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Side view of theater at dusk with white baffles

Barber’s Vanessa Opens July 30

The rarely performed gothic tale comes to Santa Fe in a film noir-inspired production


July 30 at 8:30 PM; August 3, 12, 18, 24 at 8:00 PM

Composed by Samuel Barber with libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti.

Sung in English with Opera Titles in English and Spanish.

A new Santa Fe Opera production. A company premiere.

First performed at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1958.

Tickets: Call the Santa Fe Opera Box Office at 505.986.5900 Monday–Saturday 9 AM–5 PM, or purchase online at santafeopera.org.


Santa Fe, NM – The Gothic account of a woman left broken-hearted by the lover who left her, Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Vanessa is considered by many to be one of the most important American operas of the twentieth century. Obsessively awaiting the return of a married man with whom she had an affair 20 years before, the aging but still beautiful aristocrat Vanessa lives in a world of secrets, deception, and alternate realities. When a stranger arrives at the door, a new chapter begins.

Soprano Erin Wall (Arabella, 2012) reimagines the title role. Mezzo-soprano Virginie Verrez, recent winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Grand Finals, and contralto Helene Schneiderman, making their company debuts as her niece Erika and her mother, The Old Baroness. Baritone James Morris (The Flying Dutchman,1988) makes a long-awaited return to the Santa Fe Opera stage as The Old Doctor. Tenor Zach Borichevsky (Arabella, 2012) is Anatol, both instigator and victim in Vanessa’s world of delusion. Winner of multiple Grammy Awards and Music Director of Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre National de Lyon, Leonard Slatkin (Life is a Dream, 2010) conducts the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. Stage director James Robinson creates a fresh interpretation of this American masterpiece, influenced by the films of Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Hitchock, and Otto Preminger. Joined by his collaborators on the American premiere of Dr. Sun Yat-sen (2014), scenic designer Allen Moyer, costume designer James Schuette, lighting designer Christopher Akerlind, and choreographer Seán Curran, the team returns to imagine an old Hollywood-style production fit for the screen.

Conductor: Leonard Slatkin

Director: James Robinson

Scenic Designer: Allen Moyer

Costume Designer: James Schuette

Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind

Choreographer: Seán Curran

Chorus Master: Susanne Sheston

Vanessa: Erin Wall

Erika: Virginie Verrez*

Anatol: Zach Borichevsky

Old Baroness: Helene Schneiderman*

Doctor: James Morris+

The Major Domo: Andrew Bogard++

Footman: Andrew Simpson++

*debut, +former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice, ++current Santa Fe Opera Apprentice