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ZORRO Debuts at Opera Santa Barbara

April 19 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm PDT

Company concludes 30th anniversary season with California premiere 

Opera Santa Barbara will present the California premiere of Hector Armienta’s swashbuckling adventure Zorro on April 19 and 21, 2024 at the Lobero Theatre.


Premiered in 2022 at Opera Southwest, Zorro is based on the adventures of Johnston McCully’s dashing masked vigilante who for over a century has captured the imagination of millions of people worldwide and has inspired dozens of movies and television series.   The opera’s story combines heroic adventures of good versus evil, romantic rivalries, and humorous side plots set to a lush neo-romantic score full of Latin and Hispanic musical inspirations.


“I’ve always been fascinated by the pulp fiction character Zorro. The story of one person challenging power and injustice is a compelling story to tell”, said composer Hector Armienta. “One of the things that is also unique about the opera is that I’ve drawn  on history during the early 1800s, when Spain was losing its grip of power in the Americas and the flames of revolution were taking hold from México all the way north to California.”


The libretto, written by the composer himself, alternates between Spanish and English.  “Like myself, many Hispanic/Latinx Americans speak both English and Spanish”, continues Armienta.  “Among family and friends we go back and forth between the two languages, sometimes within the same sentence. The libretto to Zorro follows this pattern.”

Tenor Xavier Prado stars in the title role and soprano Oriana Falla plays Ana Maria, his partner in love and revolution.  They are surrounded by a cast of OSB favorites: mezzo soprano Kelly Guerra returns as the noble Carlotta de Obragòn, and baritone Bernardo Bermudez as the tyrannical General Moncada.  Mezzo-soprano Jessica Gonzalez-Rodriguez is Ana Maria’s wise grandmother Toypurina, while baritone Omar Rodriguez and soprano Sunwoo Park are the comic-relief couple of Sergeant Gomez and his girlfriend Luisa.


Anthony Barrese, who conducted the 2022 premiere, will lead the Opera Santa Barbara Orchestra and Chorus in his company debut.  The production, which will feature sets and projections by Daniel Chapman (Madama Butterfly, 2019) will be directed by Octavio Cardenas, who last directed Cruzar la cara de la luna in 2021.


A trailer of the opera created by Opera Southwest can be found here.

Tickets for the performances ranging from $59-$159 are available through the Lobero Theatre Box Office

65% of the tickets to this production have already been sold, so the company advises patrons to purchase their tickets soon, especially if they want to attend the Sunday matinee on April 21.

Opera Santa Barbara offers a limited number of free tickets for people ages 8-18.  Information on how they can be obtained can be found here.

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