The San Diego Opera returns to Pechanga Arena San Diego Saturday for a week of drive-in performances. Photo credit: @SanDiegoOpera, via Facebook

San Diego Opera marks the season Saturday with more drive-in opera as its Spring Festival bows with a special event and the opening of The Barber of Seville.

At 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Pechanga Arena San Diego, the company presents “One Amazing Night,” an annual concert of arias and duets performed with the San Diego Symphony.

This year’s event, called “When I See Your Face Again: Unmasking the Music of Notorious Pandemics,” explores works inspired by, or composed in response to, cataclysms. They include the 1918 influenza pandemic and the HIV crisis that began 40 years ago.

At 7:30 p.m. Sunday, the opera presents Rossini’s comedy The Barber of Seville, postponed from the 2020 season due to the pandemic.

Additional performances follow Tuesday and next weekend, on April 30 and May 1, all at 7:30 p.m.

The production marks the San Diego Opera debuts of baritone David Pershall as Figaro, tenor Carlos Enrique Santelli as Count Almaviva, and bass Peixin Chen as Don Basilio.

They are joined by returning mezzosoprano Emily Fons and bass-baritone Partick Carfizzi.

The audience will be able to view the 90-minute production from their cars, on stage and via large video screens throughout the Sports Arena parking lot.

“One Amazing Night” costs $100 per vehicle, while The Barber of Seville costs $200. Each car can hold the same number of people as there are seatbelts.

San Diego Opera began taking the drive-in approach last fall with La Bohème, drawing more than 4,200 people grateful to see a return to outdoor entertainment.

Opera leaders proudly point to how the production put 300 people back to work as many artists struggled during the pandemic. It also resulted in no cases of COVID-19.

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