Songs of the season
Sunday, December 6 @ 3 pm MT
featuring tenor Joshua Dennis, Mezzo-soprano Briana Elyse Hunter, pianist Robert Tweten and the young voices of the Santa fe Opera filmed on location across northern New Mexico
° "Sure On This Shining Night" by Morten Lauridsen / Briana Elyse Hunter & Joshua Dennis, Robert Tweten (piano)
° "Dein ist mein ganzes herz" by Franz Léhar / Joshua Dennis, Robert Tweten (piano)
° "Love Let The Wind Cry...How I Adore Thee" by Undine S. Moore / Briana Elyse Hunter, Robert Tweten (piano)
° "Pilgrims' Hymn" by Stephen Paulus / SFO Young Voices, Robert Tweten (piano)
° "Joy" by Ricky Ian Gordon / Briana Elyse Hunter, Robert Tweten (piano)
° "Nessun dorma" by Giacomo Puccini / Joshua Dennis, Robert Tweten (piano)
° "I Never Has Seen Snow" by Harold Arlen / Briana Elyse Hunter, Robert Tweten (piano)
° "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" by Irving Berlin / Joshua Dennis, Robert Tweten (piano)
° "The Christmas Song" arr. Wells, Torme, & Tweten / Briana Elyse Hunter & Joshua Dennis, Robert Tweten (piano)
° "O Holy Night" by Adolphe Adam, arr. C. Deis & R. Tweten / Briana Elyse Hunter & Joshua Dennis, Robert Tweten (piano)
Artist appearances made possible through the courtesy of the American Guild of Musical Artists, AFL-CIO.
All activities were completed in accordance with current New Mexico health and safety guidelines.
Songs of the Season is directed by Bryan Kaufman.
About the Performers
Briana Elyse Hunter, Mezzo-soprano
Described by the New York Times as “a radiant mezzo-soprano” and Opera News as “a mezzo-soprano of astounding vocal and dramatic range,” Briana Elyse Hunter is rapidly emerging as an artist to watch. Her previous credits include Blue (Mother), Carmen (Carmen, Mercédès), La tragédie de Carmen (Carmen), Little Women (Jo), Xerxes (Arsamenes), Die Fledermaus (Prince Orlovsky), As One (Hannah after), and La traviata (Flora). She won the 2018 EncoreMichigan Wilde Award for “Best Performance in an Opera” for her portrayal of Gertrude Stein in Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27. She has been on the rosters of New York City Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Santa Fe Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Knoxville Opera, UrbanArias in D.C., American Opera Projects, Opera in the Heights, I SING BEIJING, Sarasota Opera, El Paso Opera, and Music Academy of the West where she sang the title role of Carmen under the tutelage of the great Marilyn Horne. She recently made her Lincoln Center Theater debut in their gala performance of Camelot starring Lin Manuel Miranda. Next year she is poised to make her Kennedy Center debut with Washington National Opera as Mother in Blue by Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson, and return to the role of Carmen at Opera Orlando in a brand new production set in Haiti.
Joshua Dennis, Tenor
Known for his “voluptuous elegant tone,” and a “robust tenor with baritonal heft,” American lyric tenor Joshua Dennis is a star on the rise. This season, Mr. Dennis is slated to return to Arizona Opera in the second world premiere of Clint Borzoni and John de los Santos’s production, The Copper Queen, after a recent reprisal of the role of Bern Venters in the world premiere of Riders of the Purple Sage. Additionally, he sees performances as Leonard in the world premiere of Nadia Boulanger’s La Ville Morte with Neal Goren’s new opera company, Catapult Opera, and also make his role debut as Don José in Carmen in a return to Opera Idaho.
Last season Mr. Dennis, a champion of new works, had the honor of originating two roles: “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in Minnesota Opera’s world premiere production of The Fix, and Prince Frederic in Poul Ruders’ The Thirteenth Child with the Santa Fe Opera. Additionally, he was heard in Huang Rou’s Paradise Interrupted at the MGM Grand in Macau, and as the host of the Santa Fe Opera’s virtual event Songs from the Santa Fe Opera in place of its opening night of M. Butterfly. Mr. Dennis was scheduled to perform the role of Marc in the world premiere of Huang Ruo and David Henry Huang’s M. Butterfly, which was canceled due to the global pandemic.
As Alfredo in La traviata in his recent role and house debut with Seattle Opera, the Seattle Times raved, “Joshua Dennis gave a vocally smooth and well-schooled performance….” Additional highlights of recent seasons include performances of Roméo in Roméo et Juliette with Minnesota Opera and Utah Opera, where he was also heard as Greenhorn in Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick; Alfredo in La traviata with Opera Columbus and Opera Idaho, where he also performed the title role of Werther; the Duke of Mantua in Verdi’s Rigoletto with Minnesota Opera and Dayton Opera; Jaquino in Beethoven’s Fidelio with the Santa Fe Opera and the Houston Symphony; and title role of Faust with Opera San Antonio and Annapolis Opera. Additional performances include Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Charlottesville Opera and Opera Naples and Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Kentucky Opera and New Orleans Opera.
On the concert stage, Mr. Dennis has performed as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Santa Fe Symphony and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, Beethoven’s Mass in C with the Phoenix Symphony, and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde as the first tenor soloist to sing at the XXI Festival International de Piano en Blanco & Negro in Mexico. Additionally, he was a soloist in Dubois’ Les Sept Paroles du Christ and performed the role of Tony in Opera Idaho’s concert version of West Side Story.
Mr. Dennis has held apprenticeships with the Des Moines Metro Opera and the Santa Fe Opera. In 2018, Mr. Dennis was the only tenor to represent the USA in Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition in Astana, Kazakhstan. Additionally, he was a finalist of the Metropolitan Opera Competition at the regional level.
Mr. Dennis earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degree from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Robert Tweten, Pianist
Robert Tweten has performed extensively throughout the USA and his native Canada, and currently holds the positions of Head of Music Staff for The Santa Fe Opera, and Music Director of Graduate Opera Studies for the New England Conservatory. During his tenure with The Santa Fe Opera, Tweten has been on the podium for Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Katya Kabanova, The Pirates of Penzance, Ermione, and the 50th Anniversary Concert, as well as performances of the Grammy award-winning, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. Maestro Tweten has enjoyed a long relationship with Utah Opera/Symphony where he has conducted thirteen operas since his debut with them in 2005, and other companies he has collaborated with include the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Calgary Opera, Vancouver Opera, Kentucky Opera, Edmonton Opera, Dayton Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Tulsa Opera and Sarasota Opera. Also an acclaimed pianist, Tweten began his career as a soloist after winning competitions including the Canadian National Piano Championship and the Du Maurier Search for Stars, and has performed with many of the industry’s most prominent singers and instrumentalists at renowned concert halls and festivals including Wigmore Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, and the Salzburg Festival. Robert’s most recent performances include conducting Turandot (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Rigoletto (Calgary Opera), Faust (Opera San Antonio), and Postcard from Morocco with New England Conservatory, as well as Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Silent Night with the Utah Opera.
The Santa Fe Opera wishes to thank Garcia Automotive Group for its generous sponsorship of Songs of the Season. For more information, please visit Garciacars.com.
The Melville Hankins Family Foundation is the Principal Education Sponsor of the Santa Fe Opera.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
Las Placitas Presbyterian Church
Old San Ysidro Church