"Santa Fe's objectives are distinctly American, and by making opera more compelling and more relevant, it has changed the map of musical America..."

                         Phillip Huscher
                         The Santa Fe Opera
     An American Pioneer

    2009 Season Repertory Announced


    World Premiere of The Letter composed by Paul Moravec scheduled.



    Verdi, La traviata.  New Production

    Donizetti, The Elixir of Love.  New Production

    Mozart, Don Giovanni.  Revival

    Moravec/Teachout, The Letter. World Premiere

       Gluck, Alceste.  New Production.  First Performance by The Santa Fe Opera


    Santa Fe, NM. April 30, 2008.  General Director Richard Gaddes and General Director Designate Charles MacKay announced The Santa Fe Opera repertory for the 2009 season at a press conference today in Santa Fe.  Gaddes retires on September 30 and will be succeeded by MacKay. 

    The 2009 season, opening July 3, is highlighted by the world premiere of The Letter, commissioned by The Santa Fe Opera, as well as new productions of Gluck’s Alceste, Verdi’s La traviata and Donizetti’s The Elixir of LoveAlceste is being performed by the company for the first time.  Don Giovanni, the only revival, was last staged in Santa Fe in 2004.  The season also features several important debuts, major singers tackling roles for the first time, and the debut of fashion icon Tom Ford designing costumes for opera.

    “It is a great honor for me to begin my tenure here with such an exhilarating and illustrious season,” commented MacKay, who becomes the company’s third general director on October 1.  “Although the selection and much of the planning was done by Richard, I had an opportunity to participate and contribute ideas as well.  The company’s commission of an important new opera from the distinguished composer Paul Moravec and librettist Terry Teachout will be, I believe, enormously popular with the public, as will all the operas in the 2009 repertory.” 

    “The 2009 season follows The Santa Fe Opera’s well-known and popular format,” Gaddes said.  “There are two familiar and loved operas, La traviata and Don GiovanniThe Elixir of Love, long absent from our repertory, makes a welcome return.  Our rarity this year is Alceste, and the world premiere of The Letter continues the company tradition of introducing exciting new operas.  Throughout the season we feature many superb singers, including a number of former apprentices.  And we have three magnificent sopranos, all audience favorites here in Santa Fe, who are taking on important roles for the first time – Natalie Dessay in La traviata, Christine Brewer in Alceste and Patricia Racette in The Letter,” said Gaddes.  “Our casts this season are truly exceptional.”



    SINGERS:  John Del Carlo, Paul Groves, Elza van den Heever, Ning Liang,

    Kate Lindsey, James Maddalena, Saimir Pirgu, Matthew Rose,

    Rodell Rosel, Harold Wilson, Charles Workman

    CONDUCTORS:  Frédéric Chaslin, Patrick Summers

    DIRECTOR:  Jerry Zaks

    SCENIC DESIGNERS:  Hildegard Bechtler, Louis Desire

    COSTUME DESIGNERS:  Louis Desire, Tom Ford, William Ivey Long



    SINGERS:  Jennifer Black, Christine Brewer, Patrick Carfizzi, Natalie Dessay,

    Roger Honeywell, Keith Jameson, Corey McKern, Lucas Meachem,

    Anthony Michaels-Moore, Laurent Naouri, Susanna Phillips,

    Dimitri Pittas, Patricia Racette, Wayne Tigges

    CONDUCTORS:  Kenneth Montgomery, Lawrence Renes, Corrado Rovaris

    DIRECTORS:  Jonathan Kent, Francisco Negrin, Laurent Pelly, Chas Rader-Shieber

    SCENIC DESIGNERS:  Thomas Lynch, Chantal Thomas, David Zinn

    COSTUME DESIGNERS:  Laurent Pelly, David Zinn


    *Santa Fe Opera Debut

    +Former Apprentice Singer




    Giuseppe Verdi

    Sung in Italian

    New Production

    Last performed by The Santa Fe Opera in 2001

    July 3, 8, 11, 17, 24, August 4, 11, 17, 22, 26, 29


                                      Conductor                   *Frédéric Chaslin

                                      Director                        Laurent Pelly

                                      Scenic Designer             Chantal Thomas

                                      Costume Designer         Laurent Pelly


                                      Violetta                        Natalie Dessay

                                      Alfredo                        *Saimir Pirgu

                                      Gastone                      +Keith Jameson

                                      Germont                       Laurent Naouri/

                                                                                       Anthony Michaels-Moore

                                      Douphol                       Wayne Tigges

                                      Dr. Grenvil                    *Harold Wilson


    Internationally-renowned soprano Natalie Dessay returns to Santa Fe for her first-ever performances as Violetta in La traviata to open the season Friday, July 3.  This is Ms. Dessay’s third appearance in Santa Fe, following Amina in La sonnambula in 2004 and Pamina in The Magic Flute in 2006.  Alfredo will be sung by the young Albanian tenor, Saimar Pirgu, who makes his American debut at the Los Angeles Opera in September, and his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2009.  The role of Germont will be shared by Laurent Naouri and Anthony Michaels-Moore.  Naouri was Escamillo in Santa Fe’s Carmen in 2006; Michaels-Moore first appeared with the company as Simon Boccanegra in 2004; the two will share the title role in Falstaff this summer.  Dr. Grenvil will be sung by American bass Harold Wilson, in his debut.

    Conductor Frédéric Chaslin makes his Santa Fe Opera debut with these performances.  A native of France, Chaslin has been resident conductor of the Vienna State Opera since 1997, and made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2002.  The French team of Laurent Pelly and Chantal Thomas will direct and design the production.  Their last Santa Fe collaboration was the highly popular Platée in 2007. 



    Gaetano Donizetti

    Sung in Italian

    New Production

    Last Performed by The Santa Fe Opera in 1968

    July 4, 10, 15, August 6, 12, 20, 25, 28


                                        Conductor                     Corrado Rovaris

                                        Director                        *Jerry Zaks

                                        Scenic Designer             Thomas Lynch

                                        Costume Designer         *William Ivey Long


                                        Adina                          +Jennifer Black

                                        Nemorino                     +Dimitri Pittas

                                        Belcore                        +Patrick Carfizzi

                                        Dulcamara                    *John Del Carlo


    The second opera of the season is the sparkling comedy, The Elixir of Love, which opens Saturday, July 4.  This new production of the Donizetti classic, not staged in Santa Fe since 1968, features three former apprentices now making headlines on the national music scene: Jennifer Black as Adina, Dimitri Pittas as Nemorino and Patrick Carfizzi as Belcore.  Black and Pittas were the star-crossed lovers in Santa Fe’s La bohème in 2007; Carfizzi was Masetto in the company’s 2004 Don Giovanni.  American bass-baritone John Del Carlo makes his company debut as Dulcamara. 

    Corrado Rovaris, who led La bohème here in 2007, will conduct.  Santa Fe’s production team includes three outstanding award-winning Broadway veterans.  Director Jerry Zaks, a four-time Tony Award winner, received the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director for the revival of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial on Broadway in 2006.  A well-known actor, Zaks has also appeared in movies and television.  Scenic designer Thomas Lynch, internationally noted for his work in opera and theater, including the recent Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, designed The Santa Fe Opera’s productions of Xerxes in 1993 and Ashoka’s Dream in 1997.  Costume designer William Ivey Long makes his Santa Fe Opera debut.  A five-time Tony Award-winner, Ivey Long is known for his work on The Producers and Hairspray, as well as Mel Brooks’s new musical, Young Frankenstein.



    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Sung in Italian


    Last Performed by The Santa Fe Opera in 2004

    July 18, 22, 31, August 8, 13, 21, 24, 27


                                        Conductor                    Lawrence Renes

                                        Director                       Chas Rader-Shieber

                                        Scenic and

                                             Costume Designer   David Zinn


                                        Donna Anna                *Elza van den Heever

                                        Donna Elvira                +Susanna Phillips

                                        Zerlina                      *+Kate Lindsey

                                        Don Ottavio                 *Charles Workman

                                        Don Giovanni                Lucas Meachem

                                        Leporello                     *Matthew Rose

                                        Masetto                       +Corey McKern

                                        Commendatore            *Harold Wilson


    Mozart’s Don Giovanni, a revival from the 2004 season, opens July 18.  The original director, Chas Rader-Shieber, and scenic and costume designer David Zinn will return to oversee the production.  The title role will be taken by Lucas Meachem, a young American baritone who made debuts at both the Metropolitan Opera and Covent Garden during the 2007-08 season, and makes his Santa Fe Opera debut in this summer’s Billy Budd

    The Don Giovanni cast includes three former apprentices: Susanna Phillips, the Countess in this summer’s Marriage of Figaro, sings the role of Donna Elvira; Corey McKern, Marcello in Santa Fe’s 2007 La bohème, is Masetto; and Kate Lindsey, in her debut, sings Zerlina.  Also making their debuts are Elza van den Heever, who appears regularly with the San Francisco Opera, as Donna Anna; Arkansas-born tenor Charles Workman as Don Ottavio; the British bass Matthew Rose as Leporello; and Harold Wilson as the Commendatore.  Guest conductor Lawrence Renes made his SFO debut in 2007 conducting the American premiere of Tea: A Mirror of Soul



    Composer:  Paul Moravec

    Librettist:  Terry Teachout

    Sung in English

    World Premiere

    Commissioned by The Santa Fe Opera

    July 25, 29, August 3, 7, 15, 18


                                        Conductor                              *Patrick Summers

                                        Director                                   Jonathan Kent

                                        Scenic Designer                      *Hildegard Bechtler

                                        Costume Designer                   *Tom Ford


                                        Leslie Crosbie                          Patricia Racette

                                        Chinese Woman                      *Ning Liang

                                        Geoff Hammond                       Roger Honeywell

                                        Ong Chi Seng                         *Rodell Rosel

                                        John Withers                           +Keith Jameson

                                        Robert Crosbie                         Anthony Michaels-Moore

                                        Howard Joyce                          *James Maddalena


    The Letter is based on W. Somerset Maugham’s 1927 stage adaptation of one of his best-known short stories.  It has been filmed twice, the second time in 1940 in an Oscar-nominated version starring Bette Davis and directed by William Wyler.  Paul Moravec, the composer, won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in Music for Tempest Fantasy and is currently Artist-in-Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and University Professor at Adelphi University.  The Letter is his first opera.  Terry Teachout, the librettist, is the drama critic of The Wall Street Journal and the author of a forthcoming biography of Louis Armstrong.

    The Letter is an opera noir, a music drama about ordinary people who make a few mistakes and suddenly find themselves swept into very deep emotional water,” says Moravec.  “It combines the aesthetic of American verismo with dream-like qualities often characteristic of a psychological drama.  We intend it to be as fast-moving and hard-hitting as a film noir from the ’40s,” he stated.  “Our goal,” says Teachout, “has been to write a work that’s firmly rooted in traditional operatic practice – one that will make dramatic sense to mainstream audiences.”  The opera runs ninety minutes.

    Patricia Racette and Anthony Michaels-Moore will star as Leslie and Robert Crosbie, an unhappily married expatriate couple whose life in the jungle of Malaya is torn apart by passion, violence and revenge.  Racette made her Santa Fe debut in the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Emmline in 1996, and appeared most recently with the company in Turandot in 2005.  Michaels-Moore sings the title role in this year’s Falstaff.  Other members of the cast include Roger Honeywell, who appeared in the 2007 production of Tea: A Mirror of Soul; former apprentice Keith Jameson, who made his debut in Turandot in 2005; and, in their company debuts, Rodell Rosel, James Maddalena, and Ning Liang.  Patrick Summers, Music Director of the Houston Grand Opera, also making his Santa Fe Opera debut, will conduct.

    The production will be staged by Jonathan Kent, who made his debut as an opera director with Santa Fe’s Katya Kabanova in 2003, and returned to the company most recently for Thomas Ades’s The Tempest in 2006.  Kent is staging The Marriage of Figaro in Santa Fe this summer.  The acclaimed British director recently directed Brian Friel’s Faith Healer on Broadway.  Making her Santa Fe debut is designer Hildegard Bechtler, who created the set for Primo, Anthony Sher’s stage version of Primo Levi’s If This Is a Man, which played on Broadway in 2005.  Tom Ford, the internationally renowned fashion designer, will design the costumes.  Former creative director of the Gucci and Yves Saint-Laurent companies, Ford now produces men’s clothing, perfume, and accessories under his own label.  Ford grew up in Santa Fe, graduated from Santa Fe Prep, and maintains a home here.  This marks his debut designing costumes for opera.  The Letter opens July 25.



    Christoph Willibald Gluck

    Sung in French

    New Production

    First Performance by The Santa Fe Opera

    August 1, 5, 10, 14, 19


                                        Conductor                   Kenneth Montgomery

                                        Director                       Francisco Negrin

                                        Scenic and

                                          Costume Designer    *Louis Desire


                                        Alceste                        Christine Brewer

                                        Admete                      *Paul Groves

                                        Hercules                      Wayne Tigges


    Christine Brewer returns to sing the title role in Gluck’s masterpiece, Alceste, a decade after she made her Santa Fe Opera debut as Ariadne.  Now acclaimed as one of America’s great dramatic sopranos, Brewer last appeared with the company as Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes in 2005.  Joining the cast are Paul Groves, in his Santa Fe Opera debut, as Admete, and Wayne Tigges, who first appeared as Don Basilio in Santa Fe’s The Barber of Seville in 2005, as Hercules.  Kenneth Montgomery is the conductor.  Francisco Negrin, who staged Santa Fe’s Agrippina in 2004, will direct.  Louis Desire, who frequently collaborates with Negrin, makes his company debut as scenic and costume designer.  

    The powerful role of Alceste, one of the most demanding in all of opera, has long attracted Brewer, who had been waiting for the right opportunity to sing the opera for the first time.  American tenor Paul Groves, who makes his Santa Fe Opera debut with these performances, created the role of Jianli in the world premiere of Tan Dun’s The First Emperor at the Metropolitan Opera in 2006.  Winner of the 1995 Richard Tucker Foundation Award, Groves made his La Scala debut in 1996 and regularly sings with the world’s leading opera companies.

    Loosely based on the drama by Euripides, Gluck’s landmark opera tells of the devotion of Alceste, the Queen, to her dying husband, Admete, and how she is rewarded for offering herself as a sacrifice so that he may live.  Gluck’s opera was considered revolutionary at the time of its premiere; the simplicity of the action and the noble grandeur of the music pointed the way to a new and more powerful kind of opera.  Alceste opens August 1.


    The nine week season of 37 performances runs from July 3 through August 29.

    Ticket orders for the 2009 season can be made via the Box Office and by telephone: 505 986 5900, toll free 800 280 4654, beginning June 27, 2008. Online ticketing will be available starting in September 2008.

    The Santa Fe Opera receives funding from the City of Santa Fe Arts and the 1% Lodgers’ Tax; New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs; New Mexico Department of Tourism; and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Opening night performances are sponsored by Las Campanas Santa Fe.  American Airlines is the company’s official airline.


    April 30, 2008.

    CONTACT:  Joyce Idema, Cindy Layman, Dolores McElroy


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