A woman with a past is given a second chance when she falls in love with a young student. From the sumptuous salons of belle epoque Paris, to bustling nightclubs and on to the French Riviera, we follow the beautiful Magda -“the swallow”- in her bittersweet journey to recapture the innocence of youth. This production will be staged by Tara Faircloth and Kostis Protopapas conducts the OSB premiere of Puccini’s only “operetta.”
Sung in Italian with English surtitles
Estimated Run Time: 2 Hours and 45 Minutes, Including Two 15-Minute Intermissions
Season Sponsors: The Mithun Family Foundation & The Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation
Kostis Protopapas was named Artistic Director of Opera Santa Barbara in August 2015. He will make his conducting debut with the company in November 2016, conducting the season's opening production of Carmen. The company's 2016-17 season, the first to be planned entirely by Kostis, will also include two company premieres: Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen, in a new production by Crystal Manich starring Isabel Bayrakdarian, and Puccini's La Rondine.
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.
Stage director Tara Faircloth’s work has been seen in opera houses around the nation. Critics hailed her Nozze di Figaro, claiming, “Faircloth made her Atlanta Opera debut this night with distinction, creating an unstoppable momentum of manipulation and misunderstandings. This production was so fresh that it had the ability to bridge yet another gap, entertaining the amateur and the opera aficionado alike.” (Opera News) She has directed two world premieres with the Houston Grand Opera's East+West series (The Bricklayer and Her Name Means The Sea) and has a thriving career in regional houses such as Wolf Trap Opera, Utah Opera, Arizona Opera, Atlanta Opera, Tulsa Opera and Opera Colorado (Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto, Die Zauberflöte, Hänsel & Gretel, etc.).
The 2016-17 season finds Ms. Faircloth working on productions new and old: Hansel & Gretel (Peabody Conservatory), Les Plaisirs de Versailles (Ars Lyrica Houston), Giulio Cesare (Rice University), Carmen (Utah Opera), and La Rondine (Opera Santa Barbara). Following last year’s season, which included new productions of Madama Butterfly, L’enfant et les sortileges, Britten’s Midsummer, Ms. Faircloth is clearly in demand as an interpreter for familiar works and those that are more obscure.
Ms. Faircloth has worked extensively on directing staff at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and Central City Opera. She has a private coaching studio in Houston, Texas, and regularly works with the talented singers in the Houston Grand Opera Studio and Rice University.
Soprano Karin Wolverton has been described by Opera News as "a young soprano to watch" having "a lovely warm tone, easy agility and winning musicality". Ms. Wolverton took on the challenging role of Anna Sörensen in the 2011 world premiere of Kevin Puts' Pulitzer Prize winning opera Silent Night with the Minnesota Opera. Continuing her passionate involvement in new works, Ms. Wolverton returned to Minnesota Opera in the 2012-2013 season for the world premiere of Doubt. The 2013-2014 season included her debut with Tulsa Opera as Micaëla in Carmen and appearances with the Pennsylvania Ballet for Carmina Burana, the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra as Mimì in La bohème and the both Orchestra Seattle and the Saint Cloud Symphony for Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Her 2014-2015 season included Fiordiligi in Utah Opera's Così fan tutte, her debut with Austin Lyric Opera as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors with the Minnesota Orchestra, and singing Shepherd on the Rock and Brad Mehldau's The Book of Hours with the Joya! Concerts Series and Strauss' Four Last Songs with the Hill House Players. The 2015-2016 season sees her return to Tulsa Opera as Mimi in La bohème and debuts with Arizona Opera as Micäela in Carmen, the South Dakota Symphony for another La bohème, and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra for Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
In recent years, Ms. Wolverton has also been seen as Anne Trulove in The Rake's Progress, Micaëla and Antonia at Des Moines Metro Opera; the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with Piedmont Opera; the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors with Fargo-Moorhead Opera and Mimì with Teatro Nacional de Managua in Nicaragua.
On the concert stage, Ms. Wolverton made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Minnesota Orchestra in Nielsen's Symphony No. 3 and has appeared with The Hill House Chamber Players (Strauss' Four Last Songs); Chippewa Valley Symphony (Mahler's Symphony No. 2); The Phoenix Symphony and The Eugene Symphony (Beethoven'sSymphony No. 9); The Discovery Ensemble (Esa-Pekka Salonen's Five Images after Sappho); New Hampshire Music Festival (Poulenc's Gloria); Wayzata Symphony Orchestra (Carmina burana); Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Musicians (Handel's Messiah); the Great Falls Symphony; and the Dayton Philharmonic for its gala performance of "Viva Italia!"
Adam Diegel regularly earns international acclaim for his impassioned dramatic sensibilities, powerful voice, and for his classic leading man looks. From a performance as Cavaradossi at Glimmerglass Opera, Opera News raved: “The opera became a showdown between Adam Diegel’s impulsive, shaggily handsome Cavaradossi and Lester Lynch’s fearsome, animalistic Scarpia… (Diegel’s) spacious, Italianate tenor…delivered a stirring ‘Recondita armonia’ and built ‘E lucevan le stelle’ masterfully from hushed intimacy to an unfettered cri de coeur.” Last season, Diegel’s engagements included appearances in two of his signature roles: as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at Opera San Antonio and Opera Hong Kong, and Don José in Carmen at San Francisco Opera, Arizona Opera, and PORTopera. Additionally, Diegel sang the title role in Verdi’s Don Carlo in a début at Lithuanian National Opera. This season, Diegel returns to The Metropolitan Opera to sing Ismaele in Nabucco, Opera San Antonio for Don José in Carmen, Palm Beach Opera for Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, and Opera Santa Barbara for Ruggiero in La Rondine.
Mr. Diegel made his Metropolitan Opera début as Froh in Robert Lepage’s landmark production of Das Rheingold conducted by Maestro James Levine, and later reprised the performance under Fabio Luisi. Further appearances at The Met include Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly under Plácido Domingo and Ismaele in Nabucco under Paolo Carignani.
Peter Lindskoog is a 5th Generation Native Californian from Orange County and currently lives in North Carolina. Opera News has described Peter's voice "a handsome, fine-grained baritone" and he has repeatedly received commendations for his superb singing, stage presence, interpretation and expressive musicianship as well as “top notch” acting. With a career spanning the operatic, concert and musical theater stage, Peter Lindskoog has grounded himself as a premier dramatic Verdi baritone. Regarding Mr. Lindskoog's vocal and dramatic presence, one critic commented,"his singing has never been better; crisp and clear and ringing with authority" (James D. Watts, Tulsa World, and another remarked, "Peter Lindskoog is a the very personification of the Forester" (Janacek's THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN) (Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News).
In 2016 Mr. Lindskoog made a role debut as the High Priest in SAMSON ET DALILA in a powerhouse cast that included Dana Beth Miller, Frank Poretta and Samuel Ramey, Directed by Crystal Manich and Conducted by Kostis Protopapas. In 2015 peter debuted with the Carolina Philharmonic as a featured guest soloist to rave reviews. Peter's 2013/2014 Season was highlighted with a role debut as Amonasro in AIDA with Tulsa Opera with great success. His 2011/2012 season began with a role debut of the father in in HANSEL AND GRETEL with the Utah Opera, for which he received favorable reviews and debuted a Role with Tulsa Opera in Jake Heggie's DEAD MAN WALKING as Owen Hart. Peter then returned to Shreveport Opera to perform one of his favorite roles; Sharpless in MADAME BUTTERFLY.
2010/2011 season highlights included a return to Tulsa Opera for one performance of Sancho Panza in Massenet's DON QUICHOTTE, and in October the role of Germont in LA TRAVIATA. In 2011 he returned to Salt Lake City to to begin rehearsals for HANSEL AND GRETEL as Peter.
2009/2010 season highlights began with performing a role debut of Oscar Hubbard in REGINA with the Utah Opera under Maestro Keith Lockhart, and a role debut as Enrico Ashton in LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR with Opera Southwest in Albuquerque. In the summer of 2009 he joined the San Francisco Opera for TOSCA as the Scarpia cover.
In 2008 Mr. Lindskoog made several appearances as Scarpia, beginning in 2008 with TOSCA as Baron Scarpia; First with JPAS (New Orleans) and then with Opera Southwest in Albuquerque. His Seattle Opera debut was made in 2008 as the Old Servant and Orestes cover in ELEKTRA.
In November, 2007 Peter debuted with the Arizona Opera in the role of Colonel Frank in DIE FLEDERMAUS after singing Scarpia in TOSCA with the Tulsa Opera. In May 2007 he made his European Debut as Germont in LA TRAVIATA with the Macedonian National Opera in Skopje. Also in the '06/'07 season he appeared as the Bosun in BILLY BUDD with Nathan Gunn with Pittsburgh Opera in Francesca Zambella's renowned production. Peter made a role debut as RIGOLETTO with Opera Southwest and appeared as the Musik Master in Tulsa Opera's ARIADNE AUF NAXOS. In 2005 Peter made his Los Angeles Opera Debut as Baron Scarpia in TOSCA, as well as Baron Douphol in LA TRAVIATA with Utah Opera.
Often praised for his “golden-toned tenor” (www.myrvoldstheatrenotes.com), James Callon has distinguished himself as a dynamic singer possessing the “emotional and gorgeous voice” (Grants Pass Daily Courier) of the romantic, full lyric tenor. Though acclaimed for his “beaming strong voice” (San Jose Classical Music Examiner), Mr. Callon's ability to produce tenderly-spun high notes above the staff has shown his to be a voice of “rare beauty, compelling ardor, and...touching nuance.” (San Francisco Classical Voice). From a performance of his most recent Rodolfo in Puccini's La Bohème, Georja Umano of Splash Magazines lauded: “I was bowled over by the talents of [this] latest star, James Callon as Rudolfo...His vocal expression is pure magic. I felt that I was swept into the center of his tender emotions and never wanted to leave."
Last season, Mr. Callon enjoyed successful debuts in traditional Italian and modern American operas alike with critically-acclaimed back-to-back performances as The Duke in Rigoletto with Union Avenue Opera and West Bay Opera. Shortly thereafter came highly-lauded performances as Harold Mitchell in A Streetcar Named Desire with Tulsa Opera, Sam Polk in Susannah with Pasadena Opera, and Fr. Grenville in Dead Man Walking with Fresno Grand Opera. This season, Mr. Callon makes his company debut at Opera Santa Barbara as the playful, pleasure-seeking jack of all trades, Prunier, in Puccini's La Rondine.
A southern California native, Mr. Callon made his operatic debut in 2009 as Giuseppe in La Traviata with LA Opera conducted by James Conlon. He later performed the role of Tenor Vassal under the baton of Maestro Conlon and the direction of Achim Freyer in LA Opera's avant garde 2010 production of Wagner's Götterdämmerung.
As a concert artist, Mr. Callon has performed a variety of major works as the tenor soloist in Schubert's Nachthelle with the Jacaranda Music Society, Beethoven's 9th Symphonie with Cypress College, as well as Handel's Messiah and Mozart's Requiem with the LA Master Chorale.
Elizabeth Kelsay, praised by Opera News for her warm, Italianate sound, studied at Westminster Choir College and Florida State University. This season she will join the roster at Opera Santa Barbara as a Mosher Studio Artist, and will be seen on the mainstage as Frasquita (Carmen), the Rooster and Bluejay (Cunning Little Vixen), and Lisette (La rondine). Miss Kelsay was previously the soprano studio artist at Tulsa Opera, where she "flounced, pouted, preened, and schemed with gusto" as Clorinda in La Cenerentola (Watts for Tulsa World), performed lead roles in contemporary operas (Rosalba in Florencia en el Amazonas and Mamah Cheney in Shining Brow), and covered many roles, most notably Blanche in A Streetcar named Desire, Mimì in La bohème, and Curley's Wife in the company's highly acclaimed production of Of Mice and Men. Before becoming a regular solo artist, Miss Kelsay performed with the Metropolitan Opera Chorus for three seasons where her favorite productions were Verdi's Macbeth and the Grammy winning Parsifal. While in New York, she made her Carnegie Hall debut in the title role of Puccini's Suor Angelica with New York Lyric Opera, where her "confrontation with the Principessa was the dramatic highlight of the evening" (Opera News), and for the Martina Arroyo Foundation's production of La Traviata was a "dutiful Annina, whose voice and countenance were barometers of love and loyalty" (Opera-L). Miss Kelsay is a native of Tallahassee, Florida, and a student of Patricia McCaffrey.
Location: Paris, France and the French Riviera
Time: Mid-19th Century
The wealthy Rambaldo and his mistress, Magda, are entertaining theatrical and literary friends. Prunier, a poet and the lover of Magda’s maid, Lisette, declares that romantic love is back in fashion. No one except Magda takes him seriously. When Prunier sings a ballad he has written about a girl who rejects the love of a king, Magda sits at the piano and finishes the song, making up a second verse that tells how the girl falls in love with a student (“Chi il bel sogno di Doretta”). She thinks about her own flirtations and recalls an encounter with a young man at Bullier’s restaurant. Rambaldo says he knows what love means and gives Magda a pearl necklace, which she accepts without changing her opinion that love has nothing to do wealth. Prunier offers to read Magda’s palm and predicts that she will go south in pursuit of romance and happiness, just like “la rondine,” the swallow. Rambaldo introduces a visitor, Ruggero, the son of a childhood friend, who is new to Paris and wants to know where to spend the evening. They decide on Bullier’s, and Ruggero leaves to go there. Lisette, flirting with Prunier, tells him that it is her night off and the two follow Ruggero. As the guests depart, Magda decides to remain at home, then changes her mind. She dresses as a shop girl and leaves, confident that no one will recognize her, and ready for an adventure at the restaurant.
Bullier’s restaurant is alive with a crowd of artists, students, and young women. Ruggero sits alone at a table. When Magda enters, several young men approach her, but she says she already has a date and joins Ruggero. He doesn’t recognize her. She introduces herself as Paulette. When she teases him about his probable love affairs, he replies that should he ever love a woman, it would be forever. While they talk and dance, they both realize that they have fallen in love with each other. Prunier and Lisette arrive. She is startled by the sight of Magda, but Prunier, understanding the situation, convinces her that it is someone else with a chance resemblance. Suddenly Rambaldo appears, and Prunier asks Lisette to keep Ruggero out of sight. Rambaldo demands an explanation for her escapade from Magda. She replies that she has found true love and is going to leave him. Rambaldo bows ironically, expressing hope that she will not regret it. Ruggero returns and Magda leaves with him to start a new life.
Magda and Ruggero have been living in a villa on the Riviera, but their money is running out. Ruggero says he has written to his mother for her consent to their marriage and paints an idyllic picture of his family’s home in the country. Madga is dismayed that her lover doesn’t know anything of her past. After he has left, Prunier and Lisette arrive, quarreling: he had tried to make her a singer but her debut was a disaster. Magda tells Lisette she would be glad to take her into service once more. Prunier, who can’t imagine Magda continuing her fantasy life, delivers a message from Rambaldo: he is ready to welcome her back on any terms. Prunier leaves as Ruggero returns with a letter from his mother, who is delighted that her son has found a good and virtuous bride. Heartbroken, Magda confesses that she can be his mistress but never his wife. He insists he loves her anyway, but she says she will not ruin his future. Leaving the devastated Ruggero behind, she turns away to go back to her old life.