The Barber of Seville

Gioachino Rossini

REVIEWS

“Rossini’s comic masterpiece has earned its 202-year-old laugh-out-loud rep as a masterpiece. Opera Santa Barbara’s production last weekend was a brilliant and breezy reminder that great art is timeless – in the right hands. Accolades to Josh Shaw (Director), Ken MacDonald (Sets), Dana Osborne (Costumes) and Helena Kuukka (Lighting) for creating a kaleidoscopically colorful, playfully avant-garde, and downright hilarious production. Josh Shaw’s directing, never over the top, yet ever so close, brought life and laughter to the action – all carefully scripted for laughs without slumming in tawdry shtick. There was superb acting and singing by Andrew Bidlack, a powerful Almaviva; Alexander Elliott. whose Figaro was both savvy and likable; and mezzo-soprano Cassandra Zoé Velasco, an empathetic and sylvan-voiced Rosina. Special thanks to the superb orchestra and nuanced continuo from Kyle Naig. Opera Santa Barbara’s production once again unleashed the brilliance of Rossini.”
– Daniel Kepl /Santa Barbara Voice Magazine

 

“Opera Santa Barbara’s production of The Barber of Seville was definitely on the cutting edge. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the world’s most enduring operas with a talented cast, great sets, and a capable orchestra under Kostis Protopapas. Alexander Elliott was perfect for the role of conniving crimper Figaro, as were Cassandra Zoé Velasco and Andrew Bidlack as Rosina and Almaviva. Josh Shaw’s direction was spot on; the production design and colorful costumes worked perfectly. It was a glorious night at the opera that was clearly appreciated by the delighted audience.”
– Richard Mineards / Montecito Journal

 

“Opera Santa Barbara’s Barber of Seville was thoroughly amusing from overture to final bow. Stage director Josh Shaw added a great deal of physical comedy. The singing was simply gorgeous. Andrew Bidlack made Almaviva’s  “Ecco ridente in cielo” a triumphant vocal showpiece. His substitute music teacher performed in drag as “Donna Alonsa” had the audience shrieking with laughter. Baritone Alexander Elliott sang Figaro with whirlwind patter and the kind of instinctive timing that assures laughs throughout the hall. Cassandra Zoé Velasco was a charming Rosina with a wide, beautifully colored vocal range. Kostis Protopapas led the orchestra with the ever increasing tempi and dynamics Rossini designed to keep audiences on the edges of their seats for most of the evening. No wonder at the end of this performance the applause sounded like a second storm.”
– Maria Nockin / Broadway World

 

“Opera Santa Barbara’s sparkling production of The Barber of Seville emphasized outrageous behavior and disguises. Alexander Elliott cut an enviable Figaro, Cassandra Zoé Velasco’s Rosina glowed from within, and Andrew Bidlack positively threw out the book as a hell-raising, cross-dressing Count Almaviva. Under the baton of maestro Kostis Protopapas, the orchestra released the playful joy of an irrepressible score.”
– Charles Donelan / Santa Barbara Independent

 

 

GALLERY

Photos by David Bazemore

Location

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Conductor:

Kostis Protopapas

Named artistic director of Opera Santa Barbara in August 2015, Kostis Protopapas made his company conducting debut with Carmen in November 2016.

2016 saw the end of Kostis' long association with Tulsa Opera, where he served as Artistic Director from November 2007 until May 2013, as Interim Executive Director from November 2011 until February 2013 and as Associate Conductor and Chorus Master from 2001 until 2007. During his 15-year tenure with the company, Kostis conducted 30 productions of a diverse repertoire extending from popular classics like La Boheme, Carmen and Cavalleria Rusticana/I Pagliacci to contemporary American works like Elmer Gantry, Of Mice and Men and A Streetcar Named Desire. About his 2011 Barber of Seville performances, Alex Ross of The New Yorker wrote "Most impressive was the fluid idiomatic playing of the orchestra... In any city, it's rare to find a conductor that sets the right tempo so consistently that you forget he's there."

Kostis' leadership at Tulsa Opera focused on furthering the company's long-standing reputation for artistic excellence and expanding the company's commitment to contemporary and American opera. Under his leadership the company produced a major American work each season between 2011 and 2016. Other key initiatives of his tenure included the development of the Tulsa Studio Artists Program, the expansion of company's outreach and educational programs, and the forging of new partnerships with arts organizations in Tulsa and beyond.

Between 202 and 2008 Kostis was also an Assistant Conductor for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, LA Opera and Santa Fe Opera. At the Lyric Opera of Chicago he also served as Assistant Chorus Master under Donald Palumbo for two seasons. Kostis started his career on the music staff of Virginia Opera and Opera Memphis; he conducted at Opera in the Ozarks every summer from 2000 to 2004; has been a regular guest conductor at Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis since 2007 and a guest conductor for the Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Columbus, Shreveport Opera, El Paso Opera, Winter Opera St. Louis and the Westmoreland Symphony. In 2016-17 he will return to Winter Opera St. Louis to conduct La Cenerentola.

Born in Athens, Greece, Kostis Protopapas studied Archaeology and History of Art at the University of Athens before coming to the United States in 1993, on an Onassis Foundation scholarship, to study piano at The Boston Conservatory and conducting at Boston University. He became an American citizen in 2011 and splits his time between Chicago and Santa Barbara, with his wife, soprano and stage director Cathleen Dunn-Protopapas, and their four cats, Gus, Miles, Zsa-Zsa and Gigi.

http://kostis-protopapas.com

Stage Director:

Josh Shaw

 

Stage Director / The Barber of Seville

March 2018 (debut)

Scenic Designer:

Ken MacDonald

 

Scenic Designer / Carmen

March 2018 (debut)

Lighting Designer:

Helena Kuukka

 

Lighting Designer / Carmen

March 2018 (debut)

Costume Designer:

Dana Osborne

 

Costume Designer / Carmen

March 2018 (debut)

Hair & Makeup Designer:

Heather Sterling

Heather Sterling is an accomplished makeup artist and hair stylist with a wide range of experience that includes work in theater, film, print, and fashion. She is a licensed cosmetologist and has a degree in fine art with an emphasis in psychology. Armed with an extensive knowledge of period makeup and hairstyles, Heather first designed for Opera Santa Barbara in 2006 for the company's performances of Tosca; since then her work has been seen in nearly forty OSB productions. She regularly designs for the Music Academy of the West's summer operas and she recently designed for the Granada Theatre's A Christmas Carol.

 

Hair & Makeup Designer / Tosca

February 2006 (debut)

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Count Almaviva:

Andrew Bidlack

Featured by Opera News as one of their 'top 25 brilliant young artists' (October 2015), tenor Andrew Bidlack began the 2016-17 Season at Dallas Opera where he prepares two new roles: Lensky in Eugene Onegin and Greenhorn/Ishmael in Moby. He develops the role of Christopher Morcom in The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing (by Justine Chen and David Simpatico) for American Lyric Theater, and travels to Madison Opera for the role of Tamino in Die Zauberflöte. Also in Madison he performs with the Madison Symphony Orchestra Principle Organist in a program of arias from Handel's Messiah, Mendelssohn's Elijah, and other opera favorites. He reprises Rob Hall in a concert performance of Joby Talbot's Everest at Dallas Opera, and Getry's rarely heard opera Zémire et Azor makes great use of the artist's flexible coloratura when he sings the title role at Saratoga Opera.

Recent highlights include his European and UK debut in the challenging role of Private John Ball in In Parenthesis, Welsh National Opera's world-premiere by Iain Bell, directed by David Poutney and conducted by Carlo Rizzi with performances at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden; and his Metropolitan Opera of New York debut as Beppe in I pagliacci, where he also sang the Lamplighter while covering Edmondo Manon in Lescaut for which he won critical accolades. At Arizona Opera he joined the production of Florencia en el Amazonas as Arcadio.

Bidlack is a frequent interpreter of contemporary music; he created the roles of Rob Hall in Joby Talbot's Everest at Dallas Opera and that of Irving Tashman in Ricky Ian Gordon's Morning Star at Cincinnati Opera. He workshopped Greenhorn/Ishmael in the developmental production of Moby Dick at San Francisco Opera while he was an Adler Fellow and inaugurated Tandcredi in The Inspector (John Musto) at Wolf Trap. As a Merolino, he created the role of Charles Carter in Thomas Pasatieri's The Hotel Casablanca. Making his debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago, he appeared at Carnegie Hall as The Young Collector in their production of A Streetcar Named Desire with Renée Fleming, a role he also sang in Chicago. At Dallas Opera, he sang Sandy in The Lighthouse for the inception of their Chamber Opera Series.

With a large number of Rossini/Mozart and bel canto roles also to his credit, Andrew has appeared as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Ferrando in Così fan tutte at Florida Grand Opera; Rodrigo in Rossini's Otello at Opera Southwest; Almaviva and Don Ramiro La cenerentola at Opera Omaha; Tonio in La fille du régiment at Palm Beach Opera and PORTopera; Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor at San Francisco Opera; Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore at Empire State Lyric Theater; and Bastien in Bastien and Bastienna at Des Moines Metro Opera.

Rosina:

Cassandra Zoe Velasco

 

Rosina / The Barber of Seville

March 2018 (debut)

Figaro:

Alexander Elliott

 

Figaro / The Barber of Seville

March 2018 (debut)

Doctor Bartolo:

Peter Strummer

 

Doctor Bartolo /
The Barber of Seville

March 2018 (debut)

Don Basilio:

Nathan Stark

 

Don Basilio /
The Barber of Seville

March 2018 (debut)

Berta:

Elle Valera

Soprano Elle Valera is a recent alumna of Opera Santa Barbara's Chrisman Studio Artist Program. As part of the program, she sang Berta in The Barber of Seville and Poussette in Manon; she also covered the title role in Manon and both Donna Anna and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni for the company. She is a recent L.A. District Winner and Western Region Finalist for the Metropolitan Council Auditions. She was a 2017 fellowship student at the Aspen Music Festival, where she covered the roles of Feu, Princesse, and Le Rossignol in Ravel's L’Enfant et les Sortilèges. In previous years, she was an Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera, where she performed the roles of Madame Herz in The Impresario and Sarah in The Ballad of Baby Doe, taking home Central City’s McGlone Guild Award for outstanding performance. Elle attended UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music on a full scholarship and received her master’s degree in music in 2014. While at UCLA, she sang Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and the title role in Il Segreto di Susanna. Ms. Valera holds a bachelor of music degree from the University of California, Irvine, and is the recipient of several awards, including the 2016 Pasadena Opera Guild Young Artist Award and an Encouragement Award from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Council Auditions in 2014. Beyond opera, Elle is a plus-size model represented by Bicoastal Management and an Instagram influencer and blogger, promoting body positivity and diversity.

Fiorello:
Byron Mayes Photo

Byron Mayes

 

Sam / Trouble in Tahiti

April 2018

 

Fiorello / Il barbiere di Siviglia

March 2018

 

Guard / Manon

November 2017

 

Crébillon / La rondine

November 2016

 

Chrisman Studio Artist

2017–2018

The Barber of Seville, Feb-2018. David Bazemore Photo