The Santa Barbara Symphony (805/898-9626, www.thesymphony.org ) aspires to compete with its brethren in Los Angeles  and San Francisco . The symphony orchestra puts up seasons that pay homage to the greatest composers the world has ever seen, plus the works of less-known but equally talented artists. Whether you prefer Mozart or Mahler, you can listen to it at the Granada (1214 State St.) concert hall. Every seat has a great view of the stage, and the acoustics were designed with music in mind, making for an overall great symphony experience.
Opera Santa Barbara (www.operasb.com ) has put up such classics as Tosca, Rigoletto, and Madama Butterfly. The festival format OSB has used for the last few years lets you take in two operas in a single weekend, if that’s your choice. In fine tradition, OSB enjoys a focus on the classics and little-known works of the Italian masters. Operas are staged at the Lobero Theater  (33 E. Canon Perdido St., 805/963-0761, www.lobero.com ), a mid-sized space that allows for a more intimate operatic experience than those you find in larger cities.