Kostis Protopapas was named General Director of Opera Santa Barbara in December 2017, after two-and-a-half seasons as Artistic Director. During his time as Artistic Director and principal conductor, Kostis brought a unified vision to OSB’s musical and production values, strengthening the orchestra and chorus, engaging some of the country’s most promising young directors and singers, building a high-performing production team, and increasing focus on contemporary American opera. As General Director Kostis assembled Team OSB, a group of enthusiastic overachievers with a passion for innovation and the desire to strengthen the company’s bond with the community, who consistently exceed patrons’ expectations for programs, experiences and communications. Performance highlights from Kostis’ tenure include grand opera classics like Madama Butterfly, Manon, and Eugene Onegin as well as contemporary works like Daniel Catan’s Il Postino, the mariachi opera Cruzar la cara de la luna, and Laura Kaminsky’s As One. In the fall of 2022 the Santa Barbara Independent wrote: “From contemporary work to obscurities from the early 19th century, from staple repertoire to surprise elements, OSB continues to raise the bar on what an opera company can and should be, even in Santa Barbara.”
Between March 2020 and June 2021, under Kostis’ leadership Opera Santa Barbara remained active and fully staffed. It was the first performing arts organization in Santa Barbara to offer streaming programming, and one of only two opera companies in California to present three live operas in the 2020-21 season. Additionally, Opera Santa Barbara became an advocacy leader for the reopening of the performing arts, and funded live performances by local musicians through “Operation Eurydice”. For his work during the pandemic, Kostis was listed among the Santa Barbara Independent’s 2021 Local Heroes.
Before coming to Santa Barbara Kostis was the Artistic Director of Tulsa Opera since 2008. He previously was an Assistant Conductor with 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.
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. He loves living in Santa Barbara, sits on the Board of the Santa Barbara University Club, and enjoys sailing on the Santa Barbara Channel.
Fenlon Lamb is continually praised for her dynamic and engaging productions in leading regional houses across the United States. She directed Arizona Opera’s world premiere and the subsequent remount of Riders of the Purple Sage which Broadway World called “epic” and “memorable…literally and figuratively blazing trails.” She recently returned to the company to mount a new production of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird. In previous seasons, Fenlon staged a “grand and gripping” Rigoletto and a “classic and stylish” Lucia di Lammermoor for her debut with the company in 2012.
A house favorite at Palm Beach Opera, Fenlon led a “fizzing and delightful” Il Barbiere di Siviglia for their 2013 International Season and her debut with the company. She has since directed La Bohème which highlighted her “superb theatrical instincts” and “an attractive and well-timed staging” of Don Pasquale which was hailed as “one of the companies best efforts” by Palm Beach News. Subsequent seasons included “a spiced up” Tosca and the Papermoon Opera Production of Hansel and Gretel for PBO’s family series at the Crest Theater.
Other notable productions include La traviata for her Madison and Toledo Opera debuts and a new production for Finger Lakes Opera. Fenlon directed a new production of Scalia/Ginsburg for Opera Delaware, Tosca with Jennifer Rowley in the title role, and The Pearlfishers for Dayton Opera. She has directed Carmen for North Carolina Opera, Mill City Summer Opera, Dayton Opera, Bar Harbor Music Festival and Annapolis Opera. She directed Werther and Hänsel und Gretel for Nightingale Opera Theater, Le nozze di Figaro for Orlando Philharmonic and Stephen Paulus’ To Be Certain of the Dawn with Lexington Symphony. Fenlon led a new production of Der Fliegende Holländer with Greer Grimsley in the title role for Opera Carolina that “balanced operatic polish, romantic beauty and feminist critique” and a “sympathetic production” of Werther for Mobile Opera starring Gran Wilson.
Mexican-American mezzo-soprano, Sarah Saturnino, is quickly becoming known for her versatility and “range of vocal colors” (Miami Herald). A winner of the 2023 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals, her recent roles include: Lucretia in The Rape of Lucretia with LA Opera, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro and Carmen in The Tragedy of Carmen with Shreveport Opera, Vera Boronel in The Consul with Baltimore Concert Opera, Maddalena in Rigoletto with Opera San Antonio, Mutter in Hänsel und Gretel and Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte with Yale Opera. Miss Saturnino is a current member of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at LA Opera, where she made her mainstage debut in the role of Emilia in Otello and sang Jocabed in Mollicone’s Moses.
Miss Saturnino is a former Apprentice Artist with Santa Fe Opera, where she covered Carmen in Carmen, and Meg Page in Falstaff. During the 2021 summer season with Santa Fe Opera, she covered the roles of Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro and Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She is an alumna of The Chautauqua Opera Company’s Young Artist program where she covered Paquette in Candide and sang Komponist from Ariadne auf Naxos in their Apprentice Scenes Program. Miss Saturnino has performed with the Miami Summer Music Festival as Le Prince Charmant in Massenet’s Cendrillon and was a soloist in Handel's Messiah with the Wintergreen Performing Arts Festival, as well as multiple concerts in Tuscany, Italy with Bel Canto in Tuscany.
Miss Saturnino received the Donald & Luke Graham Memorial Award (2022) and the Campbell/Wachter Scholarship Award (2021) from the Santa Fe Opera. She received the Faculty Award from the Vann Vocal Institute in 2020. She won first place at the Pacific NorthWest Competition in Eugene, Oregon in 2019. She has placed in the top ten in the Brava! Competition two years (2018/2019) in a row and was a Grand Finalist in the Talents of the World Competition in 2018. She has also received awards from the Laffont Competition, San Diego District.
Her concert works include Verdi’s Requiem with The Bakersfield Symphony, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with LA Chamber Orchestra. Other works include Handel’s Let God Arise, and O sing unto the Lord, and Messiah. She has also sung in recitals for the Trinity on Wall Street: Pipes at One Series and The Chautauqua Opera Company’s Emerging Artists Recital. She has sung Bernstein’s Candide in concert as The Old Lady with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra.
Miss Saturnino graduated cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts: Vocal Performance and a Music Industry Minor in 2016. She graduated with honors from the Yale University School of Music with a Masters of Music in 2018.
In spring of 2023 she will be making her house debut with Amarillo Opera as Maddalena in their production of Rigoletto. Miss Saturnino is a choreographer, fight director and intimacy director. Her work includes Feel the Tango, Speed Dating, and Le Nozze di Figaro for Shreveport Opera. She was the fight captain for Carmen while at the Santa Fe Opera. She works with Sordelet Inc. as a Fight and Intimacy Director. She is also trained in fencing.
The soprano’s upcoming engagements include a return to Seattle Opera as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro and Violetta in La Traviata with Opera Santa Barbara. This summer she sings the role of Isotta in Strauss’ Die schweigsame Frau at Bard Summerscape. In the 2022-23 season she joins the roster of the Metropolitan Opera to cover the role of Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata.
During the COVID-19 shortened 2019-2020 season, Ms. Matanovič returned to Utah Opera as Violetta in La Traviata (performed), and joined the Santa Barbara Symphony for performances of Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (performed). The previous season included a return to Utah Opera as Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, and a role debut as Abigail Williams in The Crucible with Opera Santa Barbara. Additionally, she joined the Lyric Opera of Chicago to cover Ginevra in Ariodante.
The 2017-2018 season saw the soprano make her company and role debut as Mimi in La bohème with Opera Colorado, followed by an appearance with the Eugene Concert Choir for Mozart’s Grand Mass in C Minor. The 2016-2017 season began with an anticipated return to Seattle Opera, as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel. The season also included notable role debuts, including Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress with Boston Lyric Opera, and Mabel in Pirates of Penzance with Lyric Opera of Kansas City. She also appeared in concert with the Cleveland Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony for Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ms. Matanovic’s 2015-2016 season featured a debut with New Orleans Opera as Adele in Die Fledermaus.read more www.anyamatanovic.com
Chinese American 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 the 2022 – 2023 season, Mr. Ramsey will return to San Diego Opera, singing The Speaker and 2nd Armored Man in Die Zauberflöte 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 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, and Cadmus and Somnus in Handel’s Semele.
Mr. Ramsey has a great passion for oratorio and concert repertoire. He has been a soloist at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and La Jolla Symphony. Mr. Ramsey has performed as the bass soloist in Verdi’s Requiem, Dvorâk’s Stabat Mater, Jesus in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Handel’s Messiah, Faurè’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and the Brahms Requiem.
Mr. Ramsey has found success in the competition circuit as a winner of the Pasadena Opera Guild Competition, 3rd Prize winner in the Rocky Mountain Region of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and an Encouragement Award winner in the George London Foundation Competition.
Several Apprentice programs have been pivotal in Mr. Ramsey’s growth and training as a singer including those of The Santa Fe Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Santa Barbara and the Crested Butte Music Festival. He is an alumnus of The Manhattan School of Music where he attended as a Presidential, and Presser Foundation Scholar. Upon graduating, he was honored with the Hugh Ross Award, given annually to a “singer of unusual promise.”
Mr. Ramsey holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music.