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Lord of Cries production

Creating a World Premiere at the Santa Fe Opera: A ¡Colores! Special

NMPBS Contact: Evy Todd | | 505-265-3025

SFO Contact: Emily Doyle Moore | | 505-986-5908


Creating a World Premiere at the Santa Fe Opera: A ¡Colores! Special Airs Thursday, May 12 at 7 PM MDT on NMPBS channel 5.1 & streams via and the PBS Video App

View or Print Press Release (PDF)

Albuquerque, NM – On Thursday, May 12, New Mexico PBS’s landmark, award-winning series ¡Colores! offers an exclusive look behind-the-scenes at the Santa Fe Opera. The primetime special, focusing on the making of the company’s 17th world premiere, The Lord of Cries, re- veals an inside view on the creative forces at work on the new opera. Creating a World Premiere at the Santa Fe Opera: A ¡Colores! Special premieres at 7 p.m. MDT on NMPBS Channel 5.1 and streams online at and the PBS Video App.

Viewers will meet and hear from Santa Fe Opera General Director Robert K. Meya, composer John Corigliano, librettist Mark Adamo, director James Darrah, costume designer Chrisi Karvonides-Dushenko, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, soprano Susanna Phillips, Santa Fe Opera production director Chelsea Antrim Dennis, conductor Johannes Debus and other creative luminaries. Through discussions with key creators and exclusive rehearsal and performance footage, Creating a World Premiere at the Santa Fe Opera: A ¡Colores! Special captures the collaborative process of opera-making and concludes with the safe and successful reopening of one of America’s longest-running opera festivals.

The hour-long special marks the first of its kind between the Santa Fe Opera and New Mexico PBS. Says General Director Robert K. Meya, “The Santa Fe Opera is delighted to present this exciting program with New Mexico PBS. For over sixty years the Santa Fe Opera has been committed to playing a significant role in New Mexico’s vibrant arts and culture landscape by presenting performances of the highest quality of new, rarely performed, and standard works. Our special truly has something for everyone and we are grateful for this opportunity and the incredible partnership of NMPBS in telling our story. We are so excited to invite opera fans and newcomers behind the scenes at the Santa Fe Opera.”

Franz Joachim, NMPBS General Manager and CEO notes, “For over sixty years New Mexico PBS has presented the best of the Southwest’s arts, history, music and culture to the communities of New Mexico and the nation. While historically NMPBS and its award-winning ¡Colores! series have told numerous stories highlighting the Santa Fe Opera, with this new primetime special, we have the luxury of focusing solely on one opera. We feel that exploring the myriad of creative elements that go into bringing a final production to an audience is the next step in a cultural progression. NMPBS is proud to partner with the Santa Fe Opera in this new endeavor and looks forward to sharing it with communities across New Mexico and the nation.”

About The Lord of Cries

The Lord of Cries by composer John Corigliano and librettist Mark Adamo, opened at the Santa Fe Opera on July 17, 2021 and ran for six performances during the 64th Festival Season. The piece is based on the intriguing points of intersection between two classics of Western literature, The Bacchae of Euripides and Dracula by Bram Stoker. Separated by 24 centuries, The Bacchae and Dracula tell virtually the same timeless story, with the same subversive message: We must honor our animal nature lest it turn monstrous and destroy us.

The Lord of Cries is only the second opera by John Corigliano, following his acclaimed The Ghosts of Versailles (1991), which at the time was the Metropolitan Opera’s first commission in three decades. Corigliano’s one-hundred-plus compositions have won him the Pulitzer Prize, four Grammy Awards and an Oscar, and have been performed and recorded by many of the world’s greatest soloists, conductors and orchestras.

Librettist Mark Adamo, an accomplished composer in his own right, has authored the libretti for his four full-length operas, Little Women (1998), Lysistrata (2005), The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (2013) and Becoming Santa Claus (2015). The Lord of Cries marked the first operatic collaboration between Corigliano and Adamo, longtime partners in life.

The title role of The Lord of Cries was written for superstar countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, who made his Santa Fe Opera debut as Dionysus. Johannes Debus conducted the all-star cast that also included soprano Kathryn Henry as Lucy Harker, tenor David Portillo as Jon Harker, baritone and former SFO apprentice singer Jarrett Ott as John Seward, bass Matt Boehler as Van Helsing and bass Kevin Burdette as the Correspondent.

The production was directed by James Darrah. Adam Rigg created the scenic designs, former technical apprentice Chrisi Karvonides-Dushenko served as the costume designer, Pablo Santiago was the lighting designer and Adam Larsen provided the projection designs. Susanne Sheston was the Chorus Master.

Of the new opera, The New Yorker’s Alex Ross wrote, “What’s notable about “The Lord of Cries” is its gleeful lack of caution—a commendable late-period turn for an artist who has at times been too calculated in his effects. Not, perhaps, since Verdi wrote “Falstaff” has an operatic composer made so much mischief past the age of seventy-five.”


The ¡Colores! series debuted in 1989, and features local and national stories about film, visual and performing arts, theatre, photography, literature, painting, sculpture, poetry and dance. ¡Colores! provides an in-depth look at the inspiration, challenges and processes of a wide range of artists.

¡Colores! – New Mexico PBS/KNME was a 2019 recipient of the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, as a Major Contributor to the Arts. ¡Colores! programs have been included in museums across the country, at community events, and in classrooms from elementary school to higher education. Additionally, ¡Colores! has received a National Emmy® nomination for Community Service, several Southwest regional Emmys, the Jury Prize at the Telluride Mountain Film Festival, and a showing at the Smithsonian’s Latino Film Festival.

¡Colores! is presented nationally through a collaboration between NMPBS and the Public Television Major Market Group (MMG), a public television affinity group. View previous episodes on the ¡Colores! YouTube channel and look for ¡¡Colores! on Facebook and Instagram. Tara Walch is the Series Producer of ¡Colores!. Michael Kamins is the Executive Producer of Cultural Affairs Programs.

Funding for ¡Colores! is provided in part by the Frederick Hammersley Foundation, and Viewers Like You. Thank you.

About New Mexico PBS

Celebrating over 60 years of service, NMPBS (KNME & KNMD-TV) serving New Mexico and the Navajo Nation, broadcasts a wide array of nature, history, current affairs, health, performance, children’s, educational and entertainment programs. NMPBS produces NEW MEXICO IN FOCUS, COLORES! and a variety of specials. NMPBS operates 5 digital KNME broadcast channels: 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, and 5.5, and streams most programs on the PBS Video App. The five KNMD Channels mirror KNME, and broadcast in ATSC 3.0, in the NextGen TV format. NMPBS is co-licensed to the University of New Mexico (UNM) and Albuquerque Public Schools (APS).

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Bank of Albuquerque logo

The Santa Fe Opera gratefully acknowledges the Bank of Albuquerque for its generous sponsorship of Creating a World Premiere at The Santa Fe Opera: A ¡Colores! Special

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About the Santa Fe Opera – The Santa Fe Opera annually draws 85,000 people from New Mexico and around the globe. Nestled atop a mountain vista in northern New Mexico, the company’s iconic Crosby Theatre is open on three sides, allowing visitors to enjoy performances complemented by the elements. Since 1957, the company has presented over 2,000 performances of 177 operas by 90 composers spanning five centuries of opera, creating a legacy of 45 American premieres and 17 world premieres.

The mission of the Santa Fe Opera is to advance the operatic art form by presenting ensemble performances of the highest quality in a unique setting with a varied repertory of new, rarely performed, and standard works; to ensure the excellence of opera’s future through apprentice pro-grams for singers, technicians, and arts administrators; and to foster an understanding and appreciation of opera among a diverse public.

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