Opera Santa Barbara presents Handel’s “Semele”, a comedy set in the 1920s | Culture & Leisure


Posted on December 9, 2021
| 09h00

Opera Santa Barbara opens the new year with its third debut company of the season: a 90-minute adaptation of Handel’s comedy “Semele”, set in the silent movie era in Hollywood. Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 14 and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 16 at the Lobero Theater. Tickets are now on sale at the Lobero Theater.

George Frederick Handel, known as the composer of “The Messiah”, was one of the most famous opera composers. “Semele”, with an English libretto based on Greek mythology, premiered in London in 1744, and caused an uproar with its insolent subject: Jupiter, king of the gods, pursues a romantic relationship with the mortal princess Semele.

When Jupiter’s wife Juno learns about it, she quickly prepares Semele’s disappearance. In the production of Opera Santa Barbara, Jupiter becomes a film mogul with wandering eyes, and Semele an ambitious ingenuous who encourages his advances at her peril. The score is filled with vocal pyrotechnics and comedic shenanigans.

“Handel is one of the greatest opera composers of all time. No other composer exults the human voice like him. Yet opera fans often stay away from his operas because of their length, ”said Kostis Protopapas, artistic director and general manager of Opera SB. “This version of ‘Semele’ is only 90 minutes long and contains some of Handel’s best tunes.

“Now more than ever, we have to start the New Year on a light note. ‘Semele’ is our New Years toast in Santa Barbara for a happier year 2022.”

Santa Barbara-born soprano Jana McIntyre, winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Award, sings the title role. The cast includes Sarah Coit as Juno; Robert Stahley of the Los Angeles Opera Young Artists Program as Jupiter; Music Academy of the West alum Logan Tanner as Athamas; Colin Ramsay in the dual role of Kadmus and Somnus; Christina Pezzarossi as Ino; and Chrisman Studio Artist Sunwoo Park as Iris.

The production will be directed by Los Angeles-based Sara Widzer, who made her company debut with “Carmen in your Car” in December 2020. Rising star conductor Emily Senturia, with recent appearances at the Washington National Opera, Houston Grand, Boston Lyric and Wolf Trap Operas, made their Santa Barbara Opera debut conducting members of the Santa Barbara Opera Orchestra.

Projection designer Yuki Izumihara, choreographer Nicola Bowie, lighting designer Helena Kuukka, wig and makeup designer Heather Sterling and costume designer Stacie Logue complete the creative team.

“The great thing about baroque opera is that there is so much freedom of interpretation,” said conductor Emily Senturia. “Working on music from that era is so much fun because even though it’s centuries old, reinventing it through new adornments, new tempos and new choices is part of the process. “

All customers must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test within the past 72 hours, along with photo identification. Guests are required to wear a face cover indoors. Detailed health protocols are available on the Lobero Lobero website.

Reserved tickets can be purchased online at lobero.org and are currently priced at $ 149 and $ 99. A limited number of You Decide! Tickets (pay what you can) are also available by phone through the Lobero Box Office, 805-963-0761, thanks to a grant from the Holly and Walter Thompson Foundation, Bank of America, NA Co-trustee.

About Madeline J. Carter

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