Posted on October 23, 2022
After its sold-out “Tosca,” Opera Santa Barbara (Opera SB) continues its 2022-23 season with a new production of Rossini’s “La scala di seta,” featuring Santa Barbara soprano Jana McIntyre.
There will be a public performance at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 13 and a free student matinee at 10 a.m. Monday, November 14.
In Rossini’s 1812 bel canto comedy “La scala di seta” (“The Silken Ladder”), the beautiful Giulia (McIntyre), lowers a silken ladder from her window each night so that Dorvil, with whom she is secretly married, goes up to her room.
A series of misunderstandings turns their little love nest into a circus of parents, suitors, and servants plotting, listening, and ultimately happily reconciling, in an explosion of vocal Rossini fireworks.
McIntyre, winner of the George London Foundation’s first prize and Grand Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council, has been praised by Opera News for her “dancer’s grace, lively wit and vibrant soprano tone”.
During her young career, McIntyre has already worked with opera companies such as Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Palm Beach Opera.
She made her stage debut with Opera Santa Barbara in the title role of Handel’s “Semele” in January 2022, after starring in the Don Pasquale Company’s drive-in production in April 2021.
Tenor Christian Sanders, who made his Opera SB debut as a song seller in “Il Tabarro” in November 2021, returns as the dashing Dorvil, Giulia’s secret husband. The role of cunning servant Germano will be performed by baritone Efrain Solis, seen in Santa Barbara as Mark in “Cruzar la cara de la luna” in September 2021.
Tenor Benjamin Brecher, chairman of UCSB’s music department, plays Giulia’s foiled guardian, Dormont. Chrisman Studio artists mezzo Christina Pezzarossi and baritone Matthew Peterson round out the cast as Lucilla and Blansac.
The new production, which sets the plot in a tailor’s shop in the 1930s, is conceived and directed by Joshua Shaw, founding artistic director of the Pacific Opera Project in Los Angeles. Shaw, who previously led Opera SB’s “The Barber of Seville” in 2018 and “Don Pasquale” in 2021, was named a Top 30 Innovators in Classical Music in 2017 by Musical America Magazine.
Shaw has been praised for the Pacific Opera Project’s work in making opera accessible through innovative, entertaining and irreverent productions.
“There’s nothing I love more than a good bel canto comedy,” Shaw said. “‘La scala di seta’ is full of delightfully clever arias and ensembles tailor-made (pun intended) for operatic shenanigans. We’ve updated the setting of a 1930s tailor’s workshop, a “proper” location, and an explanation for the titular “silk ladder.”
Guest conductor Alexandra Enyart, who made her Opera SB debut with “As One” earlier this year and was hailed as “one of Chicago’s greatest opera gifts” by the Chicago Theater Review.
“Throughout history, lovers have been separated for class, race, religion, gender and many other reasons,” Enyart said. “This piece is an important reminder that love finds a way even if it has to enter through the window on a silken ladder.”
“La scala di seta” is the second of four operas of Opera Santa Barbara’s 2022-23 season. It will be followed by Jack Perla and Jessica Murphy-Moo’s 2015 drama “An American Dream” on February 18, and “The Valkyrie” on April 23, the second installment of Richard Wagner’s “Ring of the Nibelung” in the 1990 streamlined version of Jonathan Dove and Graham Vick.
Customers have two options for purchasing tickets: purchase full price tickets and choose their own seats at the Lobero box office (online, by phone 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 805-963-0761, or in person the same day hours); or name-their-own-price with YOU DECIDE! Ticket office on the BSF website. Seats will be allocated to them by Opera Santa Barbara and the Lobero.
The 90-minute show will be sung in Italian, with an English translation projected above the stage. There is no intermission.
Teachers and school administrators interested in the student matinee can email [email protected] for seat availability. The student matinee is made possible by funding from the John C. Mithun Foundation, the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation, the Music Performance Trust Fund, and the Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation.