News Release

26 September 2017

Gayletha Nichols Named Director Designate of Apprentice Program for Singers at Santa Fe Opera

SANTA FE, NM – General Director Charles MacKay announced today that Gayletha Nichols, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and member of Santa Fe Opera’s teaching staff during the last two seasons, will be named Director Designate of the Apprentice Program for Singers on October 1, 2017. Ms. Nichols will accompany Santa Fe Opera’s Head of Music, Robert Tweten, on next month’s audition tour. She will succeed David Holloway as Director of the Program on May 28, 2018. Kathleen Clawson, affiliated with the Program since 2014, will remain Associate Director.

“Santa Fe Opera’s Apprentice Program for Singers has been a centerpiece of our organization since the Company’s founding in 1957 and has helped to launch some of the most illustrious careers in opera,” said General Director Charles MacKay. “Under David Holloway’s very successful term as Director for the last 13 years, our Apprentice Program for Singers has flourished, setting an ever higher standard for musical excellence in our productions. Continuing this extraordinary legacy is of paramount importance and we feel incredibly fortunate to have attracted someone of Gayletha Nichols’s national and international stature to become Director of the Apprentice Program starting next season. She brings a wealth of invaluable experience to us through her work at the Metropolitan Opera and Houston Opera Studio. We know that she’ll be a wonderful addition to Santa Fe Opera and look forward to welcoming her next summer. “

“My professional life has been filled with wonderful opportunities mentoring young singers,” wrote Gayletha Nichols. “Santa Fe Opera has nurtured many of today’s finest artists, and I am excited to join the artistic team of such an innovative and respected opera company.”

“An eminent opera professional once said to me, ‘Holloway, you know that you have the best job in opera’” wrote David Holloway, current Director of the Program. “I couldn’t agree with him more. It is now my honor to pass this position on to Gayletha Nichols, a leading figure in our industry. There is no more-qualified person in opera to fill this position as Director of Santa Fe Opera’s Apprentice Singers Program. Gayletha’s hobby is ceramics — molding clay. What a wonderful metaphor for what our program does with singers, helping them grow out of their training phase into professional opera singers.”

Gayletha Nichols
Ms. Nichols joined the artistic staff of the Metropolitan Opera in the fall of 2000 as Executive Director of the National Council Auditions. She brought to the Met two decades of experience as a singer, teacher and career advisor. From 1992-2000, she was Director of Houston Opera Studio, the young artist development program at Houston Grand Opera, where she created and individualized the training both for singers and pianists. Ms. Nichols auditions hundreds of singers across North America every year and in her travels addresses many universities, conservatories, and festivals on developing the next generation of opera singers. She is a frequent adjudicator in national and international competitions and consults for other young artist programs across the country.


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 and enrich an understanding and appreciation of opera among a diverse public.
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