Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

DESERT DIVA.(Final)

Byline: David Belcher For the Journal

Santa Fe Opera's international reputation lures some of the top names in the profession

The well-worn trail between the Santa Fe Opera and the other great opera houses of the world is well known in music circles. Thanks to the opera company's international reputation, some of the world's finest opera singers have flocked to Santa Fe's ideal summer climate to rest their world-weary heels and belt out an aria while the sun sets over a gorgeous mountaintop.

But the Santa Fe Opera is looking more and more like a big-city opera house these days -- and a big city-style address for top names in the opera world. Gone are the days when Frederica von Stade and Marilyn Horne made occasional appearances. After its restoration in 1999 and its new vision under general director Richard Gaddes, the line between the Santa Fe Opera and, as an example, the Metropolitan Opera in New York is being blurred more and more each summer.

This becomes apparent to opera lovers who frequent both houses, as well as those who follow the lofty world of international opera. New Yorkers and Europeans have long been supporters of the Santa Fe Opera and frequent visitors to the summer festival.

But for the New Mexicans who tread the other side of that well-worn path between the two houses, it's apparent that each house has its own roster of big names that translates into big ticket sales. It used to be that few U.S. opera companies could match the Met or New York for bold productions, big-name stars, and concert debuts of emerging artists.

But the Santa Fe Opera emerged in 1958 as an opera company dedicated to new works, high standards and a unique summer climate and setting. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.