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Opera at the Symphony

The Ride of the Valkyries: Opera at the Symphony!

Featuring Opera Santa Barbara Soloists

Saturday, January 20, 2024 | 7:30pm

Sunday, January 21, 2024 | 3:00pm

Concert Duration: Approximately 90 minutes

The Granada Theatre

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Coming Soon: Program Notes

Soloists from Opera Santa Barbara join The Symphony! The most thrilling moments from Grand Opera. By Verdi, Rossini, Puccini, Wagner, and others, including Madame Butterfly, Cavalleria Rusticana, and Tosca. Plus, Wagner’s roaring The Ride of the Valkyries. With local TV personality Anikka Abbott, a concert program of deception, romance, and drama unfolds!

The Artists

Nir Kabaretti, Conductor

Karin Wolverton, Soprano

Deborah Nansteel, Mezzo-Soprano

Harold Meers, Tenor

Timothy Mix, Baritone

Anikka Abbott, Emcee

Karin Wolverton, Soprano

Karin Wolverton has enjoyed a successful career on both the concert and opera stage.  As a frequent guest of Opera Santa Barbara, she has sung the roles of Magda in La Rondine, and Tatyana in Eugene Onegin and will appear as Leonora in the upcoming production of Il Trovatore.  She also performs throughout the United States with such companies as Minnesota, Utah, Arizona, Omaha, Austin, Pittsburgh, Tulsa, Santa Barbara, Madison, Mill City Opera, Opera San Antonio, and Des Moines. A champion of new works, Ms. Wolverton has enjoyed collaborating on many world premieres, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night, a role she revived with MN Opera and the recording of which has recently been released by Naxos.  She made her Carnegie Hall debut with MN Orchestra and has enjoyed performances with symphonies in Arizona, Jacksonville, Eugene, Sioux Falls, Dayton, Rochester, Pennsylvania, Seattle, and New Hampshire.

Timothy Mix, Baritone

Timothy Mix’s recent successes include his debut as Alberich at Opera Santa Barbara in Das Rheingold, his return to the role of Joseph de Rocher Dead Man Walking at Opera Idaho, and as Dr. Bartolo Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Opera Delaware. Other engagements in 2022-23 include Count Capulet Romeo et Juliette at Opera San Antonio, Tutor Le Comte Ory at Opera Southwest, and the title role in Sweeny Todd at Opera Tampa.

The artist often appears at Santa Fe Opera, where he sang the role of Tsar Dodon in Paul Cullen’s Le Coq d’Or, and the role of Jack Hubbard in a new production of Dr. Atomic. San Francisco Opera appearances include Le Bret Cyrano de Bergerac in 2010, Elder Ott/Blitch (c) Susannah in 2014 and Brétigny Manon in 2017. International engagements include Escamillo Carmen at Finnish National Opera, and in Norway he appeared at Bergen National Opera as Albert Werther

Deborah Nansteel, Mezzo-Soprano

“A formidable display of vocal power and dramatic assurance,” mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel is posed for international stardom having already performed in almost all of the leading opera companies in the US.  She made her début with The Metropolitan Opera as Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, her début with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette, her Carnegie Hall début in Mozart’s Coronation Mass, and her New York Philharmonic début alongside Eric Owens in In Their Footsteps: Great African American Singers and Their Legacy.

This summer, Ms. Nansteel performed the role of Mother/Ensemble in the world première of Blind Injustice with Cincinnati Opera and the role of Brigitta in Bard Music Festival’s Die tote stadt in concert. 


This coming season she will make a series of returns to the Washington National Opera as Emilia in Otello and Second Lady in The Magic Flute, and to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for Suzuki in Madama Butterfly.  She will also make her long awaited role début as Amneris in Aida with Opera Tampa and Opera Grand Rapids and will create the role of Miriam in the World Premiere of Tobias Picker’s Awakenings with Opera Theater St. Louis.

Since her debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, she has returned for Nabucco, Il Trovatore, and as Siegrune in Die Walküre.  She originated the role of Lucinda in the world première of the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon’s adaptation of Charles Frazier’s thrilling novel Cold Mountain at Santa Fe Opera.  Other notable engagements include Granma in The Grapes of Wrath with the Michigan Opera Theatre, a reprisal of the role of Lucinda in Cold Mountain with North Carolina Opera, the role of Grace in The Summer King with Michigan Opera Theatre, Second Lady in The Magic Flute with the Pacific Symphony, The Mother in The Consul with Opera Saratoga, Jake Heggie’s The Work at Hand for the Mainly Mozart Festival, Nettie Fowler in Carousel and Elvira Griffiths in An American Tragedy and Mary in Der fliegende Holländer with Glimmerglass Opera Festival and Berta in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program.

Ms. Nansteel completed the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, where she performed many roles including Tisbe in La Cenerentola, Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Curra (cover Preziosilla) in La forza del destino, Paula (cover) in Florencia en el Amazonas, as part of a world-première performance of Douglas Pew and Dara Weinberg’s new opera Penny, as well as The Cat in Tony Award winning composer Jeanine Tesori’s The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me.  As a mainstage artist, Nansteel returned there as Flora in La Traviata, Dame Marthe in Faust, which she also performed at Dayton Opera, and as the Marquise of Birkenfield in La fille du regiment with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, which is featured in the documentary film RBG.  

Sought after for her performances on the concert stage, Ms. Nansteel has performed Händel’s Messiah with the Memphis Symphony and Charleston Symphony; John Harbison’s Mirabai Songs with the Oregon Mozart Players; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Seattle Symphony and Fondazione Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro Sinfonico in Milan under the baton of Maestro Xian Zhang; gala concerts with Opera America, at the Smithsonian, and additional venues throughout New York; and various additional concerts including Stravinsky’s Les noces, Penderecki’s Credo, and Händel’s Israel and Egypt.

A house favorite of Seattle Opera, Ms. Nansteel made her main stage début as La suora infermiera in Suor Angelica, sang Juno and Ino in Händel’s Semele, Foreign Woman in The Consul and, as a former member of Seattle Opera’s young artist program, Giulietta in Verdi’s Un giorno di regno and Maddalena in a performance of Rigoletto.

Ms. Nansteel is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) where she earned an Artist Diploma in Opera and a Master of Music in Voice. At CCM, she performed the roles of Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Marguerite in Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust, Mother Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites, Bianca in The Rape of Lucretia, and Mother Goose in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. She also received Bachelor of Music degrees in both Vocal Performance and Vocal Jazz Studies from East Carolina University and currently studies with Diana Soviero.

Recent awards include Second Place in the Sun Valley Opera competition in Seattle, the Andrew White Award and Seybold/Russel Award in the Corbett Opera Scholarship Competition, and a Winner in the National Orpheus Vocal Competition. She also recently earned the highly-esteemed Betty Allen Award and a grant from the Sullivan Foundation. In June 2020, she received the Thelma Steward Endowed Artist Alumni Award from the Opera Theater of St. Louis.

Harold Meers, Tenor

Since his professional debut with the Opera Theater of St. Louis, Harold Meers has established himself as one of the outstanding American tenors of his generation. He has garnered both critical and popular praise for his work at the most important venues in North America including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Minnesota Opera, Madison Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Omaha, Des Moines Metro Opera, New Orleans Opera and Baltimore Opera, among others. Internationally, Mr. Meers has performed recently as Riccardo in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden (Germany), Boris in Katya Kabanova with Opera North (United Kingdom), Cassio in Otello with the Filharmonica de Jalisco in Mexico at the historic Teatro Degollado (Mexico), the title role of Hoffmann in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Boris in Katya Kabanova and Rodolfo in La Bohème with Theater Freiburg (Germany).  This season he traveled to the Czech Republic at the National Theater in Brno Czechia as the title character Verdi’s Otello and reprised the role at the Thurnund Taxis Schlossfestspiele in Regensburg, Germany. Mr. Meers is currently the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of Charleston Opera Theater, a professional performing arts organization located in Charleston, South Carolina.

Anikka Abbott, Emcee

Anikka Abbott is currently the Chief Weather Forecaster for NewsChannels 3-11-12, based in Santa Barbara. She earned her Master of Mass Communication in Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University in December 2019. The next week, she began her broadcasting career as a multimedia journalist in Santa Barbara before transitioning to weather in October 2020.

Anikka decided to enter the world of journalism after an early career in opera and public speaking. A love of storytelling and a thirst for world betterment led her to make a career change to use her voice in a different way. She was a weather forecaster and reporter for Cronkite News on Arizona PBS, a production intern at 12 News – Arizona Midday (a daily lifestyle show), as well as a theatre and community reporter for Cronkite Cut (a weekly entertainment news broadcast).

In May 2015, Anikka graduated summa cum laude from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance. She was a member of the award-winning Choir of the West for 3 years and performed with them internationally. At PLU, she was chosen to perform as a founding member of the elite octet, The Chamber Singers, also performing internationally. An accomplished classical singer, her opera credits include Papagena in Mozart’s Magic Flute, Morgana in Handel’s Alcina, Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Mary in Kyr’s Christmas Oratorio. Her musical theatre credits include Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls, Sandy in Grease, Lilli Vanessi (Kate) in Kiss Me, Kate, and Cinderella in Into The Woods.

Anikka served as Miss West Sound 2017 and as Miss Pierce County 2015 under the Miss America Program. Her platform was Prevention Through Empowerment: Ending Domestic Violence and Stalking. Survivor turned advocate, she was a founding member of the Associate Board at the Pierce County YWCA, striving to reach out to young adults to prevent domestic violence and to promote service. She gave numerous keynote presentations at Rotary and other community clubs about domestic violence causation, prevention, and solutions. In 2015, Anikka was awarded proclamations from the Gig Harbor City Council (WA State) and the Pierce County Council (WA State) for her work towards domestic violence prevention. In 2017, she received the national Miss America Community Service Award for her speaking program. 

Please note: The safety of our patrons, artists, orchestra members, and staff is our top priority.

The Granada Theatre continues to create comprehensive safety protocols that meet changing government guidelines and ensure the comfort of audiences.

Throughout the season, we anticipate evolving guidelines which may impact policies on mask wearing, proof of vaccination, low-touch ticketing, concessions, and more

Read our 2023/24 Subscription and Ticket Policy which offers security to our patrons as you consider returning to join us for live performances, and ensure that as a subscriber you receive priority to reserve the best seats.

Learn more important details about the Granada’s Covid requirements here.

*Program content and concert dates may be subject to change: check our website for regular updates.

Conducted by The Santa Barbara Symphony’s
World Renowned Conductor

Nir Kabaretti

Nir Kabaretti has worked with some of the world’s most sought-after musicians. Some of his most well-known collaborators include Lang Lang, Placido Domingo, Joyce Di Donato, Angel Joy Blue, Vadim Repin, Gilles Apap, Hélène Grimaud, and André Watts.
Conducted by The Santa Barbara Symphony's World Renowned Conductor

Nir Kabaretti

Nir Kabaretti has worked with some of the world’s most sought-after musicians. Some of his most well-known collaborators include Lang Lang, Placido Domingo, Joyce Di Donato, Angel Joy Blue, Vadim Repin, Gilles Apap, Hélène Grimaud, and André Watts.

A very warm and special thank you
to our 2023/24 season donors and the sponsors making
this event possible!

Principal Concert Sponsor
-- Todd & Allyson Aldrich--
Artist Sponsor
-- Duncan & Suzanne Mellichamp --
Selection Sponsors
-- Barbara Burger & Paul E. Munch --
-- Libby & Stephen Erickson --
-- Janet A. Garufis --
-- Frederic & Nancy Golden --
--Jean Rogers--

2023/24 Concert Season Sponsor

Sarah & Roger Chrisman

Corporate Season Sponsor

Grand Venue Sponsor

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