October 23, 2022 / Following its sold-out “Tosca,” Opera Santa Barbara (Opera SB) continues its 2022-23 season with a new production of Rossini’s “La scala di seta,” starring soprano Jana McIntyre of Santa Barbara.

There will be one public performance at 2:30 pm Sunday, Nov. 13, and a free student matinee performance at 10 am. Monday, Nov. 14.

In Rossini’s 1812 bel canto comedy “La scala di seta” (“The Silk Ladder”) beautiful Giulia (McIntyre), lowers a silk ladder from her window every night for Dorvil, to whom she is secretly married, to climb into her bedroom.

A series of misunderstandings turns their little love nest into a circus of relatives, suitors and servants plotting, eavesdropping, and ultimately happily reconciling, in a blast of Rossini’s vocal fireworks. 

McIntyre, a George London Foundation top prize winner and Metropolitan Opera National Council grand finalist, has been praised by Opera News for her “dancer’s grace, mercurial wit, and vibrant soprano tone.”

In her young career, McIntyre already has worked with such opera companies as the Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Palm Beach Opera.

She made a mainstage debut with Opera Santa Barbara in the title role of Handel’s “Semele” in January 2022, after starring in the company’s drive-in production of Don Pasquale in April 2021.

Tenor Christian Sanders, who made his Opera SB debut as the Song Seller in “Il Tabarro” in November 2021, returns as the dashing Dorvil, Giulia’s secret husband. The role of the wily servant Germano will be portrayed by baritone Efrain Solis, seen in Santa Barbara as Mark in “Cruzar la cara de la luna” in September 2021.

Tenor Benjamin Brecher, UCSB Music Department chair, portrays Giulia’s foiled guardian Dormont. Chrisman Studio Artists mezzo Christina Pezzarossi, and baritone Matthew Peterson, round off the cast as Lucilla and Blansac.

The new production, which sets the plot in a tailor shop in the 1930s, is designed and directed by Joshua Shaw, founding artistic director of Pacific Opera Project in LA. Shaw, who previously directed Opera SB’s “The Barber of Seville” in 2018 and “Don Pasquale” in 2021, was named Top 30 Innovators in Classical Music in 2017 by Musical America Magazine.

Shaw has been praised for Pacific Opera Project’s work in making opera accessible through innovative, entertaining, and irreverent productions. 

“There’s nothing I love more than a good bel canto comedy,” Shaw said. “’La scala di seta’ is packed with delightfully clever arias and ensembles tailor-made (pun intended) for operatic shenanigans. We’ve updated the setting to a 1930s tailor shop, a ‘fitting’ location and explanation for the titular ‘silk ladder.’”

Guest Conductor Alexandra Enyart, who made her Opera SB debut with “As One” earlier this year, and has been praised as “One of Chicago’s Greatest Operatic Gifts” by the Chicago Theater Review.

“Throughout history, lovers have been kept apart for class, for race, for religion, for gender, and many other reasons,” said Enyart. “This piece is an important reminder that love finds a way even if it has to come in through the window on a ladder made of silk.”

“La scala di seta” is the second of four operas in Opera Santa Barbara’s 2022-23 season. It will be followed by Jack Perla and Jessica Murphy-Moo’s 2015 drama “An American Dream” on Feb. 18, and “The Valkyrie,” April 23, the second installment of Richard Wagner’s “The Ring of the Nibelung” in the 1990 streamlined version by Jonathan Dove and Graham Vick.

Patrons have two options for purchasing tickets: buy full-priced tickets and select their own seats at the Lobero box office (online, by phone 10 am-5 pm Monday-Friday at 805-963-0761, or in-person during the same hours); or name-their-own-price with YOU DECIDE! Tickets on the OSB website. Seats will be assigned for them by Opera Santa Barbara and the Lobero.

The 90-minute performance will be sung in Italian, with English translation projected above the stage. There is no intervention.

Teachers and school administrators interested in the student matinee can email [email protected] for seat availability. The student matinee is made possible by funding from the John C. Mithun Foundation, Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation, Music Performance Trust Fund, and Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation.