Big, Glorious, Passionate: Grand Opera Is Back!

Opera Santa Barbara presents Verdi’s La Traviata for one performance only at the Granada Theatre, on Sunday, June 12, at 2:30 p.m.

Famously featured in the 1990 Hollywood blockbuster Pretty Woman, La Traviata is a story of love and heartbreak in the romantic and unforgiving salons and boudoirs of 19th-century Paris. It is one of the most iconic works of romantic Italian opera, and features tunes that even people who haven’t seen the opera itself will recognize.

The production boasts a lineup of unforgettable singing actors and the full Opera Santa Barbara chorus and orchestra conducted by the company’s Artistic Director, Kostis Protopapas.

Soprano Anya Matanovich, previously seen in Santa Barbara as Abigail Williams in The Crucible and Freia in Das Rheingold, has made a signature role of Violetta, the opera’s tragic protagonist.  About her most recent performances in the role, the Utah Arts Review wrote: “She already invests the role with vocal sparkle and psychological depth.”

Her beloved Alfredo will be portrayed by tenor Nathan Granner, who won over Santa Barbara audiences with his performances in La Bohème in 2018 and Opera Santa Barbara’s 25th Anniversary Gala in 2019. “Granner put his robust tenor to full use, passionately conveying Alfredo’s desires or showing his more delicate side,” wrote the Dallas Morning News.

The trio of protagonists is completed by baritone Joel Balzun, as Alfredo’s stern father, Giorgio Germont, in his Opera Santa Barbara debut. Balzun’s exceptional promise as a young Verdi baritone was recently recognized when he won first prize in the 2021 Fulham Opera Robert Presley Memorial Verdi Prize. “Most impressive among the evening’s young artists was baritone Joel Balzun, an already mature artist with a voluminous sound that he had always under control,” wrote Robert Croan in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The production will be directed by Tara Faircloth, who regularly stages operas in companies such as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Wolf Trap Opera, and the Atlanta, Austin, and Utah operas. The scenic design is by François-Pierre Couture and features period costumes, props, and furniture with digital images projected on the back of the stage and two large picture frames that change positions during the opera. The images set the moods for the different scenes, and evoke the romantic aesthetic of 19th century.

Ticketing information
On Sunday, June 12, we’re back at the Granada with a sumptuous production of Verdi’s classic favorite La Traviata. There are two ways to get tickets:

• Purchase fully priced tickets and select your own seat on the Granada website.

• Choose any price between $30-$95 on the Opera SB website. We will process your order and assign your seats on a best-available basis about a week before the performance.

Whether you’re stepping out with your date or flying solo, dressing up or feeling casual, come spend an unforgettable afternoon in the gorgeous Granada Theatre, and celebrate the end of a one-of-a-kind season that brought the performing arts back to Santa Barbara with a bang.

And a week before the performance, Opera Santa Barbara will offer an open rehearsal at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens on Sunday, June 5, at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free, and attendees will enjoy the amazing voices of the Traviata cast and the 35-member Opera Santa Barbara Orchestra. Invite your friends, bring the kids, the pups, and the snacks. Please bring blankets that are breathable—no plastic underlining or yoga mats. Low lawn chairs are fine.


Sponsored by Opera Santa Barbara.