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Side view of theater at dusk with white baffles

The Santa Fe Opera’s new Electronic Libretto System launches June 28, 2019

Santa Fe Opera pioneers next-generation technology to better serve Opera audiences

View or Print Press Release (PDF)


Santa Fe, NM On May 8, 2019 Susan G. Marineau, President of the Board of Directors of the Santa Fe Opera announced that on Opening Night of the 2019 Season, a new generation of seatback titles will debut in the Crosby Theatre. The new Electronic Libretto System (ELS) represents the second generation of seatback title technology and will replace the prior system, which was installed by Figaro Systems in 1999.

Developed by the Santa Fe Opera, the new ELS will feature individual high-resolution full-color LCD touchscreens for all 2,250 audience members in both seated and standing room locations. The format of the new screens is similar to the prior system and will feature privacy filters. However, the red on/off button will be eliminated and patrons will simply activate the translation system by touching the screen itself. Titles for all operas will be available in English and Spanish and the HD display allows for the use of diacritics or accent marks that are crucial to properly representing language translations. It will also allow for personalized recognition of donors to the Seat Naming Campaign.

Electronic Libretto System

Electronic Libretto System

This new electronic libretto system was designed and developed in-house by members of the Santa Fe Opera staff and volunteers including Gary Ellis, Paul Horpedahl, Karl Kern, Adelaide Zhang and Michael Petonic. Developed over the course of the last two and half years, the system utilizes new programming and boasts greater energy efficiency and resiliency to environmental factors inherent to the outdoor setting of the Crosby Theatre.

“Developing the custom displays has been exciting. Incorporating an HD display with advanced microprocessor technology to increase user functions and visibility, while maintaining the simple elegance of a slimline personal display has been the pinnacle of our efforts,” said Santa Fe Opera Audio/Visual Director Karl Kern.

The new system represents the next generation of technology and leads the way for opera houses and theaters throughout the country and around the world. The Santa Fe Opera expresses its deepest thanks to the Avenir Foundation for providing the resources to realize this dream. A patent is currently pending for the new system.


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.