Santa Fe Opera launches its 60th season

Lively 2016 Santa Fe Opera season underway, featuring vintage Mozart, neglected Puccini, lushly Romantic Gounod and other operatic masterpieces.

Santa Fe Opera.
Santa Fe Opera complex at sunset. 2015 photo by Peter Ogilve, courtesy of Santa Fe Opera.

SANTA FE, N.M., Aug. 4, 2016 — We’ve been out in America’s great Southwest this week on what’s turning out to be our annual pilgrimage to the Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico’s colorful, artsy, always interesting capital city. It’s the 60th anniversary year for America’s most unusual opera company, and they’re celebrating in style, offering five very distinctive productions of five very different operas ranging from the tried-and-true to the relatively unknown.

In the tried-and-true category, we have Mozart’s immortal moral comedy, “Don Giovanni.” In the nearly-tried-and-true category, we have Puccini’s “Girl of the Golden West” and Gounod’s “Romeo et Juliet.” Residing in the relatively unknown precinct, the company is offering Richard Strauss’ “Capriccio” and Samuel Barber’s “Vanessa.” The latter two are not unfamiliar to long-time opera fans, but tend not to surface very often for various reasons. Similarly, the Puccini and the Gounod seem to go through cycles of relative neglect followed by enthusiastic revivals.

Thus far, we’ve attended four of this season’s five SFO offerings and will be attending a performance of “Capriccio”  this evening before departing for Albuquerque and thence back to Washington, D.C. Watch this space for our individual reviews of each opera, incoming shortly.

Additionally, we were privileged to get a personal backstage tour of the Santa Fe Opera’s impressively expanded facilities, and we’ll be posting a feature on this tour as well.

Spoiler alert: Productions thus far have been firing on all cylinders. Better yet, the Hand of God (or Zeus) has even intervened with timely assists to the special effects department for at least two of this week’s performances. Stay tuned.

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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17