The Santa Fe Opera

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John Crosby reviewing musical score

Leadership

Robert Meya

Robert K. Meya, General Director

Robert K. Meya, the fourth General Director of the Santa Fe Opera, assumed the helm of the organization in 2018 following a seven-year tenure as Director of External Affairs. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Meya to cancel the Santa Fe Opera’s 64th Festival Season, marking the first summer in the company’s history without live opera. In the face of these unprecedented times, Meya led SFO through the 2020 fiscal year with a balanced budget and assembled a team of experts in epidemiology, sanitization and public health to plan for a safe and successful reopening in 2021.

On July 10, 2021, the Santa Fe Opera became one of the first opera companies in the world to return to performances in its own venue. Under Meya’s leadership, the Santa Fe Opera presented 30 mainstage performances, held hundreds of rehearsals and employed over 500 staff without a single postponement or cancellation in its 64th Festival Season. Meya concluded the 2021 Reopening Season with ticket sales surpassing projections by over 100% and $11.8 million in fundraising, the highest level in company history.

With the support of the Board of Directors, dedicated staff, generous patrons, and federal aid, the Santa Fe Opera met the pandemic crisis with strength and resilience. While mainstage performances were halted due to the pandemic, Meya initiated the launch of the company’s first-ever digital performance series, Songs from the Santa Fe Opera.

Meya remained committed to digital programming and increasing the opera’s ability to reach new and diverse audiences, and in 2021 debuted nightly simulcasts of the opera’s mainstage performances to state-of-the-art LED walls in the parking lot, offering audiences a more accessible and socially distanced option for attending the opera. In the same summer, the opera brought the LED screens to public parks in Santa Fe and Albuquerque and presented free screenings of all four 2021 Season productions and celebrated its first ever broadcasts on public radio.

In 2019, Meya successfully concluded the “Setting the Stage” Campaign raising over $45 million and funding capital improvements and renovations to the backstage and front-of-house areas – creating a state-of-the-art environment for Santa Fe Opera patrons, artists and employees.

Previously, Meya served as the Director of Development of New York City Opera, Executive Director of the White Nights Foundation of America, Acting Director of Major and Planned Giving for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Associate Director of Individual Giving for San Francisco Opera.

A native of Connecticut, Meya earned a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service Degree from Georgetown University with a concentration in International Relations, Law, and Organization and a Masters of Arts Management Degree from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a lifelong devotee of classical music and is a trained classical pianist. He lives in Santa Fe with his wife, soprano Amanda Echalaz, and their two children.

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Harry Bicket

Harry Bicket, Music Director

Endowed by the Wyncote Foundation, as recommended by Frederick R. Haas & Rafael Gomez

Internationally renowned as an opera and concert conductor of distinction, Harry Bicket is especially noted for his interpretation of Baroque and Classical repertory. In 2007, Bicket became Artistic Director of The English Concert, one of the UK’s finest period orchestras. In 2013, he was named Chief Conductor of Santa Fe Opera, a post he inaugurated with a critically-acclaimed Fidelio in the 2014 season.

Highlights of his operatic career in the United States and Canada include acclaimed productions for Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Atlanta Opera, and The Metropolitan Opera. Bicket has also conducted staged opera at Minnesota Opera, New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Spoleto Festival, and Los Angeles Opera. He has guest conducted with Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (Cincinnati May Festival), Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, NACO Ottawa, Indianapolis Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and The New York Philharmonic.

Within Europe he has conducted performances at the Liceu Barcelona, L’Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Theater an der Wien, Glyndebourne Festival, Scottish Opera, Royal Danish Opera, Aldeburgh Festival, Edinburgh Festival, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, and Opera North. He has appeared with RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Oslo Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdams Philharmonisch, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, Bayerische Rundfunk, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Previous work outside Europe includes the Israel Philharmonic, Opera Australia, New Israeli Opera, and his Japanese debut with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and Ian Bostridge.

He made his Glyndebourne Festival debut in 1996 with Peter Sellars’ landmark production of Theodora, and returned in 1999 and 2003. He made his debut with the Bayerische Staatsoper in 2000 (a new production of Rinaldo), and over the following seven years conducted many performances. In 2001, his first Barcelona production, Giulio Cesare, earned him the Opera Critics’ Prize for best conductor, and he has since returned for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2005), Ariodante (2006), L’Arbore di Diana (2009) and Agrippina (2013). In 2003 his debut production for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Handel’s Orlando) received an Olivier Award nomination for Best New Opera Production. In the same year, he conducted Lyric Opera of Chicago for the first time and has since returned regularly. In 2004, his first Metropolitan Opera production (an acclaimed new production of Rodelinda with Renée Fleming and David Daniels) was quickly followed by Giulio Cesare (2006-2007) and Clemenza di Tito (2008), and he is now a regular guest.

Recent highlights with The English Concert include UK and international touring within Europe, United States (most recently Ariodante featuring Joyce DiDonato, including Carnegie Hall) and the Far East; regular Wigmore Hall and Barbican projects; and BBC Proms. Recordings to date with The English Concert include releases for Virgin Classics, Chandos, and Harmonia Mundi featuring Elizabeth Watts, David Daniels, Lucy Crowe, Sarah Connolly, and Rosemary Joshua.

Bicket’s discography also includes five recordings with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, including a collection of Handel opera arias with Renée Fleming (Decca) and Ian Bostridge (EMI), as well as selections from Handel’s Theodora, Serse, and the cantata La Lucrezia with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Avie), which was nominated for a Grammy Award. His Gramophone Award-nominated CDs also include Sento Amor with David Daniels featuring arias by Gluck, Handel and Mozart (Virgin Veritas), and Il tenero momento with Susan Graham featuring arias by Mozart and Gluck (Erato).

Born in Liverpool, he studied at the Royal College of Music and Oxford University, and is an accomplished harpsichordist.

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Harry Bicket interview
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