Tag Archives: Santa Fe Opera

Hot Diggety Damn – Join Me for One of These Next Year! Let’s Party!


Co-Commissioned and Co-Produced by The Santa Fe Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia.
Featuring David Daniels in the title role.

Featuring Joyce DiDonato in the title role.

First performances since 1979. New Production.
Featuring Susan Graham in the title role. 

Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro from 2008. 
Verdi, La Traviata from 2009.
In honor of the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth.


Venue to be Announced
In honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner
and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten.
Richard Wagner, Wesendonck Lieder
Original version for voice and piano
Benjamin Britten, Cabaret Songs
Christine Brewer, Soprano
Frédéric Chaslin, Piano
Liszt, Wagner Transcriptions
Frédéric Chaslin, Piano

SUNDAY, AUGUST 18, 2013, 4:00 PM
Basilica Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi
Stravinsky: Mass
Monteverdi: Vespers (selections)
A recreation of the concert Igor Stravinsky himself conducted on this date fifty years ago in his last appearance in Santa Fe.   That historic concert will be recreated by members of The Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program and the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra led by Chief Conductor Frédéric Chaslin. 

Jacques Offenbach
Last performed by The Santa Fe Opera in 1979.  New Production.
Sung in French
With English Dialogue
June 28, July 3, 6, 12, 19, 30, August 7, 15, 21, 24


CONDUCTOR   Frédéric Chaslin
DIRECTOR     Lee Blakeley
COSTUME DESIGNER    *Jo van Schuppen
CHOREOGRAPHER       Peggy Hickey
GRAND DUCHESS   Susan Graham
WANDA +*Anya Matanovič
FRITZ *Paul Appleby
BARON PUCK +Aaron Pegram
PRINCE PAUL  +Jonathan Michie
GENERAL BOUM  Kevin Burdette


Santa Fe Opera audiences in the 1970s loved this grande opera bouffe, and it was presented no less than four times in a decade.  Mr. MacKay decided it was time to bring it back.  The Grand Duchess, a young woman raised by tutors, is a tyrant, and the opera revolves around the complications of her love life.  Susan Graham, one of the world’s leading dramatic mezzo-sopranos, has a virtuoso comic side which will be remembered from the 2003 performance of another Offenbach gem, La Belle Hélène.  The object of her affections is a young officer, Fritz, sung by Paul Appleby in his debut.  Mr. Appleby was a national winner of the 2009 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a career grantee from the Richard Tucker Foundation in 2011, and recently, the recipient of the 2012 Martin E. Segal Award. He performs extensively with pianist Steven Blier and the New York Festival of Song.  The object of Fritz’s affection, Wanda, is sung by Anya Matanovič, also making her debut. The cast also includes Kevin Burdette, remembered as Kitty’s father in the 2011 production of The Last Savage.  Making their debuts are scenic designer Adrian Linford and costume designer Jo van Schuppen.  Both have worked with director Lee Blakely, who is returning to Santa Fe for the 2012 production of The Pearl Fishers.  Chief Conductor Frédéric Chaslin will conduct.


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sung in Italian
Last performed by The Santa Fe Opera in 2008.  Revival.
June 29, July 5, 10, August 3, 8, 13, 20, 23


CONDUCTOR      John Nelson
DIRECTOR   Bruce Donnell
PRODUCTION Jonathan Kent
SUSANNA   *Lisette Oropesa
CHERUBINO       *+Emily Fons
MARCELLINA   Susanne Mentzer
BASILIO      +Keith Jameson
COUNT ALMAVIVA      Daniel Okulitch


The American soprano Lisette Oropesa will make her company debut as Susanna.  Ms. Oropesa, a former member of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera, has appeared in a number of operas there including Das Rheingold and Siegfried.  Most recently she appeared in the Met’s production of The Enchanted Island.  The Countess and Count will be sung by Susanna Phillips and Daniel Okulitch, who was last seen in 2011 as the Last Savage in the opera of the same name.  Ms. Phillips has been singing leading roles both in this country and abroad, including the Metropolitan Opera.  Emily Fons, an apprentice in 2008 and 2009, is Cherubino.  The distinguished conductor John Nelson, who has appeared with orchestras and ensembles in this country and in Europe, led the Company’s 1997 production of Semele.  Director Bruce Donnell will recreate the original production by Jonathan Kent.  He has directed extensively at the Metropolitan Opera including a tour to Japan, and with opera companies in Europe, Canada and South America.  He has directed a number of productions for The Santa Fe Opera, most recently Salome in 2006.

Gioachino Rossini
First performances by The Santa Fe Opera.  New Production.
Sung in Italian
July 13, 17, 26, August 1, 6, 14


CONDUCTOR   Stephen Lord
DIRECTOR   Paul Curran
ELENA  +Joyce DiDonato
MALCOLM GROEME     *Daniela Barcellona
UBERTO   *Lawrence Brownlee
RODRIGO DI DHU   *René Barbera
DOUGLAS D’ANGUS   Wayne Tigges

Rossini’s opera of 1819 is based on The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott in which a young woman, Elena, is pledged to marry one man, but loves another.  Joyce DiDonato, in the title role, performed the opera in 2010 at the Paris Opera and in 2011 at La Scala.  In La Donna del Lago, her true love, Malcolm, will be sung by mezzo- soprano Daniela Barcellona.  Born in Trieste, Ms. Barcellona is recognized as a superb interpreter of Rossini whose works she has sung throughout Europe.  She appeared with Ms. DiDonato in the Paris and La Scala productions.  The brilliant American tenor Lawrence Brownlee is Uberto, the disguised King James who also loves Elena.  He studied at Indiana University, making his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2000. Tenor René Barbera, a native of San Antonio, is Rodrigo.  In 2011 he received the top three prizes in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia Competition, the first singer to do so.   All three are making their company debuts in this new production.  Stephen Lord returns to conduct.  He led The Tales of Hoffmann in 2010.  Director Paul Curran and scenic and costume designer Kevin Knight most recently created Albert Herring in 2010.

Giuseppe Verdi
Sung in Italian
Last Performed by The Santa Fe Opera in 2009.  Revival.
July 20, 24, 29, August 2, 5, 10, 16, 22


CONDUCTOR      Frédéric Chaslin
DIRECTOR   Laurent Pelly
VIOLETTA  *Brenda Rae
ALFREDO    +*Michael Fabiano
GERMONT     *Roland Wood (American debut)
GASTONE    +Keith Jameson
DOUPHOL +* Jonathan Michie
DR. GRENVIL  Dale Travis

French director Laurent Pelly returns to Santa Fe to recreate his striking production of La Traviata with scenic designer Chantal Thomas.  Making her debut as Violetta is Brenda Rae.  The American soprano has been a member of the ensemble at Frankfurt Opera where she has sung major roles.  Her appearances in Europe include performances at National Opera of Bordeaux, Glyndebourne Festival, Bayerische Staatsoper, and Arena di Verona.  Alfredo will be sung by Michael Fabiano, a former apprentice who has been winning acclaim in this country and in Europe.  He was a grand prize winner at the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was featured in The Audition, the documentary about the competition.  He has made debuts at English National Opera, San Francisco Opera, Dresden Semperoper, Opera Cologne, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and others.  Baritone Roland Wood is a British native, having received his music education at Royal Northern College of Music and at the National Opera Studio and English National Opera where he has also performed.  He has sung with opera companies throughout Scotland, England and in Europe.  All three are making their first appearances in Santa Fe.  These performances also mark Mr. Wood’s American debut.

Theodore Morrison
Libretto by Theodore Morrison and John Cox
World Premiere
Commissioned and Produced by
The Santa Fe Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia
Sung in English
July 27, 31, August 9, 12, 17


CONDUCTOR  Evan Rogister
DIRECTOR   Kevin Newbury
OSCAR WILDE   David Daniels
ADA LEVERSON  Heidi Stober
FRANK HARRIS  +William Burden
WALT WHITMAN  Dwayne Croft


David Daniels is one of music’s leading countertenors whose career spans music of the Baroque era to the contemporary.  He appeared in the Company’s 2011 production of Vivaldi’s Griselda and recently in the title role of Handel’s Rinaldo at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.  He was the leading countertenor in the Metropolitan Opera’s Baroque pastiche, Enchanted Island, seen worldwide in theaters in HD.  Heidi Stober was Musetta in the 2011 revival of La Bohéme and prior, as Tigrane in Radamisto with Mr. Daniels in 2008.  She is singing the role of Zdenka in the 2012 production of Arabella.  Mr. Burden will be remembered for his sympathetic performance of Captain Vere in the 2008 production of Billy Budd.  He is appearing as the mysterious Shepherd in the 2012 production of King Roger.  Kevin Newbury last directed Life Is a Dream by Lewis Spratlan in 2010.  He will continue his collaboration with scenic designer David Korins. Evan Rogister, who has made his career primarily in Europe, is now in demand with opera companies in the U.S and returns to conduct King Roger in 2012.


Turning Imagination Loose on the Future

Hi readers. 

You people who stay excited about things all the time and are forever racing around doing the things you’re excited about probably won’t be impressed with this.  But suddenly having a gate open in front of me has this old 70 year old mind reaching out caressing all the damned things it didn’t even know it was missing.

One of the joys, just having the possibility where it wasn’t before, is that I might get to attend a performance at the Santa Fe Opera one more time before I die.  [ The Horror of Discovering You Love Opera] Maybe more than one if the Coincidence Coordinators allow for it.  When the thought of it sneaked into my head I broke out into a grin and found a cat to scratch behind the ears while I went on imagining it in detail: 

Parking that old RV up there, sitting in a camp chair watching all the dressed-up people pulling up in their BMWs and Mercedes with bow-ties and fancy dresses.  Sipping a cold suds and smiling to myself while I eavesdrop, then sauntering in to lose myself in something I haven’t done in almost two decades.  And didn’t even discover until ‘way to much of my life had passed, opportunities missed.

But there’s also crawling around Hueco Tanks at least one more time.  Maybe spending a night at Monahans Sand Hills State Park.  I think the cats would love that place.  Camping up on the Mimbres Divide, climbing to the top of the ridge where you can see all the way to Dallas or Somewhere, flashing a mirror at all those city folks on the Rio Grande scurrying about their lives.

Maybe setting up my little CB radio hock shop across from the Sky City Casino, listening for truckers who lost all their gas-money inside trying to sell everything they own for enough money to get fuel to California or Denver.

I din’t even know my brain was going dead here, but it’s been so long since even thinking about that sort of thing had a smidgin chance of happening, the grey matter went to sleep.  And now it’s beginning to awaken.

Uplifting, uppidy, peeling years, decades off my brain and my life just on a promise.  I need to go outdoors and lift something heavy to get my feet back on the ground.

Old Jules

The Horror of Discovering You Love Opera

A performance of Don Giovanni with the great Italian baritone Antonio Scotti (as Don Giovanni). Scotti sang the role of Don Giovanni at Covent Garden, London, in 1899 and again at the Metropolitan Opera, New York in December of the same year.

It never dawned on me I was proud I didn’t like opera.  I’d never heard any opera except brief snatches or in spoofs.  I’d never given any conscious thought at all to the fact I thought people who went to operas did it to show off to other people who went to operas, or were snooty and just wanted to impress someone, or were sissies.  Never gave it a single thought.

To my mind a person who went to operas was just naturally, naturally, naturally someone I had no respect for, had no time for, would never take seriously.  I didn’t need to think about it.  I knew.  I don’t recall anyone ever trying to change my thinking about it, either.  I imagine they all knew same as I did those opera goers were phonies and sissies.

So, sometime in the late-1980s when my ex-wife got a couple of opera tickets for a performance on the University of Texas campus I wasn’t overjoyed.  I suited up and traveled down there under duress, grumbled behind her to our seats, scowled when the lights went down and battened down the hatches for hard weather.

Over the next couple of hours a pair of blinders was removed from my eyes, plugs removed from my ears.  A war went on inside me as the realization dawned that I loved this stuff.  The next time an opera came to Austin it was me insisting we get tickets.

That would be bad enough if it had stopped there.  But when my marriage broke up in 1992, and I relocated to Santa Fe, mildly affluent, I discovered a Santa Fe Opera exists.  I attended a performance, and thereafter every year bought season tickets and used them as long as I could afford them.

I’ve attended a lot of concerts and live performances in my life and enjoyed many with Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Kinky Friedman, Leonard Cohen, Loudon Wainwright and others, including a few Broadway performances.  But I’d be lying if I claimed every opera I ever attended wasn’t as thrilling and uplifting as I walked out as any of those.

And naturally, I hate myself for it and hang my head in shame admitting it.

Florida Grand Opera-DON GIOVANNI, The Don’s final scene