The Board of Directors of Opera Santa Barbara is pleased to announce that its  Artistic Director, Kostis Protopapas has accepted additional responsibilities as General Director for the organization. At their November 27 meeting, the Executive Committee and the full board unanimously approved a proposal to create a new position for Mr. Protopapas as both Artistic and General Director.  “As Opera Santa Barbara looks forward to new, exciting opportunities in the years ahead,” OSB Board Chair Nancy Golden remarked, “we cannot think of a more talented navigator than Kostis Protopapas to lead us into this promising musical world. In his short time with us, he has not only brightened the sights and sounds that emanate from our stage, but also demonstrated incredible leadership skills, as evident in the most recent success of our complex and challenging production of Manon.”

Kostis was named Artistic Director of Opera Santa Barbara in August 2015. Having previously served as both Artistic and Interim Executive Director during his tenure at Tulsa Opera (2008-2016), Kostis has pledged to further Opera Santa long-standing reputation for artistic excellence, while at the same time strengthening its organizational structure. “In its first 24 years Opera Santa Barbara has developed into a vital artistic force for the city of Santa Barbara and our region.  With our 25th season just around the corner, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to shape the vision, strategy and culture that will bring us to the next era of artistic and organizational growth.”

In his new capacity as General and Artistic Director, Kostis is charged with assembling and leading the artistic and administrative team that will support the current season’s three remaining productions: Noyes Fludde, featuring the Santa Barbara Youth Opera the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony (February 3), Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at the Granada  (March 2/4), and a double-bill of Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti with Moore’s Gallantry, featuring the company’s Chrisman Studio Artists at the Center Stage Theater (April 20/21). He will also begin preparations for the company’s celebratory 25th anniversary season in 2018-19.


About Kostis Protopapas:

Named Artistic Director of Opera Santa Barbara in August 2015, Kostis Protopapas’ first season with the company in 2016-17 brought critical acclaim as well as box office success, with a sold-out production of Carmen, and company premieres of Janácek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, and Puccini’s La rondine. The 2017-18 season opened with a lavish production of Massenet’s Manon, and continues with a new-to-the-US production of The Barber of Seville (March 2018), and a double bill of Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti and Douglas Moore’s Gallantry (April 2018).

In addition to successful mainstage performances, under Kostis’ leadership Opera Santa Barbara saw the creation of the Santa Barbara Youth Opera, a program providing educational and performance opportunities for school-age children, the expansion of the company’s Chrisman Studio Artists program to a season-long residency, and an impressive increase in the company’s outreach and educational performances.

2016 saw the end of Kostis’ long association with Tulsa Opera, where he served as Artistic Director from November 2007 until May 2016, 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 bohème and Carmen to contemporary American works like Elmer Gantry and A Streetcar Named Desire. About his 2011 performances of The Barber of Seville, Alex Ross of The New Yorker wroteMost 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 stop noticing he’s there.”

Between 2002 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.

Born in Athens, Greece, Kostis Protopapas studied archaeology and art history 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.

For additional information e-mail Marylove Thralls or call 805-898-3890.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]