For residents of Santa Barbara and beyond, enjoying the performing arts is a way of life and a major attraction for the city. Fully embraced by the community the many ballet, opera, plays, musicals and live concerts are heralded as must-see events of the season. This fall and winter, live performances are varied and offer something for everyone to enjoy. For more information and scheduled performances, visit the websites for each theatre.
California’s oldest and continuously operating theatre, The Lobero Theatre, was originally founded in 1873 by Jose Lobero as an opera house and rebuilt in 1924 and is one of Santa Barbara’s architectural jewels and designated as a California Historical Landmark. Presenting cultural events on more than 250 calendar days annually, many companies call The Lobero its home stage, including Opera Santa Barbara, State Street Ballet, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, Flamenco Arts Festival, Santa Barbara Theatre, Music Academy of the West and many others. For 90 years, the iconic Granada Theatre has been an integral part of Santa Barbara’s arts and entertainment landscape and has hosted some of the greatest artists of the 20th Century, including Al Jolson, Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire, Henry Fonda, Yo Yo Ma, Steve Martin, the Berlin Philharmonic and many more. This season, patrons can enjoy the Czech Philharmonic, Beethoven presented by the Santa Barbara Symphony on Nov. 15-16, comic legend John Cleese on Nov. 19, musician Christopher Cross on Nov. 22 , Tower of Power on Dec. 6 and the legendary ballet tale of The Nutcracker performed by State Street Ballet Dec 20-21. Many ongoing monthly presentations and film presentations round out the options for children, families and adults. For tickets, call the Granada box office at 899-2222 or purchase online.
The Ensemble Company at the New Vic in downtown Santa Barbara, a newly remodeled $15 million state-of-the-art theatre, will present live stage performances including the U.S. premier of “The Best Brothers” from Dec. 4-21. A hit at the Stratford Festival, this comedy with heart centers around two brothers, a dog and a lifetime of issues to sort through on stage. Celebrating its 36th year, the five-play season will run through June, 2015. Tickets are available online or by calling the box office at 965-5400.
The Music Academy of the West was founded in 1947 by a group of visionary Southern California arts patrons and musicians, including the legendary soprano Lotte Lehmann and the famed conductor Otto Klemperer. The Danish String Quartet makes their Santa Barbara debut on Nov. 18 and will include the West Coast premiere of a piece written for them by Thomas Agerfeldt Olesen, plus string quartets by Haydn and Beethoven. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 969-8787.Founded in 1994, Opera Santa Barbara produces a diverse repertoire of traditional and contemporary operas that engage and excite a broad audience. Over the past 19 years, it has presented 48 operas and provided thousands of hours of educational programs to the local community. Tickets for the acclaimed Rigoletto opera by Giuseppe Verdi will be performed in Italian with English Supertitles on Nov. 7 and 9 can be purchased at the Granada Theatre box office (where the performance will take place), or online.