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Firsts and Favorites in 2020 at The Santa Fe Opera


Firsts and Favorites in 2020 at The Santa Fe Opera

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Season Ilustration

Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Mozart’s The Magic Flute

open the 64th Season on July 3 & 4

Company Premieres & New Productions

of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and Dvořák’s Rusalka

Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly

has its World Premiere August 1

Santa Fe, NM — The Santa Fe Opera’s General Director Robert K. Meya today announced repertory and casting for the company’s exciting 64th Season in 2020. On the panel joining Meya for the announcement were the President of the Board of Directors Susan G. Marineau, Andrea Fellows Walters, Director of Community Engagement, and Cori Ellison, the company’s first, recently appointed Dramaturg.

The 2020 Season

The Santa Fe Opera’s 2020 Season, running July 3 through August 29, presents 37 performances of five operas, including the world premiere of Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly, two company premieres (Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and Dvořák’s Rusalka), Steven Barlow’s inventive new production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, the revival of Tim Albery’s much-loved production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and two Apprentice Scenes performances. The 64th Season celebrates the inclusion of works new to the world stage alongside audience favorites by Rossini and Mozart, and features some of opera’s most exciting talent. Diversity in time period and language is also represented, with pieces and perspectives dating from 1791 to 2020, sung in Czech, English, German and Italian. The future season perfectly fits the time-tested programming model pioneered by Santa Fe Opera founder John Crosby: a balanced and varied repertory of new, rarely performed and standard works portrayed in a new light.

The Barber of Seville

The 2020 Season opens with Rossini’s most popular comedy, The Barber of Seville, in a new production whose playful energy springs directly from his ebullient music. In Stephen Barlow’s witty new production, Seville and Santa Fe, and 18th and 21st centuries, meet and merge in a sunny and whimsical world where anything can happen.

Based on Le Barbier de Séville (1775), the first play of the ‘Figaro Trilogy’ by the French Revolutionary-era author Pierre Caron de Beaumarchais, Rossini’s opera traces the efforts of clever Figaro to win for his master Count Almaviva his chosen bride. But Figaro meets his match in that crafty would-be bride, Rosina, who is already plotting to escape her guardian Dr. Bartolo.

“Napoleon is dead,” wrote Stendhal, Rossini’s first biographer, “but a new conqueror has already shown himself to the world!” By the time he was 21, Rossini had already become an operatic idol. Three years later, he dashed off the brilliant Il barbiere di Siviglia within a mere three weeks and was well on his way to dominating and defining Italian opera for the first half of the 19th century.

Corrado Rovaris presides over 11 performances by an accomplished young cast that includes Emily D’Angelo (Rosina), former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Jack Swanson (Count Almaviva) and Audun Iversen in his company debut (Figaro).

The Magic Flute

Is it a fanciful fairy tale or an arcane allegory? A dreamy romance or an action adventure? Mozart’s The Magic Flute, the second show to open in 2020, is all of these things and more. In this revival of Tim Albery’s acclaimed production, originally seen on the Santa Fe Opera stage in 2006 and revived in 2010, the clowns of popular Viennese musical theater mingle with the noble protagonists of Italian serious opera, the earthy peasants of opera buffa and the magical wizards of folk fantasy, in a seamless synthesis of Mozart’s life’s work.

“In Tim Albery’s penetrating staging,” wrote the Santa Fe Reporter, “The company brings a Midas touch to Mozart’s mythic valediction in one of the warmest, truest and most affecting shows in its history.”

Music Director Harry Bicket conducts nine performances of this revival starring Joélle Harvey (Pamina) and James Creswell (Sarastro) in their company debuts, Joshua Hopkins (Papageno), and former Santa Fe Opera Apprentices Audrey Luna (Queen of the Night) and Matthew DiBattista (Monostatos). Former Santa Fe Opera Apprentices Eric Ferring (Tamino) and Erik Van Heyningen (Speaker) will also make company debuts.

Tristan und Isolde

Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, a company premiere and the first piece by Richard Wagner to be seen on the Santa Fe Opera stage in over 30 years, will be presented in a new production. Debuting director Zack Winokur conjures a mesmerizing production of eloquent, elemental simplicity which emphasizes character, emotion and ideas. “Opera is the field where all disciplines collide,” he observes, “…and I want to smash these different methods of performance and expression together to produce a thing of power, meaning, matter and beauty.”

Wagner wrote Tristan und Isolde under the twin influences of Arthur Schopenhauer and his gloomy philosophy, and of Mathilde Wesendonck, his married lover — both of whom taught him a thing or two about unfulfilled longing. The composer now had no use for plot-driven romantic opera, preferring to create a metaphysical reverie on the very nature of existence. He conveyed his musings on love, sex and death in intensely chromatic music of deferred resolution, conveyed in tidal waves of full-throated singing and lush orchestral sound.

James Gaffigan returns to the podium for Wagner’s masterpiece to lead a stellar cast that includes Simon O’Neill (Tristan) in his company debut, Tamara Wilson (Isolde) in her company debut, Jamie Barton (Brangäne), Ryan McKinny (Kurwenal) and Eric Owens (King Marke).

Tristan und Isolde will be only the second opera by Wagner ever to be produced by the Santa Fe Opera, with the first being The Flying Dutchman last presented in 1988. Its prelude’s opening sound, the famous yearning “Tristan chord,” is often cited as the birth of modern music, unleashing an unstoppable wellspring of musical possibility. Its unprecedented chromaticism, tonal ambiguity and stunning orchestral color changed every

composer who came after, impacting everything from Expressionism to film music to Heavy Metal.

In order to best accommodate audiences, all performances of Tristan und Isolde will begin at 8:00 pm.


An electrifying new production of Rusalka, directed by David Pountney, will be the first-ever piece by Dvořák to grace the Santa Fe Opera stage. Dvořák began writing Rusalka late in his career, when he had turned his attention almost exclusively to mythical themes. With echoes of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, the opera weaves the tale of a water nymph who pays the highest price for the chance to love a human being. Responding with sharply contrasting vocal styles and sound worlds for the opera’s mortal and supernatural characters, Dvořák vividly portrays the impossibility of merging the two worlds and the despair of the individual caught between them.

Santa Fe Opera Music Director Harry Bicket conducts Ailyn Pérez in the title role of Rusalka, accompanied by Alexandra LoBianco (Foreign Princess), Michaela Martens (Witch), Eric Cutler (Prince) and James Creswell (Vodnik).

The title character’s well-known “Song to the Moon” provides a mere taste of Rusalka’s vast musical riches. The opulently scored Rusalka has often been called Dvořák’s most Wagnerian work, not only for its equal treatment of orchestra and voices and for its subtle use of leitmotifs, but also for its shimmering, nearly impressionistic instrumentation, evoking the lapping of waves on water, nocturnal forest sounds and even the reflection of moonlight on the lake.

M. Butterfly

Rounding out the Santa Fe Opera’s 2020 Season will be Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang’s new opera, M. Butterfly, based upon Hwang’s Tony Award-winning and Pulitzer-Prize finalist Broadway play of the same name. The opera is the Santa Fe Opera’s 17th world premiere, further building upon the company’s legacy of commissioning new works. Both the opera and the play on which it is based were inspired by the true story of a French diplomat who carried on a 20-year love affair, with an astonishing secret at its heart, with a star of the Peking Opera. The story’s many parallels with Puccini’s well-known Madama Butterfly are echoed in the new opera’s music.

Librettist David Henry Hwang writes, “When Huang Ruo and I began looking for our next project together, it seemed time to finally embark upon my dream of bringing M. Butterfly back to the world of opera, which in many ways strikes me as its most natural home. I am grateful to the Santa Fe Opera for investing the time, resources and artistic support necessary to develop and realize this work. Because opera is the most theatrical of stage forms, one which most effectively facilitates an audiences’ suspension of disbelief, Huang Ruo and I believe it will allow this story to take wing, more beautifully and powerfully than ever before.”

The Santa Fe Opera is especially pleased to present this new work on the heels of the composer/librettist team’s tremendous success with the 2018 world premiere of An American Soldier, which received unanimous critical acclaim at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. M. Butterfly will be staged by the same creative team that prepared the Santa Fe Opera’s widely praised American premiere of Huang Ruo’s Dr. Sun Yat-sen in 2014 under the direction of James Robinson. The Santa Fe Reporter wrote, “The Santa Fe Opera’s production of Dr. Sun Yat-sen marks the company’s finest venture thus far into 21st century opera. Musically and visually, it ranks high among all the many contemporary operas mounted here. These performances offer a stunning demonstration of Ruo’s skill in molding Eastern and Western modalities into a successful theatrical synthesis.”

With M. Butterfly, conductor Xian Zhang, Music Director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, becomes the third female conductor in the Santa Fe Opera’s history, following Carolyn Kuan in 2014 and Speranza Scappucci in 2015.

2020 Debuts

David Bizic (Baritone); James Creswell (Bass); Andrew D. Edwards (Scenic & Costume Design);

Greg Emetaz (Projection Design); Eric Ferring+ (Tenor); Joélle Harvey (Soprano);

Howard Hudson (Lighting Design); Charlap Hyman & Herrero (Scenic Design);

Erik Van Heyningen+ (Bass-baritone); Audun Iversen (Baritone); Fabrice Kebour (Lighting Design);

Kangmin Justin Kim (Counter-Tenor); Marie-Jeanne Lecca (Costume Design); Alexandra LoBianco (Soprano);

Simon O’Neill (Tenor); Hera Hyesang Park (Soprano); David Pountney (Director); Carlos Soto (Costume Design);

John Torres (Lighting Design); Tamara Wilson (Soprano); Xian Zhang (Conductor)

Returning Artists

with most recent or upcoming Santa Fe Opera appearance


Jamie Barton (Faust, The Last Savage, 2011); Kevin Burdette (Ariadne auf Naxos, Candide, 2018);

Scott Conner (The Italian Girl in Algiers, 2018); Eric Cutler (The Pearl Fishers, 2012);

Emily D’Angelo (Così fan tutte, 2019); Joshua Dennis+ (The Thirteenth Child, 2019);

Matthew DiBattista+ (Ariadne auf Naxos, Madame Butterfly, 2018); Joshua Hopkins (Die Fledermaus, 2017);

David Leigh+ (The Thirteenth Child, 2019); Audrey Luna+ (The Magic Flute, 2010);

Michaela Martens (Salome, 2015); Ryan McKinny (Doctor Atomic, 2018); Eric Owens (Wozzeck, 2011);

Ailyn Pérez (Roméo et Juliette, 2016); Jack Swanson+ (The Italian Girl in Algiers, 2018)


Harry Bicket (Così fan tutte, 2019); James Gaffigan (Ariadne auf Naxos, 2018);

Corrado Rovaris (The Italian Girl in Algiers, 2018)


Tim Albery (Ariadne auf Naxos, 2018); Stephen Barlow (Tosca, 2012); James Robinson (Vanessa, 2016);

Zack Winokur (Choreographer, Lucia di Lammermoor, 2017)


Chris Akerlind (Vanessa, 2016); Tobias Hoheisel (Ariadne auf Naxos, 2018); Allen Moyer (Die Fledermaus, 2017);

James Schuette (Vanessa, 2016); Leslie Travers (Salome, 2015)


Nicola Bowie (Don Giovanni, La Fanciulla del West, Roméo et Juliette, 2016)

Chorus Master

Susanne Sheston (2019 Season)

+Former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice


The Barber of Seville

Music by Gioachino Rossini

Libretto by Cesare Sterbini

Premiered February 20, 1816, Teatro Argentina, Rome

11 Performances — July 3, 8, 11, 17 & 24; August 4, 10, 15, 21, 25 & 29, 2020

Sung in Italian with opera titles in English and Spanish

A New Santa Fe Opera Production

Last performed by The Santa Fe Opera in 2005

Creative Team

Conductor: Corrado Rovaris

Stage Director: Stephen Barlow

Scenic & Costume Design: Andrew D. Edwards*

Lighting Design: Howard Hudson*

Chorus Master: Susanne Sheston


Rosina: Emily D’Angelo

Count Almaviva: Jack Swanson+

Figaro: Audun Iversen*

Doctor Bartolo: Kevin Burdette

Don Basilio: Scott Conner

The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra and Chorus

*Santa Fe Opera debut, +Former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice

The Magic Flute

Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder

Premiered September 30, 1791, Theater auf der Wieden, Vienna

9 Performances — July 4, 10 & 15; August 3, 8, 13, 17, 22 & 28, 2020

Sung in German with opera titles in English and Spanish

English Dialogue by Tim Albery

Production revival, last performed by The Santa Fe Opera in 2010

Creative Team

Conductor: Harry Bicket

Stage Director: Tim Albery

Scenic & Costume Design: Tobias Hoheisel

Chorus Master: Susanne Sheston


Pamina: Joélle Harvey*

Queen of the Night: Audrey Luna+

Tamino: Eric Ferring*+

Monostatos: Matthew DiBattista+

Papageno: Joshua Hopkins

Sarastro: James Creswell*

Speaker: Erik Van Heyningen*+

The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra and Chorus

*Santa Fe Opera debut, +Former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice

Tristan und Isolde

Music and Libretto by Richard Wagner

Libretto based on Tristan by Gottfried von Strassburg

Premiered June 10, 1865, Königliches Hof- und Nationaltheater, Munich

6 Performances — July 18, 22 & 31; August 6, 12 & 18, 2020

Sung in German with opera titles in English and Spanish

A New Santa Fe Opera Production and Company Premiere

Production support generously provided by Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Jean & Gene Stark

Additional artistic costs are underwritten by the Wagner Society of Santa Fe

Creative Team

Conductor: James Gaffigan

Stage Director: Zack Winokur

Scenic Design: Charlap Hyman & Herrero*

Costume Design: Carlos Soto*

Lighting Design: John Torres*

Chorus Master: Susanne Sheston


Isolde: Tamara Wilson*

Tristan: Simon O’Neill*

Brangäne: Jamie Barton

Kurwenal: Ryan McKinny

King Marke: Eric Owens (July 18, 22, 31; August 6 & 12)

David Leigh+ (August 18)

The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra and Chorus

*Santa Fe Opera debut, +Former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice


Music by Antonín Dvořák

Libretto by Jaroslav Kvapil, based on the fairytales of Božena Němcová and Karel Jaromír

Premiered March 31, 1901, The National Theatre, Prague

6 Performances — July 25 & 29; August 7, 11, 20 & 27, 2020

Sung in Czech with opera titles in English and Spanish

A New Santa Fe Opera Production and Company Premiere

Creative Team

Conductor: Harry Bicket

Stage Director: David Pountney*

Scenic Design: Leslie Travers

Costume Design: Marie-Jeanne Lecca*

Lighting Design: Fabrice Kebour*

Choreographer: Nicola Bowie

Chorus Master: Susanne Sheston


Rusalka: Ailyn Pérez

Prince: Eric Cutler

Vodník: James Creswell

Ježibaba: Michaela Martens

Foreign Princess: Alexandra LoBianco*

The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra and Chorus

*Santa Fe Opera debut, +Former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice

M. Butterfly

Music by Huang Ruo

Libretto by David Henry Hwang

Based on the stage play “M. Butterfly” by David Henry Hwang

A World Premiere, Commissioned by The Santa Fe Opera

5 Performances — August 1, 5, 14, 19 & 26, 2020

Sung in English with opera titles in English and Spanish

Developed with assistance from American Lyric Theater, Lawrence Edelson, Producing Artistic Director

Commissioning and development support generously provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Production support generously provided by The Aretê Foundation

Creative Team

Conductor: Xian Zhang*

Stage Director: James Robinson

Scenic Design: Allen Moyer

Costume Design: James Schuette

Lighting Design: Chris Akerlind

Projection Design: Greg Emetaz*

Chorus Master: Susanne Sheston


Rene Gallimard: David Bizic*

Song Liling: Kangmin Justin Kim*

Comrade Chin/Shu Fang: Hera Hyesang Park*

Manuel Toulon/Judge: Kevin Burdette

Marc: Joshua Dennis+

The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra and Chorus

*Santa Fe Opera debut, +Former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice

2020 Season Information

Performance Start Times

July 3 — August 1, 8:30 PM | August 3 — August 29, 8:00 PM

Please note: all performances of Tristan und Isolde will begin at 8:00 PM

Apprentice Scenes

Fully-staged scenes from the operatic repertory showcasing the remarkable talent of Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Singers and Technicians will be presented on two consecutive Sunday evenings, August 16 and 23, 2020.

Family Nights

Special performances of all five productions during the season are designated Family Nights, providing opportunities for families to attend mainstage performances. Prices for both adults and accompanying children are greatly discounted from regular ticket prices for select productions. 2020 Family Nights dates and prices are TBA.

2020 Tickets & Subscriptions

Tickets and Subscriptions for the 2020 Season go on sale May 8, 2019 at 11:15 AM (MDT). Learn more or purchase online at, by telephone at 505-986-5900 (toll-free at 800-280-4654), or in person at the Box Office.

The Santa Fe Opera wishes to thank the following for their wonderfully generous support of the 2020 Season:

The Wyncote Foundation

Tristan und Isolde

Sarah Billinghurst Solomon

Jean & Gene Stark

The Wagner Society of Santa Fe

M. Butterfly

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Aretê Foundation

The Melville Hankins Family Foundation is the Principal Education Sponsor of the Santa Fe Opera

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 programs for singers, technicians, and arts administrators; and to foster an understanding and appreciation of opera among a diverse public.