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Santa Barbara Symphony Presents Mozart & Mahler During November Symphony Concert Week

Mozart, Mahler, Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Wolfe and thrilling American soprano Anya Matanovič

(November 12, 2019) Santa Barbara, CA— The Santa Barbara Symphony’s 2019/20 Season continues with Mozart & Mahler, Saturday, November 16 at 8:00PM and Sunday, November 17 at 3:00PM, 2019, the second of nine exciting and versatile programs. This month, the Symphony brings Santa Barbara the music of Mozart, Mahler, and Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Wolfe with an up to the minute addition of thrilling American soprano, Anya Matanovič.* From Mozart’s joyous Exsultate, Jubilate to Julia Wolfe’s powerful Fuel for Strings along with film by Bill Morrison, to a musical view of heaven through a child’s eyes in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, it is a timely program for this season of thanksgiving and gratitude. Mozart & Mahler is made possible through the generosity of the following sponsors: Artist Sponsor Christine A. Green and Selection Sponsors Sam and Alene Hedgpeth, and Dr. Robert W. Weinman.
*The Symphony was notified on November 7, 2019, that Lana Kos would be unable to perform as previously scheduled due to illness.

During this November Symphony Concert Week, Symphony donors who contribute $5,000 or more to the Annual Fund are invited to the first Prelude Event of the 2019/20 season. This Prelude Event is scheduled for November 14th and will be hosted by Symphony Board member Dan Burnham and his wife Meg. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served and Symphony guest artist Anya Matanovič will engage in a special Q+A with Music and Artistic Director Nir Kabaretti at this exclusive event. Please contact Anaïs Pellegrini, Vice President of Advancement, at 805-898-0107 for more information about this event and annual giving opportunities at the Symphony.

Single tickets for Mozart & Mahler are priced with great seats from $31 and may be purchased online at or by calling the Granada Theatre Box Office at 805-899-2222. Subscriptions are still available and provide savings and exclusive benefits, purchase online at or call the Symphony Office at 805-898-9386.


“It is an incredible coincidence that brings Anya to collaborate with the Symphony,” said Santa Barbara Symphony Music and Artistic Director Nir Kabaretti. “Schedules, repertoire and voice all had to come together as we searched for a replacement soprano to perform with the Symphony this weekend. My attention was captured by Ms. Matanovič for a number of reasons, first, she has the type of virtuosic voice and fast coloratura needed for the Mozart, and also for the boy’s magic horn ‘heavenly life’ for the Mahler,” said Kabaretti. “Her schedule aligned with our rehearsals and performances, and, as I discovered recently, Anya just so happens to live in downtown Santa Barbara!“ American soprano Anya Matanovič was engaged by the Symphony late last week to replace Croatian soprano Lana Kos, who cancelled her engagement due to illness.

Mozart wrote the joyous and virtuosic motet Exsultate, Jubilate in appreciation for Roman castrato Venanzio Rauzzini, as thanks for his debut performance of Mozart’s opera Lucio Silla. This delightful work, whose text is religious but not part of the regular liturgy, is a brilliant showpiece that was tailored to Rauzzini’s considerable vocal talents. The opening movement supports Alfred Einstein’s evaluation that this work is a “vocal concerto.” The finale, based on the single word Alleluja, is one of the most delightful and familiar movements from Mozart’s sacred pieces, and it provides a luminous ending to this wonderful work of the sixteen-year-old Salzburg prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Julia Wolfe composed Fuel for Strings in 2007 as a joint project with filmmaker Bill Morrison. The collaboration was the result of a commission from the European string orchestra Ensemble Resonanz. Wolfe took the request and the result is high-intensity music that explodes to life, taking the audience on a white-hot musical ride throughout its 20 minutes. The music is a perfect correlative to Morrison’s film depicting time-lapse vistas of busy waterfronts which will accompany the Santa Barbara Symphony’s performance of this great contemporary work. Bill Morrison has collaborated with some of the most influential composers and performers of our time, including John Adams, Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, Steve Reich, and Julia Wolfe.

Of her composition Fuel for Strings, Pulitzer Prize-winner Julia Wolfe wrote, “The idea for Fuel began in conversation with filmmaker Bill Morrison. We talked about the mystery and economy of how things run — the controversy and necessity of fuel — the global implications, the human need. The music takes its inspiration from the fiery strings of Ensemble Resonanz. The members of the group challenged me to write something rip-roaring and virtuosic, asking me to push them to the limit. This request merged with the sounds of transport and harbors — New York and Hamburg — large ships, creaking docks, whistling sounds, and a relentless energy.”

Warm and lyrical, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony combines deliberate simplicity with a wealth of invention. It is also the most modest in length and orchestra size of his ten, and was composed during a time that Mahler was very interested in the folk traditions of Germany as they were set down in an early-19th-century anthology of poems titled “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” (“The Youth’s Magic Horn”). Mahler’s interest in these simple peasant verses infused a sense of innocence and child-like simplicity into the heart of his Fourth Symphony. The entire mood and structure of this symphony was built to lead to the finale which exudes a beauty, calm and simplicity that place the performance of this work among the most pacific moments in all of music.


American soprano Anya Matanovič (ma ta’ no vich) made her professional opera debut as Mimì in the Los Angeles commercial engagement of Baz Luhrmann’s Tony Award-winning production of La bohème. Praised for her “thrilling vocal color” and “sweetly winning” presence, Anya made her international opera debut as Musetta in Franco Zeffirelli’s captivating production of Puccini’s La bohème with the New Israeli Opera. In her debut with the Glimmerglass Festival as Micaëla, she was praised for her “sinuous soprano with its golden timbre and silky-smooth legato, [which] charmed the ears immediately…” and her “first-class performance.”
During the 2019-2020 season, Ms. Matanovič returns to Utah Opera as Violetta in La traviata. Last season included a return to Utah Opera as Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, a role debut as Abigail Williams in The Crucible with Opera Santa Barbara, and with Lyric Opera of Chicago she covered Ginevra in Ariodante.

The 2017-2018 season began with her company and role debut as Mimi in La bohème with Opera Colorado, and an appearance with the Eugene Concert Choir for Mozart’s Grand Mass in C Minor. She returned to Seattle Opera, during the 2016-2017 season, as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel. Also that season she had role debuts as Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress with Boston Lyric Opera and Mabel in Pirates of Penzance with Lyric Opera of Kansas City.

Ms. Matanovič is a graduate of the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program where she appeared in their productions of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw as Flora, Mozart’s La Serva Padrona as Serpina, and Falstaff as Nannetta. She has won prizes from Gerda Lissner Foundation, Opera Buffs, Leni Fe Bland, and the Sun Valley Opera and was Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Pre-Concert Talks: "Behind the Music" hosted by Saïd Ramón Araїza

PLEASE NOTE: The time has changed for 2019/20 Pre-Concert Talks; talks will begin one hour and fifteen minutes prior to each series performance.

Back by popular demand, we present musician and music scholar, Saïd Ramón Araїza in “Behind the Music” pre-concert talks. Mr. Araїza’s extensive musical background, insights, presentation skills and humor will take you on a journey of discovery about each program, bringing each work and its composer to life in a whole new way. Open to all ticket holders, the talks are approximately 30 minutes and are held one hour and fifteen minutes before each subscription concert begins at the Granada Theatre (Holiday Pops and New Year’s Eve Pops excluded). For Saturday evening performances, the talk begins at 6:45PM and for Sunday matinee performances, the talk begins at 1:45PM. “Behind the Music” is generously sponsored by Marilynn L. Sullivan and The Chalfant Family Trust, and Patricia Gregory for the Baker Foundation.

The Santa Barbara Symphony looks forward to sharing the upcoming season of thrilling and inspired programming with the community and visitors alike! For more information on the Santa Barbara Symphony, or its programming, visit

About The Santa Barbara Symphony

Now in its 71st year, The Santa Barbara Symphony delivers artistic excellence, outstanding music education stewardship and programming, and community collaboration – all through symphonic music. Under the artistic leadership of Maestro Nir Kabaretti as Music & Artistic Director since 2006, The Symphony is one of the region’s premier cultural institutions. Through his charismatic leadership, this globally admired conductor and Santa Barbara resident invigorates audiences and musicians alike through his passion, creativity, and vast experience. As the only music education program tied to a professional symphony orchestra in the region, The Symphony serves more than 4,000 students annually throughout Santa Barbara County. While The Symphony continues to evolve, bringing joy, engagement, and connection remain steadfast pillars of its mission and were evident in the organization’s ability to thrive during the pandemic including the historic announcement that board chair Janet Garufis and President & CEO Kathryn R Martin join Nir Kabaretti in making a five-year commitment to serve in their roles. For more information, visit

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