The Merry Widow. In Mexico City, Ms. Velasco has starred as Angelina in La Cenerentola (Mexico National Opera Company), Isabella in Italiana in Algeri (Arpegio Productions), and as Charlotte in Werther (Festival Frances); she made her Opera de Bellas Artes debut as Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana. Baritone Alexander Elliott launched his 2017-18 season with a standout performance as Sonora in Puccini's La fanciulla del West in his New York City Opera debut, lauded as "quite simply perfect" by The Observer. He also sang John Brooke in Mark Adamo's Little Women with Annapolis Opera and returns to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for performances of Haydn's Creation and Handel's Messiah. Opera News named tenor Andrew Bidlack one of their 'top 25 brilliant young artists.' In their review of Omaha Opera's production of Barber of Seville they write: "The Count Almaviva of Andrew Bidlack was full of youthful energy and confidence. He sang with great sensitivity, and by Act II, his voice's full color and strength blossomed." This season he returned to the Metropolitan Opera in the role of Beppe in Pagliacci and sang Arcadio in Florencia en el Amazonas with Florida Grand Opera. After fifteen years of performing in German and Austrian opera houses, Peter Strummer has become one of America's foremost character bass-baritones and has earned a reputation for his versatility as an actor. Career highlights include appearances with The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Seattle Opera in roles including Dulcamara in The Elixir of Love, Doctor Bartolo in Barber of Seville, Baron Zeta in The Merry Widow, and Alberich in Wagner's Ring Cycle. UCSB alumnus Nathan Stark sings Basilio and OSB Chrisman Studio Artists Elle Valera and Byron Mayes sing the roles of Berta and Fiorello, respectively.

THE PRODUCTION

Josh Shaw, founder and Artistic Director of Pacific Opera Project (POP), will direct the production. Shaw is quickly gaining a national reputation for his creative, funny, and irreverent productions, including a Star Trek- inspired production of Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio and his LA hipster version of La bohe?me for POP, as well as his spicy production of Tabasco: a burlesque opera for New Orleans Opera. Ken MacDonald created this production's fanciful scenery for Pacific Opera Victoria's February 2016 staging of "The Barber of Seville" (Stage Director Morris Panych). MacDonald's set design is influenced by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi?, who favored buildings with organic forms during his "naturalist" period. MacDonald's set offers curving, monumental-looking edifices that look both modern and timeless. Art-nouveau filigree and bold splashes of color add interest. OSB General/Artistic Director Kostis Protopapas conducts. Protopapas took on the newly created dual role in November 2017 and has served as the company's Artistic Director since 2015. For his complete bio, visit www.operasb.org.

This will be the second time the company has presented "The Barber of Seville." The opera had its company premiere in 2001.

The Barber of Seville [Il barbiere di Siviglia]
Music by Gioachino Rossini
Libretto by Cesare Sterbini, adapted from Pierre Beaumarchais's "Le Barbier de Se?ville" Premiere: February 20, 1816 at the Teatro Argentina, Rome.
Previous OSB Productions: 2001

Two performances at the Granada Theater:
Friday, March 2, 2018 at 7:30pm
& Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 2:30pm
Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage Approximate Running Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes



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