The Consul

By Gian Carlo Menotti

Heart-wrenching and human-affirming arias… mesmerizing and thoroughly satisfying.
-Joseph Miller / Santa Barbara Independent

The art of contemporary opera is alive and well!
– Robert Adams / CASA Magazine


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Brent Wilson


Conductor / The Consul

April 2014 (debut)


Assistant Conductor & Chorus Master


Stage Director:

Jonathan Fox

Jonathan Fox is the Executive Artistic Director of the Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara. Since he assumed the post in 2006, he has directed many productions for the company, including Ghosts, Creditors, Buried Child, Take Me Out, Visiting Mr. Green, and most recently, The Liar and Crime and Punishment. He has worked abroad in Germany and Austria, directing A Streetcar Named Desire, Old Wicked Songs, Crimes of the Heart, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Prior to joining Ensemble, Jonathan helped establish New Jersey's Two River Theater Company, serving as Managing Director from 1994-'99 and Artistic Director from 1996-2006. During his tenure, he directed over a dozen acclaimed productions, including Peter Brook's adaptation of the opera Carmen. His production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg was profiled in American Theatre Magazine, as was his festival of work by Samuel Beckett. His productions have been seen in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Cologne, Frankfurt and Vienna, and have received critical acclaim from publications including The New York Times, Variety, and The LA Times. He received his MFA from Columbia University and is a recipient of the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship for German studies. He has served as adjunct faculty at UCSB, Monmouth University in New Jersey, University of Utah, and Columbia University.

Scenic Design:

David Gordon


Scenic Designer / The Consul

April 2014 (debut)

Costume Design:

Melania Taylor Burgess


Costume Designer / The Consul

April 2014 (debut)

Lighting Design:

François-Pierre Couture


Scenic & Lighting Design /
The Cunning Little Vixen

March 2017


Scenic & Lighting Design /
L'italiana in Algeri

March 2015


Lighting Design / The Consul

April 2014 (debut)

Hair & Makeup Design:

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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Magda Sorel:

Alexandra LoBianco


Magda Sorel / The Consul

April 2014 (debut)

John Sorel:

Joshua Jeremiah


John Sorel / The Consul

April 2014 (debut)

The Secretary:

Nina Yoshida Nelsen

Mezzo-soprano Nina Yoshida Nelsen has been hailed as a “rich voiced, expressive mezzo-soprano” by San Francisco Classical Voice and “appealingly direct and honest in tone and bearing” by Richard Dyer of the Boston Globe. Nina was most recently seen at Opera Santa Barbara as the Secretary in The Consul (2014). Previous performances with the company include both Kate Pinkerton (2003) and Suzuki (2012) in Madama Butterfly. Her Suzuki has also been heard at New York City Opera, Utah Opera, The Atlanta Opera, Sarasota Opera, Manitoba Opera, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, and at Royal Albert Hall in London. Ms. Nelsen has performed leading roles in the world premieres of several important new operas, including the role of Mama in Jack Perla's An American Dream with Seattle Opera, Khanh in Huang Ruo's Bound and the role of Woman in Marty Ragen's Memory Stone (both with Houston Grand Opera). Other operatic highlights include the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors at Avery Fisher Hall and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with Utah Opera. Ms. Nelsen is also in-demand as a concert soloist. She has sung the alto solo in Beethoven’s Symphony #9 at Carnegie Hall, with the Santa Fe Concert Association, the Southwest Florida Symphony, and the Santa Barbara Symphony. She has sung Verdi's Requiem with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra and the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, Mozart's Requiem with the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Southwest Florida Symphony, Handel’s Messiah with the Nashville Symphony, Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Peoria Symphony, and Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer with the Grand Junction and Flagstaff Symphony Orchestras. Ms. Nelsen has received awards and recognition from the Gerda Lissner, Profant, and Santa Barbara's Performing Arts Scholarship Foundations; she was a National Finalist in the vocal competitions of the Jensen Foundation, the Loren L. Zachary Society, and the Metropolitan Opera. She is a 2009 graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) in Philadelphia, where she studied with Bill Schuman; she is also an alumna of the Opera Institute at Boston University.

The Mother:

Buffy Baggott


The Mother / The Consul

April 2014 (debut)

Secret Police Agent:

Kirk Eichelberger


Secret Police Agent / The Consul

April 2014


The Bonze / Madama Butterfly

October 2003 (debut)

Nika Magadoff:

Robert Watson


Nika Magadoff / The Consul

April 2014


Spoletta / Tosca

November 2013 (debut)


Studio Artist


Mr. Kofner:

Colin Ramsey

Since making his operatic debut as Sparafucile in Verdi’s Rigoletto, bass-baritone Colin Ramsey’s “majestic, orotund, ravishing bass” (Opera Today) has been heard in repertoire spanning continents and centuries. The 2016-17 season finds him making his company debut at Opera San Jose as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor. He continues his residence in San Jose reprising Colline in La Bohème and Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He will also make his role debut as Father Palmer in the West Coast Premiere of Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Pulitzer Prizewinning Silent Night.

16-17 will also feature several concert debuts including Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Pacific Symphony, the Verdi Requiem with the La Jolla Symphony, and Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with the Berkeley Community Chorus and Symphony.

Colin’s past performances have brought him to the stages of Seattle Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Wolf Trap Opera, Austin Opera, Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has been featured as Alidoro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Collatinus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Seneca in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Mr. Kofner in Menotti’s The Consul, Il Frate in Verdi’s Don Carlo, Angelotti in Tosca, the Sprecher in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Giorgio in the US Premiere of Paisiello’s rarely performed Nina, and as a “sonorous” (Classical King Seattle) Cadmus and Somnus in Handel’s Semele.

Foreign Woman:

Alexandra Loutsion


Foreign Woman / The Consul

April 2014 (debut)


Studio Artist


Anna Gomez:

Julie Adams


Anna Gomez / The Consul

April 2014 (debut)


Studio Artist


Vera Boronel:

Carla Jablonski


Vera Boronel / The Consul

April 2014 (debut)


Studio Artist


Promotional Photo by Kevin Steele