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Architectural Digest and Condé Nast Traveller spotlight the Lobero Theatre as one of “The 11 Most Beautiful Theaters in the World.”



Architectural Digest and Condé Nast Traveller recently included the Lobero Theatre among “The 11 Most Beautiful Theaters in the World.” The other ten remarkable venues cited include Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, California), Palau de la Música Catalana (Barcelona, Spain), Palacio de Bellas Artes (Mexico City, Mexico), Opéra Garnier (Paris, France), Harbin Grand Theater (Harbin, China), Raj Mandir (Jaipur, India), Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia), Teatro di San Carlo (Naples, Italy), The Vienna State Opera (Vienna, Austria), and Steinmetz Hall (Orlando, Florida). Now celebrating their 150th anniversary, the Lobero is grateful to be in such good company.

Photo Credit: Patrick Price

“Spanning styles and purpose, these stunning buildings prove it’s not just the performances hosted within that can be considered art,” wrote Katherine McLaughlin. “The theaters on this list are opera houses, concert halls, and even movie theaters. Nonetheless, they shine through for their unique designs, creative innovations, and stunning appearances.”

1924 – 2023

Originally founded as José Lobero’s Opera House in 1873, the Lobero is the oldest continuously operating theater in California, and the fourth oldest performing arts theater in the country. Renowned for high quality programs presented in a welcoming intimate atmosphere, the Lobero has been the heart and rhythm of Santa Barbara since its inception.

The opera house was rebuilt in 1924, in a Spanish Colonial Revival style designed by architects George Washington Smith and Lutah Maria Riggs.

The architecture was so sound it even withstood the 1925 monumental earthquake, which destroyed the historic center of the city.

Registered as a state and city historical landmark, the Lobero is recognized as one of Santa Barbara’s architectural jewels. Today, the theater is managed by the Lobero Theatre Foundation, who works to maintain, improve, and operate this notable treasure as a performing arts theater and cultural asset to the community. The Lobero is also Santa Barbara County’s first certified Green Theater and the first historic building to earn this designation.

Photo Credit: Patrick Price

Whether hosting events of great societal importance, launching the careers of Hollywood legends, serving as an influential jazz venue, or providing a stage for some of the world’s finest performers, the Lobero inspires diverse audiences of all ages. With its relatively small seat count, it affords audiences the chance to see top talent in a more personal, intimate venue.

Photo Credit: Sherry Rayn Barnett

To commemorate their 150th historic milestone, the theater mounted a public celebration and awareness campaign to pay tribute to this remarkable landmark, and position the Lobero Theatre to be a prominent, integral, and essential stage for the performing arts in Santa Barbara well into the future.

We hope you enjoy a peek into the Lobero archives.

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