Brundibar

What You Should Know:
About Santa Barbara Youth Opera

Rebecca Comerford, Director of Santa Barbara Youth Opera is an accomplished performer at the helm of a very ambitious collaboration with Ojai Youth Opera, Opera Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony to bring the youth opera Brundibár to life at the Lobero this spring.

This story is currently featured in the Spring 2017 BACKSTAGE at the Lobero, but we were forced to edit it down for space. We hope you’ll read on to learn more about this powerful work of theater, and the talented team that’s putting it all together. This project is a part of the Lobero Theatre Foundation’s Youth and Community Outreach Programs.

How did you begin working with Opera for youth?

I am a Lyric Mezzo Soprano with a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance/Opera from the Manhattan School of Music. I have sung as a soloist throughout the US and Europe, and while most of the audiences I have sung for have been adults, I have always loved sharing the art form with younger audiences as well. While in New York City, I sang for the Metropolitan Opera Guild, performing outreach education to over 15,000 public school children in underserved areas, which is how I started sharing the operatic art form with youth. I started an Opera Camp at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in the summer, where I brought colleagues from New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera to do workshops and masterclasses with the children. When I moved to Ojai five years ago with my budding family, I carried on this work as an Artist-in-Residence with the Ojai Music Festival, going into the schools in Ventura County and starting a program called “Ojai Creates Opera.” I then started my own company in Ojai, “Ojai Youth Opera,” where we have been holding masterclasses, workshops and opera scenes for youth ages 7-18 every summer for the past five years. We are bringing a level of excellence in classical music education to the youth of this area and exposing them to a new art form, and the results have been truly rewarding.

There is a reason why this opera survived the war. It makes me feel there is still more insight, more hope, more tolerance, more love that can be spread and shared through this work of art. The children of Theresienstadt will forever be remembered through the voices of our children. 

Tell me a little bit about this collaboration with Ojai Youth Opera and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony for Brunidbár. How did that come together?

Maestro Protopapas had heard about what was happening in Ojai through a mutual colleague at the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, Director Andy Radford. Maestro had been considering doing a youth production of Brundibár in Santa Barbara as an addition to the regularly scheduled OSB performances for the 2016/2017 season; what he didn’t know initially was that Ojai Youth Opera had also been planning on staging Brundibár in the Spring of 2017 as our first featured Opera! Kostis reached out to me, and we marveled at the serendipity of it all–Brundibár is not a common opera and the chances of us both being drawn to the same material at the same time are quite rare. We decided to co-collaborate and align our vision to make one production that could be performed both at Ojai’s Libbey Bowl and at the Lobero in Santa Barbara in May of 2017. We decided to share our staff, resources, and talent as a truly collaborative effort because all three organizations, Ojai Youth Opera, Opera Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, believe strongly in the message of hope and tolerance that has inspired this opera and we believe it is timely and important to share it.

What can you tell us about the work, Brunidbár?

At its most basic level, Brundibár is a musical fable told from the perspective of a brave brother and sister who are confronted by a larger-than-life organ grinder who bullies and scares them. The animals and townspeople of their small village serve as symbols of resistance and encouragement to help the siblings find their voices and ultimately succeed in standing up to Brundibár, despite being children.

Although the story is simple, its message is anything but. Originally written in 1938, Krasa and librettist Adolf Hoffmeister created the opera for the Children’s Orphanage of Prague. It debuted in secret in 1941, due to the occupation by the German army. When the war escalated, Krasa was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp and re-wrote the opera, (some of which was destroyed along the way) for the children and instrumentalists in the camp. Overall, Brundibár was performed 55 times by the children of Theresienstadt. Hitler failed to realize was that the opera itself was a work of resistance. The Brundibár character symbolized Hitler himself, a bully and tyrant who would stop at nothing to get his own way, including threatening small children. In this story, the children overcome the tyrant and refuse to be intimidated. The victory chorus at the end of the opera is the ultimate triumph–a defiant plea to not give into hatred, prejudice, and bigotry, sung from the courageous hearts of the children. It is their innocence and hope that prevail, and those qualities are reflected in Krasa’s score.

 

What do you envision for the future of the Youth Opera program?

Maestro Protopapas has said that soloists come and go, but it is the ensemble, the people who are part of the community and committed to season after season, that are really the lifeblood of the organization. My hope is that the Youth Opera program will also become a musical cornerstone for the opera company, so that year after year, we watch these children return to OSB and mature into polished young artists who become a permanent part of the ensemble. Even if they don’t become professional opera singers or classical musicians, we will be cultivating the next generation of opera aficionados, educators, leaders and advocates in a time when they are so desperately needed. Their presence in the Opera Company can, in turn, ignite a whole new audience–younger, more diverse, and open to new art forms. And in this way, we all grow.

#GiveDay

Help us celebrate the Lobero by joining in our first Lobero Give Day on Wednesday, February 22–our 144th birthday!

“Give Days” are like a 24-hour digital pep rally, and we’re throwing our first this Wednesday. And, like any party, we want to invite all our friends to be there.

The Lobero is Santa Barbara’s community theater, a home for so many of our favorite memories; whether you performed on this stage, or watched a young performer here, so many of us got our first taste of the stage right here. The Lobero has been right here for 144 years, which, is pretty incredible. It’s been a big part of Santa Barbara history, standing proud since the big earthquake of 1925, seen each and every Old Spanish Days celebration, and remains the favorite venue for many top performers.

Making a gift on #LoberoGiveDay will help to ensure this community stage remains a viable community asset for many years to come. But don’t worry, if you can’t make a gift, there are other ways to get involved:

Save me and use as your profile pic on #GiveDay!

 

  • We’d love to hear your stories on Wednesday, February 22. Please share a memory or story on Facebook and Tag us @LoberoTheatre. (Add the hashtag #LoberoGiveDay so we can keep track)
  • Would you be willing to share on your own page asking people to make a gift to support your favorite theater? Let us know, and we’ll send you everything you’ll need.
  • Save this cute photo and make it your temporary profile pic for the day.

Thanks so much to all our friends, fans, followers… We couldn’t do it without you!

RSVP here on Facebook

BYO-Pint

Reusable Souvenir Pint Cups are on sale now 

We’re partnering with the Santa Barbara Bowl to fill both venues’ Klean Kanteen pint cups and work together toward a greener concert experience.

Purchase a reusable, built-to-last Klean Kanteen Pint to use here at the Lobero–and at the Santa Barbara Bowl–and help to save countless single-use cups from the trash. 

+ $10 for Souvenir Pint

+ $17 with First Beverage

+ Save $1 on Each Refill!

Take me home with you.

In 2015, the Lobero became Santa Barbara’s first Green Business-certified historic building and theatrical venue, and we want to continue to build on that momentum. Tackling an issue like single use cups seems like a great place to go next. Since the Lobero features live performances with concessions almost 200 nights per
year, creating a possibility for thousands of single-use cups to be thrown away. Just like bringing your own bag to the store or mug to the coffee shop; now we invite you to bring your reusable cup whenever you head out to see live music at your favorite Santa Barbara venues.

The Lobero Theatre is a Santa Barbara County Green Business. To earn the certification, the Lobero Theatre has implemented solutions to improve efficiency in electricity, water use, and implement a sustainable transportation plan staff members. This certification marks several years of gradual changes to ensure environmentally safe practices at the Lobero Theatre, including the City of Santa Barbara’s Recycling and Foodscraps Recycling Programs requiring the use of compostable and biodegradable plates, flatware and paper products at all Lobero events, concessions and receptions. Learn more at greenbizsbc.org.

Local Hero

David Asbell: Directing the Lobero

We know it embarrasses him, but, we are thrilled to see our fearless leader selected as one of the Independent’s 2016 Local Heroes.

“It was almost exactly 20 years ago that David Asbell accepted the position of executive director at the Lobero Theatre… he not only brought the kind of savvy that only comes from working backstage, but he also brought a profound vision of what the Lobero Theatre could become: Santa Barbara’s beating creative heart. By establishing a welcoming atmosphere and by being open to a creative team that includes such area luminaries as Hale Milgrim, Dianne Vapnek, Peggie Jones, and Stephen Cloud, Asbell has turned the Lobero into what we need most, in good times and bad: a blessed community of like-minded people, alive to the arts and ready to listen and share the love of great music, ideas, dance, and theater.” (Read the full story)

For the past 20 years, David has worked hard to make the Lobero the bustling, vibrant performing arts venue that it is. He created the Lobero LIVE and Jazz at the Lobero series, bringing truly legendary artists to the stage. He has had a leading role in the completion of more than $10 million in major renovations behind the scenes and in the auditorium. Most important, David has championed the Lobero’s essential role as a community resource, a place that our local artists call home. From the Chamber Orchestra to the Film Festival to Sings Like Hell – they are all welcomed here by the man at the helm.

This Thanksgiving, the Lobero Board and Staff are thankful for David and all he’s created.

 

Meet Kerrilee Gore

Who You Should Know:
Santa Barbara Teen Dance Star talent director & creator of When the Lights Go Out

In a previous issue of BACKSTAGE, Gore chatted about Teen Dance Star and the Arts Mentorship Program, and working with young dancers. She’s now gearing up for a four-show run of When the Lights Go Out later this month. Get your tickets today.

What is your title/role with “Teen Dance Star”?

I am the Talent Director/coordinator. I work closely with all the families and dancers on scheduling and provide them with all the necessary information needed to perform in Teen Dance Star. I am also their main point person if they have any concerns. I am like their backstage mama!26222_355288057742_688337742_4745978_940106_n

Can you tell me a bit more about your background in dance and/or in presenting dance in Santa Barbara? I understand you’ve worn quite a few hats!

My training originally started out as a gymnast and I crossed over into dance later. I danced for several small boutique dance companies in Los Angeles and Miami. I was the former Dance Director of a cirque troupe based in Los Angeles called Zen Arts, and performed regularly with The Diamond Betties. I relocated to Santa Barbara upon taking the position as Entertainment Director of The Savoy where I created an in-house cirque show called “Gypzy Suite” that featured elements of eclectic cabaret. Over the past two years, I have been creating and working on an immersive theatrical show with elements of cabaret and acrobatics called “When The Lights Go Out” which originally debuted at The Carr Winery in 2014 and had a run at the beautiful Lobero Theatre last November. In recent years, I performed solo burlesque for local charities like Teddy Bear Foundation and even did a little gig for first Thursday at The Lobero in 2014.

I am also a board member for Arts Mentorship Program, an organization that provides creative guidance, mentorship, and financial support to young and emerging performing artists in the greater Santa Barbara Area. I am most inspired by the edgy underground burlesque scene out of Los Angeles and the new wave of immersive theatre that is taking the performance world by storm.

Can you elaborate a bit about the collaboration between the Arts Mentorship Progra6fee0a4497e844f9adc82e648ef829e4m / Teen Dance Star / and the Lobero Theatre foundation?

Teen Dance Star has teamed up with the Arts Mentorship Program (AMP) to expand access to the performing arts in our community. The proceeds from the Showcase Final will create scholarship funds for low-income and at risk youth to train at local dance studios administered by AMP. Arts Mentorship Program has the existing infrastructure to administrate the scholarship request, while Teen Star has a successful model of producing quality events that showcase youth performing arts.

This partnership is important since the mission of Teen Star is to support youth in performing arts with the goal to nurture talent by inspiring passion, instilling drive for success and encouraging excellence and professionalism. Teen Dance Star is a year-long program where the finalists act as ambassadors in the community while leaving legacy to help educate a generation of dancers who would not otherwise have access.

What would you like to see for the future of Teen Dance Star?

Growth. I would love for all of the dancers in Santa Barbara County to realize that they can do this. I would love to see more of a variety of styles of dance come out and audition. This year we did not have many dancers representing hip-hop, ballroom, or flamenco come to audition; and I want to encourage them to participate.

Do you have any favorite moments performing at the Lobero Theatre?

Performing my show at The Lobero was a magical experience. Not only is the stage an absolute dancer’s dream–but the staff and crew are magnificent as well! They are incredibly supportive, and make you feel as though your show is equally as important to them as it is to you. When The Lights Go Out had a unique format in the fact that the audience was seated on the stage with the performers, which could have been a technical nightmare for the crew, but they handled it flawlessly. I also love the fact that it is one of California’s oldest working theaters; to me it has a David Lynch-esque vintage vibe.

When the Lights Go Out from Jeremy Danger on Vimeo.

 

Adele Roadtrip

The best seat in the house? Yours.

It’s been one week since 12 lucky Lobero supporters (and two even luckier staffers) headed out on an epic roadtrip to see Adele at the Staples Center.

To say that Adele has been on a hot streak lately would be a major understatement. The husky-voiced British singer has captured the attention of the world with her classy throwback style; signature winged eyeliner, and emotionally charged songs that speak to anyone with feelings. With her third album 25 at the top of the charts, and a completely sold out worldwide tour underway, 2016 was the summer of Adele.

Adele burst onto the scene in 2008, winning two GRAMMY® awards for her debut album, 19. Her follow-up, 21, was also a huge success, and Adele continued to collect awards and break records. Her newest album 25 was released in 2015 and has already sold over 100 million copies, making Adele one of the best-selling recording artists in the world. Her 2016 world tour quickly sold out, making this opportunity even more exciting.

12 lucky Lobero supporters were able to enjoy Adele’s sold-out show at the Staples Center on August 10, as very special bonus for naming a seat at their favorite hometown venue. Those who dedicated a seat made a valuable contribution to the theatre and got to share the unforgettable experience of the Lobero’s first roadtrip. Guests kicked off the afternoon by getting to know each other and discussing their favorite shows at the Lobero to a soundtrack of past Lobero LIVE artists, and enjoying snacks from C’est Cheese and beverages in souvenir wine glasses. After battling Los Angeles traffic, the gang got to enjoy a catered buffet including prime rib, potato pancakes, and chocolate-covered strawberries. Once Adele took the stage, everyone was primed for a terrific performance. Between her inspiring songs, she posed for selfies, told hilarious personal stories, and proved that she is the most down-to-earth superstar imaginable.

This was the first time that the Lobero Theatre Foundation made this type of offer to our supporters, and the response was tremendous. So much so, that we hope to put together another road trip soon!

See more photos on the Lobero’s instagram & facebook by searching #lovethelobero

Love and Musicals

A Lobero Fairy Tale

A long time ago (2009), in a magical land (Santa Barbara), Lara Hollaway and Mathew Edwardsen were cast together in Opera Santa Barbara‘s performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta “The Pirates of Penzance” as Kate and Frederic.

In the musical, for those not familiar, Frederic falls for the character of Mabel — but in this performance, it was Mabel’s sister Kate, who stole this Frederic’s heart. (That’s Lara as Kate in purple, and Mathew as Frederic)

Two years later, Mathew proposed to Lara on the stage of the Lobero, and a few months later they were married in a short ceremony underneath the Lobero’s beautiful olive tree–officiated by “Pirates” director Miller James. Also attending the ceremony was Lara’s son Jordan Lemmond and the couple’s dear friend Shannon Saleh, who played Edith in “Pirates.” 

“Needless to say, the Lobero means a GREAT DEAL to us. The theatre has played such a huge role in our story.” – Lara Hollaway

Since their wedding(s), the couple moved to New York City for a few years, and have now relocated to Austin, TX, where they are still performing–and we presume, making beautiful music together. 

Lara was gracious enough to share a few photos from their days here at the Lobero, and their wedding reception held afterwards. We wish this talented twosome nothing but the best, and are thrilled to have played a role in their romance.

Do you have any Lobero stories you’d like to share? We’re so proud of being the community’s stage, and your stories bring it to life!

Clean and Green

We are thrilled to be Santa Barbara Green Business grads

The first Certified Green Theatre AND the first Historic Building to complete the Santa Barbara County Green Business program.

In order to earn this certification, the Lobero went through a thorough review and implemented solutions to improve efficiency in electricity, water use, as well as a sustainable transportation plan for staff members. All of these improvements were introduced in a way that was compatible with our historic aesthetic and corporate culture.

We’ve been working on reducing our carbon footprint for several years. In 2011 the Lobero became the first theatrical business to join the City of Santa Barbara’s Recycling and Composting Programs. Then, 2013’s Encore: Lobero renovations brought in eco-friendly updates including: low-flow toilets, drought tolerant landscaping and energy-efficient electrical systems throughout. Last year, thanks to House Manager Daniel Ramirez, we ramped up efforts to reduce electricity and water use–which included changing hundreds of light bulbs, updating any remaining antique plumbing fixtures, implementing an Employee Transportation Plan–we even changed to eco-friendly cleaning products!

“We view efforts to reduce our carbon footprint as not only our social responsibility, but also as a way to decrease long term operational costs and increase the viability and comfort of the building. It’s good for everyone.” – David Asbell, Executive Director 

The Lobero is conscious of its lasting presence in the Santa Barbara community, and views adapting sustainable practices as a practical and advantageous way to ensure the vitality of the theatre long into the future.

Learn more about the Green Business Program of Santa Barbara County and be sure to support Green Businesses throughout Santa Barbara County.


 

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Lighting Up Santa Barbara this spring

Check out the newest Lighting Up Santa Barbara performance catalog, and start making your plans.

Santa Barbara’s Historic Theatre District offers a bounty of great performing arts for fans on foot! Reaching from the Lobero to the Arlington, with the Granada and New Vic in between, there’s more than just theatres to experience; the District includes a wealth of restaurants, shops and galleries, making downtown Santa Barbara a perfect park-and-walk cultural destination almost any night of the year.

“This kind of collaboration is what Santa Barbara is all about, and the partnership established here will enhance the performing arts experience for artists, residents, and visitors throughout the year.” – Mayor Helene Schneider.

2KKTGT-2016_-Jan-Performance_cover-webThis comprehensive catalog lets you know what’s coming up at all these lovely venues, and monthly mini-brochures are on display at many of the restaurants and bars along the route, including:

Residents know that downtown is the place for local performing arts, and the recently formed Santa Barbara Historic Theatre District plans to make it even livelier.

Ghostlight Society welcomes Charles Lloyd

Lobero Theatre Ghostlight Society honors jazz artist Charles Lloyd as Artistic Luminary

The Lobero Ghostlight Society is proud to present its first Artistic Luminary Award to Charles Lloyd in honor of his contributions to the genres of Jazz and American Roots Music on Friday, January 8, 2016 with guest artist and emcee, jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli. The Ghostlight Society is delighted to give this inaugural award to a Santa Barbara local and a true legend in the international jazz community. See more coverage from the Independent

CLloyd&Friends_25harles Lloyd was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 15, 1938. Like Memphis’ rich cultural and musical heritage, Charles Lloyd’s ancestry of African, Cherokee, Mongolian, and Irish cultures reflects a similarly rich inheritance. He was given his first saxophone at the age of 9, riveted by 1940’s radio broadcasts by Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington. Classical music also exerted a pull on the young Lloyd. He left Memphis in 1956 and headed to Los Angeles to earn his Master’s in music at USC. While his days were spent in academia, Lloyd spent evenings in L.A.’s jazz clubs, playing with Ornette Coleman, Billy Higgins, Charlie Haden, Eric Dolphy, Bobby Hutcherson and other leading west coast jazz artists.

Lloyd left Los Angeles in 1961 to join Chico Hamilton where he became the group’s music director. Lloyd joined the Cannonball Adderley Sextet in 1964, and performed alongside Nat Adderley, Joe Zawinul, Sam Jones and Louis Hayes. Lloyd left Cannonball Adderley in 1965 to form his own quartet, a brilliant ensemble that introduced the jazz world to the talents of pianist Keith Jarrett, drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist Cecil McBee. Their first release together was a studio recording, Dream Weaver, followed by Forest Flower: Live at Monterey, (1966). Forest Flower made history as one of the first jazz recordings to sell a million copies, and the album’s firsts continued as it became a stunning crossover success that appealed to popular mass market audiences and gained heavy airplay on FM radio.

“”Lloyd is one of the greats, rather like Joan Miro in modern art, he has no peer save himself. Music of total transport and delight.” – Jazzwise

In 1967 Charles Lloyd was voted “Jazz Artist of the Year” by DownBeat Magazine. And then, at the height of his career in the early 1970’s, Lloyd disbanded the quartet and dropped from sight, withdrawing to pursue an inner journey in Big Sur. June 1981 was when Lloyd broke a decade of silence in the jazz world, making his first of many performances on the Lobero stage, followed by extensive touring in the U.S., Europe and Japan. In the past decade, he has graced the Lobero stage on a nearly annual basis. Read Lloyd’s full biography here.

The Lobero Ghostlight Society is the Lobero Theatre’s premier giving circle. Their strong and steady support illuminates our behind-the-scenes efforts and, like the steadfast bulb at center stage, keeps our vibrant theatre from ever going dark. Carrying on the commitment originally made in 1924 by a core group of donors responsible for rebuilding the Lobero Theatre in order to provide a lasting home for live performance in Santa Barbara, these leaders in the community embrace their vital role in keeping the arts alive and accessible for the community at large.

The Luminaries of the Ghostlight Society are a spark of brilliance, not only for the Lobero stage but also for the entire performing arts community in Santa Barbara. We honor the individuals whose passion and commitment provide for the artistry that illuminates our stage. The Ghostlight Society has recognized the following individuals as Luminaries: Lillian & Jon* Lovelace, Anne & Michael Towbes, Lyn & David Anderson, and Baroness Leni Fe Bland*.

If you’d like to learn more about the Lobero Ghostlight Society, feel free to reach out to Jim Dougherty at 805.679.6005