A Tradition of Innovation: Sounds from Santa Fe Opera
Since the opera’s founding in 1957, the expansion of the operatic repertoire through commissions as well as American and world premieres has been of paramount importance and a point of pride for the company. The recordings of the Santa Fe Opera allow you to take the latest and greatest in 20th and 21st century American opera home with you. They are available through the Santa Fe Opera Shop located next to the Box Office.
Our 2017 world premiere set the operatic world buzzing. The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, by composer Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell, featured Edward Parks in the title role and Michael Christie conducting. On the occasion of his first opera, The Chicago Tribune praised Bates for his score, calling the music “some of his most inventive and alluring to date.”
The album was released on the PENTATONE label in 2018 and has been praised as “an impressive achievement” by Gramophone. In February 2019, the recording won Best Opera Recording at the 61st GRAMMY Awards.
Cold Mountain is another example of a famed composer’s first opera commissioned by the Santa Fe Opera. With music by Jennifer Higdon, the opera is “a creative and adroit adaptation by librettist Gene Scheer, [with] the kind of strong, original, ear-grabbing writing one would expect from Higdon, whose orchestral scores are justifiably praised for their refreshing vitality and brilliant colors” (Opera News). Captured live over several performances, Cold Mountain’s cast is led by two of American opera’s successful interpreters, Nathan Gunn and Isabel Leonard.
Released in 2016 on the PENTATONE label, the Santa Fe Opera’s recording of Cold Mountain received two GRAMMY nominations, for Best Opera Recording and Best Contemporary Classical Composition.
Emmeline, recorded live during its world-premiere run in 1996, was also the first opera by famed American composer and librettist duo Tobias Picker and J.D. McClatchy. The pair set this true story of Fayette, Maine, termed “the Oedipus story from Jocasta’s point of view,” from a book by Judith Rossner. This recording features acclaimed American soprano Patricia Racette in the title role.
The Santa Fe Opera’s first commercial recording is the 1976 Robert Indiana-designed production of composer Virgil Thomson’s and librettist Gertrude Stein’s The Mother of Us All. Featuring a cast led by Mignon Dunn and conductor Raymond Leppard in this inaugural recording of the beloved American opera, Thomson and Stein’s work is an affectionate meditation on the life and work of suffragist Susan B. Anthony.