UC Santa Barbara Opera Theatre presents virtual Don Giovanni

UC Santa Barbara Opera Theatre presents virtual Don Giovanni title=
UC Santa Barbara Opera Theatre presents virtual Don Giovanni
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Event Date: 
Friday, February 26, 2021 - 18:00

UC Santa Barbara Opera Theatre and the Department of Music
will present a virtual performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s two-act opera Don Giovanni on Friday,
February 26, 2021 at 6 pm PST as a YouTube Premiere. Directed by UC Santa Barbara Associate
Professor Dr. Isabel Bayrakdarian, the abridged version of the opera will be sung in the original Italian
with English surtitles. The video will be free and available to the public via the Department of Music’s
YouTube channel.

Students in the UC Santa Barbara Opera Theatre Program began preparing for the virtual production in
Fall 2020, rehearsing and later recording scenes in their own homes, in locations all over the country, with
some students as far away as Italy and South Korea. The remote format of the project challenged the
students both musically and technologically, requiring them to learn recording techniques and become
familiar with new equipment. Dr. Bayrakdarian, who quickly adapted her own performances to a virtual
format at the start of the pandemic, directed the project and provided valuable advice and feedback
during the rehearsals and recording process.

“Directing this opera during the pandemic—and presenting it virtually—posed many challenges, but it also
offered the rare chance to assign the dual roles of Don Giovanni and Leporello to the same singer, thus
alluding to the notion that the servant and his master are alter-egos, opposite sides of the same person,”
noted Dr. Bayrakdarian. “This opera has a timeless quality, and it’s a great psychological thriller. Having
sung the role of Zerlina in countless productions around the world, from the Salzburg Festival to the
Metropolitan Opera, it’s an incredible honor for me to be able to pass on the experience and knowledge
that I learned from the greatest conductors and stage directors, back to the new generation of singers and
to our talented UCSB voice students.”

The virtual production will include performances by both graduate and undergraduate Voice Program
students, with piano accompaniment by UC Santa Barbara Continuing Lecturer Dr. John Ballerino and
doctoral student Erik Lawrence. Second year doctoral student Valdis Jansons will sing the dual roles of
the infamous Don Giovanni and his personal attendant, Leporello, while first year doctoral student April
Amante will sing the challenging role of Donna Anna. Students in the master’s program for Voice will sing
the roles of Don Ottavio (Gianni Becker) and Zerlina (Marta Hovhannisyan). Doctoral candidate Naomi
Merer will sing the role of Donna Elvira and Steven Browning Thomson, a master’s student in the Choral
Conducting Program, will sing the role of Masetto. The choir will consist of undergraduate students
Megan Ashley, Tyler Fulgham, Violet Joy Hansen, Keith Romero, Soohyun Ryu, Kartik Sundaram, and
Matthew Thayer.

Don Giovanni features music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte,
whom Mozart also collaborated with for Le Nozze di Figaro (1786) and Così fan tutte (1790). Classified by
Mozart as an opera buffa, Don Giovanni received its premiere on October 29, 1787 by the Prague Italian
Opera at the National Theater, now called the Estates Theatre, in Prague, Czech Republic. Based on the
legend of the notorious libertine Don Juan originally brought to life by the Spanish writer Tirso de Molina,
the opera is set in Seville, Spain in the mid-18th century, and follows the demise of the shameless
seducer Don Giovanni over the course of a mere 24 hours.

UC Santa Barbara Opera Theatre’s virtual production of Don Giovanni will be available to view as a
YouTube Premiere on the Department of Music’s YouTube channel (tinyurl.com/ucsbmusicyoutube)
on Friday, February 26, 2021 at 6 pm PST. The direct link to the video of the performance will be
available on the event page on the Department of Music’s website by mid-February. For more
information, please visit music.ucsb.edu/news/event/2171.

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