Bandits, swashbucklers, and star-crossed lovers populate a lineup of pageantry and high drama inspired by the music and history of Spain in Opera Santa Barbara’s 30th Anniversary Season. The company will return to offering two performances for each opera.  Additionally, it will present a Maria Callas Tribute Concert in collaboration with UCSB’s Argyropoulos Chair in Hellenic Studies, and a production of a family-friendly opera featuring the Chrisman Studio Artists.

Fitting with the season’s Spanish theme, Opera Santa Barbara will kick off the celebration of their 30th anniversary with special performances and a float at the 2023 Old Spanish Days Fiesta Parade on Friday, August 4.  The float will showcase characters from the season’s operas and performances by company artists. 

The official opera season will open at the Granada Theatre with Bizet’s Carmen on Friday, September 29th, 2023, at 7:30pm and Sunday, October 1st, at 2:30pm. Mezzo-soprano Sarah Saturnino, who recently was announced a Grand Finalist Winner in the Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition, makes her OSB debut in the title role, surrounded by a host of company favorite artists. Tenor Nathan Granner and bass-baritone Colin Ramsey make their role debuts as Don José and Escamillo, and soprano Anya Matanovic returns as Micaëla. This production, which will feature dancers from State Street Ballet, will be directed by Fenlon Lamb and conducted by Opera Santa Barbara Artistic and General Director, Kostis Protopapas.This production of Carmen is made possible through generous support from the Granada Theatre. Tickets for both performances are currently available at

On Friday, November 10th, sopranos Eleni Calenos and Jana McIntyre headline a celebration of the 100 year birth anniversary of legendary Greek soprano Maria Callas. This concert will feature signature opera arias and ensembles of the great diva.  They will be accompanied by the Opera Santa Barbara Orchestra conducted by Kostis Protopapas.  The concert is presented in collaboration with UCSB, through the generosity of the Argyropoulos family.  A lecture on the life and legacy of Maria Callas by her principal biographer Helen Mattheopoulos, will be presented by UCSB at the Lobero Theatre on Wednesday, November 8th.  “We are so excited to be commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the birth of perhaps the most celebrated opera singer of the 20th century with this concert, and accompanying lecture” said Helen Morales, the Argyropoulos Professor of Hellenic Studies.  Opera Santa Barbara will perform the program again on Sunday, November 12, at 2pm in the Kavli Theatre at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center in Thousand Oaks.  Tickets for the Santa Barbara performance will be available on August 1 at Tickets for the Thousand Oaks Performance will be available on August 15 at

The annual showcase of the company’s Chrisman Studio Artists will take place at the Center Stage Theatre on December 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, featuring Xavier Montsalvatge’s 1948 opera El gato con botas (“Puss in Boots”).  Tickets will be available this fall at

On Friday, February 9th, and Sunday, February 11th, 2024 at the Lobero the company presents a new production of Verdi’s historical melodrama Il trovatore (“The troubadour”). A story of superstition, revenge, and ill-fated love in medieval Spain combined with some of Verdi’s most passionate melodies including the famous “Anvil Chorus”, makes Il trovatore the quintessential Italian romantic opera. The powerhouse cast stars tenor Harold Meers (Il tabarro, 2021, Carmen, 2016) soprano Karin Wolverton (Eugene Onegin, 2019), baritone Timothy Mix (Das Rheingold, 2021) and bass Andrew Potter (Don Pasquale, 2021), with mezzo soprano Deborah Nansteel making her company debut. Kostis Protopapas conducts the Opera Santa Barbara Orchestra and Chorus. Chuck Hudson directs a new production designed by Steven KempTickets to the Sunday, February 11 performance are available now.  Tickets to the Friday, February 9  performance will be available August 1 at

The season will close on Friday, April 19th, and Sunday, April 21st, 2024 at the Lobero Theatre, with the company premiere of Hector Armienta’s swashbuckling adventure Zorro. Premiered in 2022 at Opera Southwest, Zorro is based on the adventures of Johnston McCully’s legendary pulp hero, the dashing masked vigilante who defends the commoners and indigenous peoples of California against tyrannical officials. Tenor Xavier Prado stars in the title role and soprano Oriana Falla is his beloved Ana Maria, both in their company debuts. Mezzo soprano Kelly Guerra returns as the high-born Carlotta, baritone Bernardo Bermudez portrays the hero’s nemesis Moncada. Anthony Barrese, who conducted the 2022 premiere, will lead the Opera Santa Barbara Orchestra and Chorus in his company debut. The production, which will feature sets and projections by Daniel Chapman (Madama Butterfly, 2019), will be directed by Octavio Cardenas, who last directed Cruzar la cara de la luna in 2021.

Tickets to the Sunday, April 21 performance are available now.  Tickets to the Friday, April 19 performance will be available August 1 at

Tickets are available through the Granada and Lobero Box Offices. 

“As we look forward to our 30th anniversary season, nothing makes me happier than to be able to announce that we will be returning to a two performance schedule for our Mainstage operas”, said Artistic and General Director Kostis Protopapas. “While the environment for the performing arts remains challenging, Opera Santa Barbara is happy to be the bearer of good news. We are grateful for the support of the public and the donor community who have embraced our artistic and business choices in the past few years.  We look forward to a rich season of music theater that truly has something for everyone.

Opera Santa Barbara is planning to offer free student matinee performances of El Gato con Botas and Zorro, subject to school availability.  Interested teachers and school administrators please contact Tim Accurso at [email protected].
Students 8-18 receive free admission to all Opera SB performances. Some conditions apply. To inquire, please contact [email protected] with the subject “Youth tickets.”