Rossini’s comic opera becomes Lobero
As Opera Santa Barbara (OSB) tours, the tragic gravity of Tosca, whose ingenious and inventive production opened its 2022-23 season at the Grand Theater of Granada gives way to a melodious and glorious silly piffle on Sunday, November 13 at the Lobero Theater. Welcome to the world of Gioachino Rossini’s comic opera La Scala de Seta (translate into The Silk Scale), the one-act opera example from 1812 farsa comic popular in Venice around the beginning of the 19th century.
Comedic or not, the compact lyrical enterprise is brimming with the elegant melodic inventiveness of Rossini’s bel canto and the playfulness of the character, as exemplified in librettist Giuseppe Maria Foppa’s dizzying tale of romantic convolutions.
One of the many reasons to catch the next episode of Opera Santa Barbara’s rich and varied season is its locally grown heroine, soprano Jana McIntyre, as Giulia, the epicenter of a comedic entanglement of love interests. McIntyre is no stranger to OSB, having a memorable turn in Handel’s Mixes last season, and, during the COVID lockdown, in the company’s adventurous ‘drive-in’ production of Don Pasquale in April 2021.
Other key personalities of La Scala de Seta, led by the company’s loyal leader, Kostis Protopapas, are tenor Christian Sanders and baritone Efraín Solis. In the director’s chair is Josh Shaw, who was behind the OSB productions of Don Pasquale and The Barber of Seville in recent years, and the orchestra will be conducted by Alexandra Enyart, heard at Lobero last season in charge of innovative contemporary opera on the theme of transgender Like a.
From contemporary work to the obscurities of the early 19th century, from basic repertoire to surprising elements, OSB continues to raise the bar of what an opera company can and should be, even in Santa Barbara.