Tuesday 31 July 2012

Santa Fe Bound

Interior of Santa Fe Opera Theatre, photo credit Wikipedia:Chyeburashka
Interior of Santa Fe Opera Theatre
Next week we fly off to the USA for a visit to the Santa Fe Opera. The season runs from 29 June to the end of August. The theatre, set on a hill just outside of Santa Fe, has one of the most magical locations, with views of the desert and the possibility of glorious sunsets. The operas this season are Santa Fe's usual canny mix of familiar and unfamiliar (they have given a number of world premieres and US premieres).

First off on our list is Szymanowski's King Roger with Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien in the title role, in a production directed by Stephen Wadsworth. Next in line is Rossini's Maometto Secondo, one of the operas Rossini wrote for Isabella Colbran and the opera company in Naples. Luca Pisaroni is in the title role, with Patricia Bardon as Calbo, in a production by David Alden. Finally, in the group of operas that we are seeing, Tosca with Amanda Echalaz making her American debut, directed by Stephen Barlow. We will be seeing Raymond Aceto as Scarpia, with Thomas Hampson taking over the role later on in the run.

The operas we will not be seeing are Bizet's The Pearl Fishers, with Nicole Cabell and Eric Culter, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume; Richard Strauss's Arabella with Erin Wall, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, directed by Tim Albery.

This Saturday (4 August), there is a gala concert featuring Susan Graham and a number of the summer season's principal artists.

The theatre at Santa Fe has one unique feature. Not only is the theatre itself partially open to the element, but the rear of the stage is too, so that the backdrop can be, if wished, just the desert sky. Of course, this creates technical challenges in designing productions, with no backstage area, no fly tower and rather small wings. But it can be entrancing.

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