Carmen, A Live Drive-In Opera
A 90-Minute Adaptation of Georges Bizet's Classic Work
We’re finally making it happen! Live opera is back Sunday, December 6 as part of the Concerts in Your Car series at the Ventura Fairgrounds. Just 30 minutes south of Santa Barbara and 45 minutes north of the Los Angeles area, come meet us where “Drive-In meets Live Entertainment”!
Each ticket is valid for ONE car. The number of passengers must not exceed the number of safety belts seats in your vehicle, up to EIGHT people.
Opera Santa Barbara is thrilled to present Carmen, A Live Drive-In Opera, a 90-minute version of Bizet’s blockbuster hit, based on an adaptation by British director Peter Brook. It’ll be an up-close and personal look at the loves and rivals of our titular heroine–all from the safe and socially distanced comfort of your car.
Come hear mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock (2019, Madama Butterfly) as our Carmen in what will surely be a commanding performance in a signature role. Rounding out the quartet are Harold Meers as Don José reuniting with Ms. Babcock from 2019’s Madama Butterfly, Alexander Elliott (2018, The Barber of Seville) as Escamillo, and returning Chrisman Studio Artist soprano Jennifer Lindsay as Micaëla. Directed by Sara E. Widzer and conducted by Kostis Protopapas featuring members of the OSB Orchestra. This will be our first live opera stage performance since March.
Kostis Protopapas was named General Director of Opera Santa Barbara in December 2017, after two-and-a-half seasons as Artistic Director.
During his time as Artistic Director and principal conductor, Kostis brought a unified vision to OSB’s musical and production values, strengthening the orchestra and chorus, engaging some of the country’s most promising young directors and singers, building a high-performing production team, and increasing focus on contemporary American opera. As General Director Kostis assembled a team of enthusiastic overachievers with a passion for innovation and the desire to strengthen the company’s bond with the community, who consistently deliver programs and communications far greater than what can be expected from the size of the company.
Performance highlights from Kostis’ tenure include grand opera classics like Madama Butterfly, Manon, and Eugene Onegin as well as contemporary works like Daniel Catan’s Il Postino, the mariachi opera Cruzar la cara de la luna, and Robert Ward’s The Crucible, which the Santa Barbara Independent called “one of the season’s most exciting performances of any kind in Santa Barbara”.
Between March 2020 and June 2021, under Kostis’ leadership Opera Santa Barbara remained active and fully staffed. It was the first performing arts organization in Santa Barbara to offer streaming programming, and one of only two opera companies in California to present three live operas in the 2020-21 season. Additionally, Opera Santa Barbara became an advocacy leader for the reopening of the performing arts, and funded live performances by local musicians through “Operation Eurydice”.
Before coming to Santa Barbara Kostis was the Artistic Director of Tulsa Opera since 2008. He previously was an Assistant Conductor with 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..
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. He loves living in Santa Barbara, and enjoys downtown restaurants, the Funk Zone’s tasting rooms, and sailing on the Santa Barbara Channel.
Sara E. Widzer
As Director: Chautauqua Opera Scenes Program; Carmen for Rochester Philharmonic; Woman of Salt for The Wildish Theatre; After Life and Letters from Quebec to Providence in the Rain for UCSB Opera and the National Opera Association and UC Santa Barbara Opera Theatre; Susannah for Pasadena Opera; The Flying Dutchman for the Hawaii Opera Theatre and Virginia Opera; The Music Man for the Royal Opera House of Oman; Le jongleur de Notre-Dame and L'elisir d'amore for Florida State Opera; Don Giovanni, Tosca, Pagliacci, and Hansel and Gretel for Opera in the Ozarks; Faust and Giulio Cesare for Celestial Opera Company; Reasons to be Pretty, Bury the Dead, Zoo Story, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, As You Like It, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Lee Strasberg Creative Center.
As Associate and Assistant Director: The Ghosts of Versailles and ¡Figaro! 90210 for Chautauqua Opera; El Gato Montes: The Wildcat for Los Angeles Opera; Madame White Snake for Beth Morrison Projects at the Hong Kong Arts Festival; Der Ring des Polykrates at the Dallas Opera, Silent Night, AIDA and The Daughter of the Regiment for Washington National Opera; The Marriage of Figaro for Music Academy of the West; The Flying Dutchman, King for a Day, and The Music Man for The Glimmerglass Festival. Ms. Widzer has worked with esteemed directors Francesca Zambello, Peter Kazaras, Tomer Zvulun, Eric Einhorn, James Darrah, Michael Counts, Robert Longbottom, Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Ray Roderick, Robert Eagan, and Mark Rydell.
As an educator, Ms. Widzer is currently on faculty as acting coach and stage director at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in Los Angeles, CA where she has been on staff for over fifteen years. She worked with famed film and tv audition coach Crystal Carson, co-teaching Audition by Heart courses and brought Carson’s technique to film and stage actors across the country. Through her work at City Hearts: Kids Say Yes to the Arts, she taught Shakespeare classes at inner city middle schools and high schools throughout Southern California, a project which culminated in a bilingual production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream that she adapted with the Spanish title Un Sueño en Medio-Verano. On the opera stage, she has worked with members of the Glimmerglass Festival Young Artist Program, the Los Angeles Opera Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, the WNO Cafritz Young Artist Program and has also served as guest coach at El Camino College, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State University Long Beach, and Florida State University. Ms. Widzer continues to guest teach acting at studios throughout the Los Angeles area, and also maintains a roster of speaking and singing actors for whom she coaches acting and performance technique.
Read more at www.saraewidzer.com
Audrey Babcock is an award-winning mezzo-soprano who is quickly gaining notoriety for her commanding, powerful performances as Carmen and her dark, hypnotic portrayals of Maddalena in Rigoletto. As Carmen, Ms. Babcock made her French debut with the Festival Lyrique-en-Mer and has performed the role with Florentine Opera, Nashville Opera, Florida Grand Opera, New York City Opera, San Antonio Opera, Knoxville Opera, Opera Delaware, Toledo Opera, Anchorage Opera, Dayton Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Mill City Summer Opera, and Utah Festival Opera where The Salt Lake Tribune wrote “Audrey Babcock's performance as Carmen was a spellbinding tour de force...from the moment she took the stage her self-assured characterization was mesmerizing ...Babcock's caramel-hued mezzo was a pleasure…her supple tones caressed the notes, radiating earthy allure.”
Widely recognized as a choice singer for new works, Ms. Babcock has premiered several new operas including Tobias Picker’s Thérèse Raquin (NY Premiere - Dicapo Opera), With Blood, With Ink (World Premiere - Fort Worth Opera), La Reina (American Lyric Theater, NY and Prototype Festival), The Poe Project (American Lyric Theater), and appeared as Mother in Winter’s Tale with Beth Morrison’s Prototype Festival in NYC in 2015. Last season’s engagements included the title role in The Tragedy of Carmen with Opera Santa Barbara as well as a cancelled concert with the Santa Barbara Symphony. Ms. Babcock’s engagements for the 2021-2022 season include Lily; her life, his music with Marble City Opera, Mama in Why I Live at the P.O. with UrbanArias, and Verdi’s Requiem with the Reading Symphony Orchestra.
Le Chevalier des Grieux /
Don José / Carmen
The Duke of Mantua / Rigoletto
Rinuccio / Gianni Schicchi
Feb/March 2006 (debut)
Figaro / The Barber of Seville
March 2018 (debut)
Soprano Jennifer Lindsay has been lauded for her “clever comic ability” and “vocal athleticism” (Naples Daily News). Jennifer joins the Chrisman Studio Artist Program for Opera Santa Barbara 2018/19 season, covering Tatiana in Eugene Onegin and both Mimì and Musetta in La bohème, and singing Mary Warren in The Crucible. Prior to joining Opera Santa Barbara, she will make her role debut as Mimi in La bohème with Opera Connecticut. Jennifer recently made her role debut as Leonora in Il Trovatore with Pacific Lyric Association alongside Metropolitan Opera tenor Luis Lima. Jennifer is an alumna of the apprentice programs at Opera Southwest, Opera Naples, and the Caramoor Music Festival. Other career highlights include Violetta in La Traviata with Pacific Lyric Association and Lucha in the world premiere of HOPSCOTCH (The Industry). She has also appeared with the LA Philharmonic in conjunction with Beth Morrison Projects singing excerpts from John Adams’ I Was Looking At The Ceiling And Then I Saw The Sky, conducted by the composer. Jennifer is also an accomplished orchestral violinist. Last season, she unexpectedly became a viral sensation on social media when she stepped out of the 2nd violin section at the last minute to replace the ailing lead soprano during a dress rehearsal of Aida with the Marina Del Rey Symphony. Jennifer holds degrees from Harvey Mudd College (BS/Mathematics), Columbia University (MS/Operations Research), and Johns Hopkins University (MS/Computer Science) and worked as a software developer for the U.S. Department of Defense before pursuing a career in music. She currently resides in Los Angeles.
2018-19 Chrisman Studio Artist
INTERESTED IN TICKET UPGRADES OR SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES?
Are you looking to upgrade your Carmen live drive-in experience?
Visit our Premium Circle And Sponsorship page here.
For questions, please call Nina Dunbar at (805) 898-3890, ext. 203 or send an email to [email protected]
QUESTIONS ABOUT CARMEN AT THE LIVE DRIVE-IN?
All CDC and State of California Guidelines will be followed. Audio will be transmitted via FM radio and video screens will show you which station to tune into for the opera. Supertitles will be projected on screen. The number of passengers in your vehicle must not exceed the number of safety belts/seats.
Frequently Asked Questions UPDATED:
Q: CAN I PURCHASE A TICKET AT THE EVENT?
A: Yes, tickets are available for purchase but we recommend you buy them beforehand.
Q: ONCE I BUY MY TICKET, HOW IS IT RECEIVED?
A: The ticket was included in your email confirmation. You may print out the ticket or just open the PDF included with the confirmation on your phone. Tickets may also be accessed on your mobile device using the Eventbrite APP. If you did not receive a ticket, please email [email protected].
Q: ARE PARKING SPACES ASSIGNED?
A: No – All tickets, except those reserved for Event Sponsors, are General Admission based on color section and row number and will NOT be assigned prior to arrival. Vehicles will be placed on a first come first served basis to a parking space in their designated color section and row number upon arrival.
Q: RULES FOR PARKING
A: Please follow the direction of parking attendants and venue staff. For everyone’s safety, it is important that you stay in the space you are assigned throughout the event. Parking spaces between vehicles must remain clear.
Q: WHAT TIME SHOULD I ARRIVE?
A: For our production of Carmen, A Live Drive-In Opera, Ventura County Fairgrounds will open one hour prior to show time at 1PM. We suggest planning your arrival around 30-45 minutes prior to our start time of 2PM.
Q: WHAT IF I AM RUNNING LATE?
A: Please arrive early or on time to guarantee entry. Gates typically close 15 minutes past start time. No refunds will be granted.
Q: WHAT IF I DON’T USE MY TICKET?
A: All sales are final and there will be no refunds.
Q: DOES EVERYONE IN MY CAR NEED A TICKET?
A: No, you will only need one ticket per car. The number of passengers in your vehicle must not exceed the number of safety belts/seats. It is recommended that you only share a vehicle with household members with whom you have been sheltering in place.
For more FAQs, please visit the Concerts In Your Car site here.
Lead Production Sponsor:
Dr. Bob Weinman
Dan and Romy Reicker
Carol Vernon & Robert Turbin
Arlington Financial Advisors
Fred & Nancy Golden
Eric & Dody Small
Omega Financial Group
Fred & Linda Wudl
Walter and Holly Thomson Foundation