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Opera Basics with Oliver Prezant

April 26 - June 21, 2024

Join conductor and educator Oliver Prezant for a series of fun, informative FREE talks on opera.

April 26, May 10, May 24, June 7, June 21
Collected Works
202 Galisteo St.
Santa Fe, NM 87501
5:30-7:00 pm

Each talk will introduce you to opera basics while previewing one of the five operas of the Santa Fe Opera’s 2024 Season. For more than 25 years, Oliver Prezant’s unique presentations have helped thousands of newcomers and established opera lovers deepen their experience of music and opera. Best of all, you’ll have a chance to go into each performance with the confidence to relax, enjoy and get the most out of your experience in the theater.

  • Learn all about the stories, the characters, the music and the text
  • Explore the building blocks of opera and how they’ve changed over time
  • Gain insight into how to listen to the singers and the orchestra
  • Get tips on how to understand the sets, props, costumes and lighting
  • Learn about the composers and librettists
  • Develop an understanding of where each work fits within the history of opera

Friday, April 26 – La traviata
Friday, May 10 – Don Giovanni
Friday, May 24 – The Righteous
Friday, June 7 – Der Rosenkavalier
Friday, June 21 – The Elixir of Love

Collected Works
202 Galisteo St, Santa Fe, NM 87501
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

These events are FREE. No reservation necessary. Seating is first come first served.

For more information, contact Anna Garcia at
For more information on Oliver Prezant, visit

Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata (The one who strayed)

Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave

 A loving sacrifice on the altar of propriety Join us for a deep dive into the world of the Parisian demi-monde, where the glittering parties of the upper class give way to late-night liaisons between courtesans and their elite clientele. During the presentation we’ll dig into the text and the music as we explore the tragedy of Violetta, a courtesan, and Alfredo, the young man she truly loves. We’ll also take a look at the concept for the new production by director Louisa Muller.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni

Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte

The seducer thwartedMozart’s incomparable ability to depict characters and situations is on full display, as Don Giovanni, a nobleman, seeks to add names to his ever-growing list of conquests. We’ll explore the music of noble and lower-class characters, the role of the orchestra, and Da Ponte’s elegant libretto, and we’ll consider director Stephen Barlow’s approach to the opera as well.

Gregory Spears: The Righteous

Libretto by Tracy K. Smith

How do you approach the experience of a world premiere? Listening, watching, costumes, sets, lighting, action, reading the libretto as well as the stage … it’s all a part of looking at a new work for the first time. Join us for a preview of the music, the text, and the world premiere production of The Righteous, the story of one man’s journey from preacher to governor, set in the Southwest in the 1980s, as directed by Kevin Newbury.

Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hoffmansthal’s Der Rosenkavalier (The Rose Bearer)

The triumph of young love … He’s the young lover of an elegant noblewoman, and she’s to be married to a boorish old Baron. When they fall in love at first sight, they have to extract themselves from their circumstances – no small feat – so they can be together. In this achingly beautiful, hauntingly rich opera, Richard Strauss’ music has as much to say as Hugo von Hoffmansthal’s brilliant libretto. We’ll explore the extraordinarily tight relationship between the text and the music, as well as the themes, plot and characters, and we’ll take a peek at Bruno Ravella’s new production of this timeless classic.

Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love)

Libretto by Felice Romani

The courage to love … In this ever-popular comedy by Donizetti, Nemorino, a timid mechanic, loves Adina, an outgoing schoolteacher. How will he overcome his shyness and win her away from the conceited, overbearing Sergeant Belcore, who is aggressively wooing her? During the presentation we’ll luxuriate in lyrical beauty of the “bel canto” style (“beautiful singing”) and we’ll examine the mechanics of plot in this delicious, melodious comedy.

Oliver Prezant

Presenter - Oliver Prezant

Conductor and arts educator Oliver Prezant has presented lectures and education programs for organizations including the Santa Fe Opera, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Opera Southwest, Chamber Music Albuquerque, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, and programs on the relationship of music and visual art for the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Albuquerque Museum of Art. He is currently the Executive and Artistic Director of Opus OP Arts and Education Projects, which provides music and arts programs for listeners, musicians and teachers.

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