Santa Fe Opera announces 2022 festival season

One world premiere, one company premiere, and three favorites

By Peter Alexander Nov. 5 at 11:40 p.m.

The Santa Fe Opera (SFO) has announced their 65th summer festival season, scheduled for July 1 through Aug. 27, 2022.

Robert Meya announcing the Santa Fe Opera’s 65th season

The festival will feature a world premiere and a company premiere, as well as three operatic favorites. The announcement was made by SFO general director Robert K. Meya on Thursday, Nov. 4. 

Following last year’s reduced season of four productions, the company returns to a full season of five different operas, played in repertoire throughout the summer.

The first of the operatic favorites to be performed in 2022 will be Bizet’s Carmen, opening the season on July 1. That will be followed by Rossini’s Barber of Seville on July 2 and Verdi’s Falstaff on July 16. A co-production with Scottish Opera, Falstaff will be presented in Sir David McVicar’s production, which is set in a wood structure resembling an Elizabethan theater of Shakespeare’s time.

Next in the summer’s rotation will be the company premiere of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. This will be the first piece by Wagner to be presented at the SFO since The Flying Dutchman in 1988, and the only Wagner to be presented other than Dutchman. Some performance start times at the SFO shift over the summer season, due to changing times of sunset, but due to length, all performances of Tristan und Isolde will begin at 8 p.m.

Rounding out the summer season will be SFO’s 18th world premiere, M. Butterfly, based on the 1988 Tony Award-winning play by David Henry Hwang, who is also the librettist, with music by Huang Rao. The play and opera were inspired by the true story of a French diplomat who carried on a 20-year affair with a star of the Peking Opera without discovering his lover’s remarkable secret. The production of this new work will recall the SFO’s productions of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, the opera that has opened all three of the company’s theaters, in 1957, 1968 and 1998.

Promotional art for the Santa Fe Opera/Scottish Opera production of Verdi’s Falstaff

Further information and the full calendar of performances are available at the Santa Fe Opera Web page. Both season subscriptions and individual performance tickets are now on sale through that portal, or by calling the box office at 505-986-5900 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (toll-free 1-800-280-4654). Currently, the SFO plans to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for all patrons 12 or older. Full details of the SFO health and safety policies and any updates can be found here.

CORRECTIONS: Typos corrected 11/6.

No glass slippers, but it’s still Cinderella

CU Eklund Opera Program presents Rossini’s La Cenerentola

By Peter Alexander

Max Hosmer and Taylor Raven in the Eklund Opera Program production of Rossini's La Cenerentola Ro(Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

Max Hosmer and Taylor Raven in the Eklund Opera Program production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

No glass slippers or fairy godmother? What kind of Cinderella is that?

Actually, it’s Rossini’s opera La Cenerentola (Cinderella), and it’s the current production of the CU Eklund Opera Program. Performances this weekend will be Friday and Saturday (Oct. 23–24) at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday (Oct. 25) at 2 p.m. in CU Macky Auditorium. CU faculty member Nicholas Carthy will conduct the student orchestra and guest artist Bill Fabris will direct.

The cast features three graduate students—one performance each—in the demanding mezzo-soprano role of Cinderella: Taylor Raven, Rebecca Robinson and Christina Adams. The tenor role of Ramiro, aka the Prince, will be sung by Max Hosmer, a CU post-graduate, and CU faculty member Matthew Chellis (Saturday only).

CarthyAlthough it is based on the familiar Charles Perrault version of the fairy-tale, Rossini’s opera makes several changes to downplay magic and put more stress on Cinderella’s goodness of heart. The glass slippers are gone; instead, the prince recognizes Cinderella by a bracelet that she has worn at the ball. The cruel stepmother is replaced by a cruel stepfather, and the fairy godmother is replaced by a philosopher.

However, the greatest change makes the prince more of an actor in the drama. Because he wants to know the true nature of the young women he might marry, he switches places with his servant. In this way he learns about the selfishness of Cinderella’s sisters. Likewise, he observes the cruelty and arrogance of Cinderella’s stepfather, who is desperate to marry one of his daughters to the prince, and he experiences Cinderella’s kindness.

Aldoro, the philosopher who stands in for the usual fairy godmother, also appears in disguise, and sees that Cinderella is the one truly good person of her family. It is for that reason that he intervenes to get her to the ball.

Leigh Holman, director of the Eklund Opera Program, described the CU Cenerentola as a “relatively traditional” production set at the turn of the 20th century. “It’s hilarious, truly a comedy,” she says. “But unlike the Disney version, it’s also more grounded and realistic.

“What I enjoy most about this opera are its pervasive themes of character development. Cinderella is neglected and oppressed by an abusive father, but she learns to let that go. Because of the glorious love she’s found, forgiveness grows before regret and resentment take root. It’s a story of transcendence.”

Guest stage director Bill Fabris

A free-lance stage director who works in opera and music theater around the country, Fabris was engaged for the CU production on short notice when Holman was unable to be in Boulder for the rehearsals and performances. Not having done La Cenerentola for some time, he was happy not to deal with an unusual concept for the show. “It’s a little updated but still a traditional production,” he says, “which is fine with me, coming late in the process.”

When he arrived, Fabris was impressed with the student cast. “When I found out that most all of the roles are double cast, I thought, wow! And then I got here, and they’re doing it! They know what they’re singing they know how to manipulate all the fast runs.

“These wonderful young artists and their vocal gymnastics are amazing. Wait until you see it!”

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Cinderella_FINALfull-X2La Cenerentola (Cinderella) by Gioachino Rossini

CU Eklund Opera Program
Bill Fabris, stage director
Nicholas Carthy, conductor

7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, and Saturday, Oct. 24
2:00 pm. Sunday, Oct. 25
Macky Auditorium