Opera SB Announces Expanded Mosher Studio Artist Program and Partnership with UCSB Voice Program

Opera Santa Barbara Expands Artist Residency Program: Newly named Mosher Studio Artist Program will enable singers to study and perform in the area for 17 weeks in 2016.

By Tim Dougherty (Opera Santa Barbara)

Santa Barbara, CA — Opera Santa Barbara will welcome four promising young vocalists for 17 weeks of performances, training, and community events under an expansion of its artist residency program early next year. The company’s new Mosher Studio Artist Program will enable four singers and an apprentice vocal coach to take part in Opera Santa Barbara productions, outreach activities throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and coachings and masterclasses with top industry directors and conductors. The inaugural complement of program participants will arrive in Santa Barbara on January 18. Their residencies will conclude in May.

“We are very grateful to the Mosher Foundation, whose generosity has made this expansion possible,” said Kostis Protopapas, who was named artistic director of Opera Santa Barbara in July. “We envision program participants serving as ambassadors for our company and opera generally, all the while receiving top-flight training that will further their careers.”

Under its original artist residency program, founded seven years ago, Opera Santa Barbara would host four singers for about five weeks of training and rehearsals prior to each of the company’s three annual opera productions, culminating in on-stage appearances as secondary performers. The effort was originally known as the Young Artists Program and was later renamed the Studio Artist Program. The Mosher Foundation, which supports educational, healthcare, and performing arts institutions in the Santa Barbara area, funded an expansion of the program last year.

Under the new Mosher Studio Artist Program, participants will tour elementary schools in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as part of the company’s Opera Lab, which uses improvisational theatre techniques to encourage children to “create their own operas”; perform six free noontime concerts at the Santa Barbara Public Library; present previews of Opera Santa Barbara productions to community groups such as retirement homes and Rotary clubs; and take part in a new series of “pop up” or “flash mob” performances from Thousand Oaks to Santa Maria. The latter will be presented at shopping malls, public libraries, farmers markets, school lunchrooms, and similar locations.

Mosher Studio Artists also will perform secondary roles in Opera Santa Barbara’s upcoming productions of Gaetano Donizetti’s romantic comedy L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) on March 4 and 6, and Puccini’s great one-act operas Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi on April 22 and 24. Featuring popular and lesser-known operatic repertoire with piano accompaniment, the free noontime concerts will be offered at the Santa Barbara Public Library’s Faulkner Gallery on February 17 and 24 and March 2 (in advance of L’elisir d’amore), and April 6, 13, and 20 (Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi). Additional concerts will likely be scheduled at other regional public libraries.

Through a related partnership, qualified UCSB voice students will be eligible to participate in the Mosher Studio Artist Program. Mezzo-soprano Molly Clementz, a doctoral candidate at UCSB, will be among the new program’s inaugural participants.

“This partnership will harness UCSB’s academic prestige and teaching excellence, along with Opera Santa Barbara’s professional opportunities and resources, in order to provide top-quality training for the area’s most promising young singers,” said Mr. Protopapas.

The full roster of incoming Mosher Studio Artists will be announced in January.

About Opera Santa Barbara

Founded in 1994 by Marilyn Gilbert and Nathan Rundlett, Opera Santa Barbara is committed to presenting productions and educational programs of the highest quality. Over more than two decades the company has staged some 50 operas and devoted thousands of hours to community outreach. The organization remains dedicated to the core passions that animated its founding: celebrating and championing the breadth and beauty of opera, and contributing to the cultural enrichment of the Santa Barbara community. Additional information is available at www.operasb.org.

Molly Clementz (courtesy photo)