The Santa Fe Opera

Skip to main content Skip to search
Kids raising their hands in air at Opera Story Tellers camp

Activate the Writer, Composer, Singer, Actor, Dancer, Designer, Performer...

A collaboration between UNM Music Prep School and the Santa Fe Opera, Opera Storytellers is a week-long summer camp for children entering 3rd through 6th grades in the 2024-2025 school year.

Opera Storytellers is a safe, supportive, and FUN space for students to take creative risks while collaborating to develop and showcase an original 10-minute opera. No previous music or performance experience required.

Our experienced teaching artists are dedicated to making the creative process safe, engaging and transformative. We specialize in thoughtfully helping a diverse group of students each step out of their comfort zone to make new discoveries. The process is the point, and the resulting opera is the icing.

Summer Camp Schedules

Please check back early next year for our 2025 schedule!

Opera Storytellers is generously underwritten by the Hankins Foundation, which allows for a limited number of scholarships. For more information on the camp and scholarships, please contact Anna Garcia at

kids at opera storytellers camp
kids at opera storytellers camp
kids at opera storytellers camp

Teaching Artists

Judith Castro headshot

Judith Castro, Teaching Artist

Judy Castro is music educator and aspiring music therapist in the Albuquerque area. As a music education graduate from UNM, Judy has been teaching general music in public schools since 2014. She co-teaches ukulele songwriting courses for children at the UNM Music Prep School along with fiancé Sean Umstead. She is currently studying music therapy at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and is completing a music therapy internship at Sunshine Music Therapy, a private practice in Albuquerque. After internship, Judy aspires to become a board-certified music therapist and work with diverse clinical populations.

Sean Umstead headshot

Sean Umstead, Teaching Artist and Opera Storytellers UNM Administrator

A New Mexico native, Sean Umstead is an experienced musician and music educator. Receiving a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of New Mexico, Sean has taught music for Albuquerque Public Schools and the New Mexico Philharmonic’s Young Musician’s Initiative. He currently works as an Administrator for the UNM Department of Music, Program Coordinator and teacher for the UNM Music Prep School and maintains a private percussion studio. An avid musician, Sean performs as a percussionist, keyboardist, and vocalist in various ensembles including with the New Mexico Philharmonic, Musical Theatre Southwest, and Sol de La Noche.

Charles Gamble headshot

Charles Gamble, Co-Director

Charles Gamble has been a Teaching Artist for the Santa Fe Opera for over 20 years, creating original operas with NM kiddoes featuring everything from singing chickens to zombie basketball players. Charles is delighted to bring his training in physical theater (L’Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris) and improv (the Ben Taxy Experience) into the mix at Opera Storytellers. In addition to being Director of School Programs for the Santa Fe Opera, Charles was part of the founding faculty in the Theater Department at the New Mexico School for the Arts, a free state charter school that offers conservatory arts training for high school students throughout New Mexico.

Beth Ratay headshot

Teaching Artist

Beth Ratay is a versatile composer who is able to craft music using a wide variety of styles and techniques. From music possessed of a quiet, understated grace, to music based on mathematical concepts, to emotive and hilarious opera, Ratay’s music is engaging, charming and beautiful. Dr. Ratay has had her music performed by diverse ensembles from across the United States. Her studies on the relationship of text to music in the work of Leoš Janáček and symmetric or layered musical structures in the music of Harrison Birtwistle strongly informs her own compositions. Beth also has been teaching music to people of all ages for over 25 years. Her experience includes individual instrumental and compositional instruction, music fundamentals and general education music courses for adults, and music basics for kids for all ages. Beth believes that learning music teaches many important and fundamental skills including social/emotional skills, math skills, and problem solving skills.

Principal Education Sponsor

Sponsored by

Bank of Albuquerque logo

Thanks to Our Co-Presenter

UNM Music Prep School Logo
Rainbow above theater illustration by Rose Carilli

For more information, please contact:

Anna Garcia
Manager of Programs and Partnerships