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

Originally from Montréal, Canada, François-Pierre Couture has been working in the United States since 2006 and he is please to be making Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park debut. His multifaceted and dynamic approach to his craft has given him the opportunity to work across multiple environments and venues. He is also proud to be full time professor at East Los Angeles College, one of the most dynamic and upcoming theatre department in Los Angeles.

François-Pierre Couture has had the privilege of working in Los Angeles and the United States for the last decade as a scenic, lighting and projection designer. He has received multiple Ovation, LADCC, LA Weekly awards & nominations. Designs include: “Invisible Tango”, “A Picasso”, Geffen Playhouse; “Everything that Never Happened”, “With Love and Major Organ”, Boston Court Theatre; “Frankenstein”, A Noise Within;  “Destiny of Desire”, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage Theatre, South Coast Repertory & Goodman Theatre; “Jackie Unveiled”, Wallis Theatre; “The Mexican Trilogy, an American History”, Los Angeles Theatre Center; “Metamorphoses” , “Everything is Illuminated”, Ensemble Theatre Company; Médée and Teseo, Chicago Opera Theatre; Carmen and Cold Mountain, Music Academy of the West.

Instagram @fpcouturedesign

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

Hailed as a “rich voiced, expressive mezzo-soprano” by San Francisco Classical Voice, Nina Yoshida Nelsen made her New York City Opera debut with great success as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, conducted by George Manahan.

In the 2021-2022 season Nina Yoshida Nelsen makes her Boston Lyric Opera debut as Mama Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana.  She also makes her Bard Opera debut singing Mother Chen in Huang Ruo’s An American Soldier, with performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center.  She then returns to Opera Santa Barbara for a double bill of El Amor Brujo and Frugola in Il Tabarro. Nina makes her Chicago Opera Theater debut singing Queen Sophine in Mark Adamo’s Becoming Santa Claus.  In the spring, she sings mezzo solos in Boston Lyric Opera’s “Uplifting Asian Voices” concert and records Madama Butterfly with the company.  She also will sing Mama in Jack Perla’s An American Dream at Kentucky Opera and the Alto Solo in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Rhode Island Philharmonic.  

In the 2019-2020 season Nina Yoshida Nelsen made her Portland Opera debut as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly.  She also performed the world premiere of Blood Moon at Prototype Festival in New York City. Nina returned to Chicago Lyric Opera to cover Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and gigs canceled due to Covid were  the Santa Barbara Symphony performances Beethoven's Mass in C ?and the role of Khanh in Huang Ruo's Bound at The Juilliard School.

In the 2018-2019 season, Nina made her Lyric Opera Chicago debut as Mama in Jack Perla's An American Dream.  She also reprised the same role at Anchorage Opera. Nina returned to Opera Santa Barbara as Tituba in The Crucible and also sang in their 25th Anniversary Gala concert.

Nina made an important debut at Utah Opera in March of 2009, singing Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. The mezzo-soprano is the recipient of a 2008 Encouragement Award from the Gerda Lissner Vocal Competition. In 2006, Ms. Nelsen was a National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She is a 2009 graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) in Philadelphia, where she studied with Bill Schuman. At AVA, her roles included: Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Smeton in Anna Bolena, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Kabanicha in Katya Kabanova, Annina in La traviata, Larina in Eugene Onegin, and Erika in Vanessa.

Other noteworthy recent engagements include: Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette with Opera New Jersey, Rebecca Nurse in The Crucible with Utah Festival Opera, the title role in Carmen and the role of Antonia’s Mother in Les contes d’Hoffmann with Komische Kammeroper of Munich, and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Opera Santa Barbara.

Nina Yoshida Nelsen spent the 2004-2005 season as an Artist-In-Residence with Orange County Opera, where she performed the role of the Marquise de Berkenfeld in La fille du régiment in their educational outreach program. Ms. Nelsen made her debut with Opera Providence in 2002 as Tisbe in La cenerentola, and subsequently appeared with the company as Dorabella in their English version of Così fan tutte.

Other notable roles include Idamante in Idomeneo, Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Lulu in Lukas Foss’The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, all of which she performed with the Opera Institute at Boston University.

In 2005, Ms. Nelsen was a National Finalist in the prestigious Loren L. Zachary Society Vocal Competition, and she was also a National Finalist in the 2006 and 2008 Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition. In 2004, Ms. Nelsen won first prize in the Performing Arts Foundation Vocal Competition, the Profant Foundation Vocal Competition and the Santa Barbara Foundation Vocal Competition.

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

Bass-Baritone Colin Ramsey has been lauded for his “majestic, rotund, ravishing bass” (Opera Today). During the 20-21 season, Mr. Ramsey joined San Diego Opera as Colline in La bohème, as well as returning to Pacific Opera Project as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, and the Festival Lyrique en Mar as Leporello in Don Giovanni (COVID19). Other recent engagements include returns to Opera Santa Barbara as Frère Laurent in Romèo et Juliette and the Bonze in Madama Butterfly, joining the Festival Lyrique en Mar as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor and the bass soloist in Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle, and multiple productions of La bohème as Colline including Opera Idaho, Gulfshore Opera, and Opera Buffs Inc in Los Angeles. In upcoming seasons, Mr. Ramsey will return to Opera Santa Barbara as Fafner in Jonathan Dove’s arrangement of Das Rheingold, and San Diego Opera, singing The Speaker and 2nd Armored Man in Die Zauberflöte (COVID19), Capulet in Romèo et Juliette, and Betto in Gianni Schicchi.


His 2018-19 season was an exciting one including a return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic for performances of John Cage’s Europeras directed by Yuval Sharon. Mr. Ramsey also made his San Diego Opera debut as Marullo in Rigoletto and in the spring of 2019, Mr. Ramsey returned to Opera Santa Barbara for an exciting and timely production of Robert Ward’s The Crucible singing the role of Reverend Hale.


Other recent performances have seen him in role and company debuts singing Le Comte des Grieux in Manon, The Speaker in Die Zauberflöte, and his Santa Fe Opera debut singing the Registrar in Madama Butterfly and covering Edward Teller in John Adam’s Dr. Atomic in a landmark production directed by Peter Sellars. Mr. Ramsey’s unique “smoky” timbre has been well lent to additional roles such as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Figaro in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte, Don Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Father Palmer in Silent Night, Alidoro in Rossini’s La CenerentolaCollatinus 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, and 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