LANL Director Charlie McMillan, who also is a musician, joined Santa Fe Opera General Director Charles MacKay during Tuesday’s announcment of the 2018 Opera Season. Photo by Carl Newton
On Tuesday the Santa Fe Opera presented its 2018 season to an audience of opera supporters. Company premieres include Bernstein’s Candide June 29, 2018 and John Adams’ Dr. Atomic July 14, 2018. Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos will be seen in a new production, and two revivals round out the season. Puccini’s Madame Butterfly is from 2010 and Rossini’s The Italian Girl in Algiers is from 2002.
Considering these operas shoulder to shoulder for their stories, the most remarkable pairing is Dr. Atomic and Madame Butterfly. The setting for Puccini’s opera is Nagasaki and the locales for Adams’ opera include the Trinity Site for the first A-bomb test and Los Alamos where the scientists and engineers created the ordinance that ended the war with Japan. Moral obligation and ethical conflict are at the essence of those stories.
LANL Director Charlie McMillan joined Santa Fe Opera General Director Charles MacKay during Tuesday’s event and in his remarks spoke of the melding of science and art, and of the communal ethical space that opera provides. The world was fundamentally altered in 1945 and the global challenges faced then still haunt us today, McMillan said.
Peter Sellars who wrote the libretto and directed the San Francisco world premiere, repeatedly takes on ethical dilemmas for which adding the dimension of music adds to our visceral reactions.
The other three productions are notable for their comic hi-jinks. Rossini’s Italian opera premiered in 1813 and Edward Hastings’ 2002 production was so delightful that it has appeared many times around the world and will be refurbished for us to enjoy it again. MacKay was especially pleased to announce that the great bel canto interpreter Corrado Rovaris will conduct.
Strauss’ German opera, revised in 1916 was first presented in Santa Fe during Crosby’s opening season in 1957 and then twice in the 1990s. It has been described as Strauss’ most enchanting and wittiest opera incorporating both vocal and theatrical fireworks. It was my first choice for a repeat from the repertory.
Bernstein’s 1956 Candide shares not only the marvelous comedy of Ariadne but is every bit as enjoyable for the musical content. Each opera has passages that on every hearing speaks to the heart.
The final performance will be the conclusion of the Bernstein centenary Aug. 25, 2018.
Peter Sellars wrote the libretto and directed the world premiere of Dr. Atomic. Because he’s out of the country there was a video of him talking about the John Adams opera during Tuesday’s season announcement. It will be the first of Adams’ operas to be presented in Santa Fe. Photo by Carl Newton
This 2017 Season Poster is from a 1943 color woodblock print by Gustave Baumann who designed the first stationary for the company in 1957. The image of the poster reflects the ceiling of Stieren Orchestra Hall where Tuesday’s season announcement event was held. Photo by Carl Newton