Rossini Comic Opera Goes Lobero

Opera Santa Barbara Continues Season with Rossini’s Comic Opera ‘La Scala di Seta’ at the Lobero

Jana McIntyre stars in Opera Santa Barbara’s ‘La Scala di Seta’ | Credit: Courtesy

As Opera Santa Barbara (OSB) turns, the tragic gravitas of Tosca, the resourcefully inventive production of which opened its 2022-23 season at the grand Granada Theatre gives way to tuneful and glorious silly piffle on Sunday, November 13, at the Lobero Theatre. Welcome to the comic opera world of Gioachino Rossini’s La Scala di Seta (translating to The Silk Ladder), the one-act, 1812-vintage example of operatic farsa comica popular in Venice circa the early 19th century.

Comic or not, the compact operatic enterprise is rife with Rossini’s elegant melodic bel canto inventiveness and character playfulness, as laid out in librettist Giuseppe Maria Foppa’s dizzy tale of romantic convolutions.

One of many reasons to catch the next installment of Opera Santa Barbara’s rich and varied season is its locally grown heroine, soprano Jana McIntyre, in the role of Giulia, the epicenter of a comic tangle of love interests. McIntyre is no stranger to OSB, having a memorable turn in Handel’s Semele last season, and, during the COVID lockdown, in the company’s venturesome “drive-in” production of Don Pasquale in April 2021.

Other key figures in La Scala di Seta, with the company’s stalwart leader Kostis Protopapas in the lead, are tenor Christian Sanders and baritone Efraín Solis. In the director’s chair is Josh Shaw, who was behind OSB productions of Don Pasquale and The Barber of Seville in recent years, and the orchestra will be conducted by Alexandra Enyart, heard in the Lobero last season in charge of the innovative, transgender-themed contemporary opera As One.

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. 

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