"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 Update




    SINGERS:  Paul Groves, Elza van den Heever,

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

    Rodell Rosel, Mika Shigematsu, Harold Wilson, Charles Workman

    CONDUCTORS:  Frédéric Chaslin, Patrick Summers

    DIRECTOR: Stephen Lawless

    SCENIC DESIGNERS:  Hildegard Bechtler, Louis Desiré, Ashley Martin-Davis

    COSTUME DESIGNERS:  Louis Desiré, Tom Ford, Ashley Martin-Davis





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

    Thomas Hammons, 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: Chantal Thomas

    COSTUME DESIGNERS:  Laurent Pelly



    Additions to the cast are indicated in bold.


    “Having been at the helm of The Santa Fe Opera for just three months, I am already immersed in the production details for the coming season,” commented General Director Charles MacKay. “With our own production team I have met with designers and directors who have translated their early sketches and ideas into reality. I am confident that Santa Fe Opera goers will be thrilled by imaginative sets and costumes and, of course, by great voices this summer.”

    “The 2009 season stays true to the Company’s mission to present beloved standards and rarely heard masterworks of the operatic repertory while at the same time providing a home for the advancement of the art form with new works,” MacKay continued. “La Traviata and Don Giovanni fit into the first category, The Elixir of Love has not been performed in Santa Fe for four decades, Alceste is a rarity, and The Letter is being given its world premiere. All in all, it is a season of adventure for every musical taste. We are eager to welcome back our old friends, and first timers, too,” he concluded.


    *Santa Fe Opera Debut
    +Former Apprentice Singer


    Giuseppe Verdi
    Sung in Italian
    New Production
    Last performed by The Santa Fe Opera in 2002
    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
                                                               Lighting Designer           Duane Schuler

                                                               Violetta                         Natalie Dessay
                                                               Alfredo                        *Saimir Pirgu
                                                               Gastone                      +Keith Jameson
                                                               Germont                       Laurent Naouri (July 3 – August 17)/
                                                                                                       Anthony Michaels-Moore (August 22 – 29)
                                                               Baron Douphol              Wayne Tigges (July 3 – August 17) 
                                                               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 operatic 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, Saimir Pirgu, who made his American debut at the Los Angeles Opera in September, and makes 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 shared the title role in Falstaff this past 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.  Sumptuous belle époque costumes by Laurent Pelly offset a simple, yet cleverly metamorphosing set by Chantal Thomas that takes the audience seamlessly from glittering Paris to the French countryside, all through the murky shroud of memory.

    Duane Schuler returns as lighting designer for four productions this season: La Traviata, Don Giovanni, The Letter and Alceste. Since his Santa Fe Opera debut in 1996 with Madame Butterfly, Schuler has come to Santa Fe for each subsequent season. He provided the lighting design for Falstaff and The Marriage of Figaro in 2008. His credits this current season include Fidelio at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Thaïs and La Rondine at the Metropolitan Opera, Benvenuto Cellini at the Salzburg Festival and Manon at the Staatsoper Berlin.


    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                       *Stephen Lawless
                                                             Scenic and                   *Ashley Martin-Davis
                                                                  Costume Designer                                              
                                                             Lighting Designer          *Pat Collins

                                                             Adina                         +Jennifer Black
                                                             Nemorino                    +Dimitri Pittas
                                                             Belcore                       +Patrick Carfizzi
                                                             Dulcamara                    Thomas Hammons


    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 Thomas Hammons, remembered as Dansker in last year's Billy Budd, returns as Dulcamara. Corrado Rovaris, who led La bohème here in 2007, will conduct.

    The setting is updated from 19th century Sicily to the Italian countryside of the 1940s in a production by the team of director Stephen Lawless, scenic and costume designer Ashley Martin-Davis, and veteran Broadway lighting designer Pat Collins, all making their Company debuts. The previously-announced production team of director Jerry Zaks, set designer Thomas Lynch and costume designer William Ivey-Long were released from their commitment due to a film project for Zaks.

    Stephen Lawless was Director of Production for the Glyndebourne Touring Opera from 1986 to 1991. He made his operatic debut with Boris Godunov with the Kirov Opera in Leningrad, which was broadcast live on British television in the first-ever telecast from the Soviet Union to the UK. He has directed for opera companies across the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Dallas Opera, New York City Opera, and recently Opera Theatre of Saint Louis where he directed the highly acclaimed production of Walton’s Troilus and Cressida.

    Scenic and costume designer Ashley Martin-Davis has designed extensively for theater and opera, including The Gondoliers for English National Opera, a Ring Cycle for Opera Amazonas in Brazil, Cavalleria Rusticana and I Paglicacci for Dallas Opera and Capriccio and Daphne for New York City Opera. Upcoming projects include Orlando Paladino for Theater an der Wien.

    Tony Award-winning lighting designer Pat Collins has designed over thirty Broadway productions, including Doubt, Proof and A Moon for the Misbegotten. No stranger to opera, Collins has also designed lighting for the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, English National Opera and Glyndebourne.


    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
                                                                        Lighting Designer  Duane Schuler

                                                                 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, will return to recreate 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 made his Santa Fe Opera debut in Billy Budd last summer. 

    The Don Giovanni cast includes three former apprentices: Susanna Phillips, the Countess in last 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; American-born tenor Charles Workman, whose European credits include appearances at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala, and La Fenice, as Don Ottavio; the British bass Matthew Rose, first-ever recipient of the Wigmore Hall/Independent Opera Voice Fellowship in 2007, as Leporello; and Harold Wilson as the Commendatore. 

    Conductor Lawrence Renes returns to Santa Fe after making his Santa Fe Opera debut in 2007 leading Tan Dun’s Tea: A Mirror of Soul, which he had previously conducted in Amsterdam. In 2007, he led the European premiere of John Adams’ Dr. Atomic at the Netherlands Opera; in February 2009 he will conduct the piece at the English National Opera. Other engagements this season include his debuts at the Seattle Opera and Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels.


    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
                                                           Lighting Designer                     Duane Schuler


                                                          Leslie Crosbie                         Patricia Racette
                                                          Chinese Woman                     *Mika Shigematsu
                                                          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 Emmeline in 1996, and appeared most recently with the company in Turandot in 2005.  Michaels-Moore sang the title role in Falstaff last summer. 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 appeared as the Novice in last season’s Billy Budd; and, in their company debuts, Rodell Rosel, James Maddalena and Mika Shigematsu.  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, returned for Thomas Adès’s The Tempest in 2006 and staged The Marriage of Figaro in Santa Fe last 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. 


    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 Desiré
                                                             Lighting Designer               Duane Schuler
    Choreographer                 *Ana Yepes


                                                            Alceste                             Christine Brewer
                                                            Admète                           *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 Admète, 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. Scenic and costume designer Louis Desiré, who frequently collaborates with Negrin, has created a sleek, modern setting evocative of the ancient Greek countryside.

    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.

    Paris-based choreographer Ana Yepes, who works frequently with Negrin, makes her Santa Fe Opera debut. Yepes, who hails from Spain, has collaborated with companies such as Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Opera National de Paris; the Royal Opera of Copenhagen and New York City Opera. She founded the Spanish dance company, Andanzas, and is a permanent member of the Trio Narciso Yepes, which specializes in early music and dance from Spain.

    Loosely based on the drama by Euripides, Gluck’s landmark opera tells of the devotion of Alceste, the Queen, to her dying husband, Admète, and how she is rewarded for offering herself as a sacrifice so that he may live. The Santa Fe Opera will present the French version of the work. In adapting Alceste from Italian for the French version, Gluck significantly reorganized the piece dramatically, adding new music, and altering much else, creating an essentially new opera.

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

    Ticket orders for the 2009 season can be made by calling the box office: 505 986 5900, toll free 800 280 4654; or by visiting www.santafeopera.org.

    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.


    January 12, 2009

    CONTACT:  Joyce Idema, Cindy Layman, Dolores McElroy



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