The Santa Fe Opera: Six Casting Updates For 2021 Season

Ying Fang as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro. Courtesy/Curtis Brown Photography for SFO

SFO News:

SANTA FE — The Santa Fe Opera (SFO) announces the following casting updates for the 2021 Season running through Aug. 27: 

Laurie Feldman will direct The Marriage of Figaro after a concept by French Director Laurent Pelly, who is unable to travel to Santa Fe due to international travel restrictions and has therefore been following rehearsals and the progress of the production from France.

Bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee makes his company debut in the title role in The Marriage of Figaro and Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, replacing British baritone Ashley Riches who is unable to travel to Santa Fe due to international travel restrictions.

Baritone Lucas Meachem and soprano Sara Jakubiak replace French-Canadian baritone Etienne Dupuis and Australian soprano Nicole Car in the roles of Eugene Onegin and Tatyana in Eugene Onegin. The real-life husband and wife are unable to travel to Santa Fe due to international travel restrictions. They write, “We are saddened by the situation and wish wholeheartedly we could have been allowed to perform these special roles in such a special place.” 

Lastly, lighting designer Rick Fisher replaces London-based lighting designer Matt Haskins in Eugene Onegin; Haskins is unable to travel to Santa Fe due to international travel restrictions.

The Santa Fe Opera had 13 foreign artists contracted for the 2021 Season. After exploring every available avenue for maintaining the originally scheduled artists, the opera regrets that current travel restrictions have impacted these five individuals.

“I believe in people and art, not their nationalities,” Chief Artistic Officer David Lomelí said. “At the end we are all one of the same. Singers, artists, humans. Italian kids want to sing at The Met and Mexican kids dream of La Scala. Art is universal. With no borders.”

The company looks forward to future possibilities for welcoming each of the artists unable to travel to Santa Fe this season.

The Santa Fe Opera announced June 2 numerous updates to the 2021 Season including the latest in ticketing, casting and protocols for a safe reopening, plus nightly on-site simulcasts as part of the company’s 64th summer festival season. Those updates can be read here.

About the Artists

Stage director, coach and teacher Laurie Feldman works regularly with The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera and the Teatro Regio di Torino where she has acted as the Revival Director for numerous Laurent Pelly productions. Feldman also serves on the Faculty of the Atkins Young Artists Program of the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg. With the Santa Fe Opera she has served since 1989 as assistant director on various productions — most recently in 2013 for Pelly’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata.

Fast-rising bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee is a former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice singer (2015) last seen on the Santa Fe Opera stage as the First Soldier in Daniel Slater’s production of Salome and as Don Fernando in Stephen Wadsworth’s production of Fidelio conducted by Santa Fe Opera Music director Harry Bicket. Brownlee is from Mobile, Ala. 

Grammy® Award-winning baritone Lucas Meachem has been seen and heard on stages across the globe, including at the Santa Fe Opera in Billy Budd in 2008 and Don Giovanni in 2009. Opera Pulse has dubbed Lucas “a rock star of opera”. This season Lucas also appears at Festival Napa Valley, Los Angeles Opera, Teatro Real and The Metropolitan Opera. He’s a native of Raleigh, N.C.

2020 Opus Klassik Award winner Sara Jakubiak is a former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Singer (2007) whose career has now taken her around the world, having most recently triumphed in her Wiener Staatsoper debut as Elsa in “Lohengrin”.

“My time as an apprentice at Santa Fe was incredibly important to my development as an artist,” said Jakubiak who hails from Bay City, Mich. “I’m extremely happy I was available to sing in this new production of Eugene Onegin. I love the role of Tatyana, which makes this all the more meaningful.”

Lighting designer Rick Fisher has served as the lighting designer for more than 20 Santa Fe Opera productions including The Pearl Fishers (2019), Madame Butterfly (2018), The Daughter of the Regiment, Rigoletto and Salome (2015), and the world premiere of Theodore Morrison’s Oscar (2013). Other recent credits include Billy Elliott the musical in Tokyo, Man of La Mancha with the English National Opera, Benvenuto Cellini with the Monteverdi Soloists and West Side Story at the Edinburgh International Festival.

The 2021 Season

The Santa Fe Opera’s 2021 Season presents 30 performances of four operas including:

  • The world premiere of The Lord of Cries by John Corigliano and Mark Adamo directed by James Darrah;
  • The company premiere of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed and designed by Netia Jones; 
  • Laurent Pelly’s stylish new production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro; a new production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin directed by Alessandro Talevi;
  • A celebratory concert featuring soprano Angel Blue in her company debut with 2021 Season artists and The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra led by John Fiore; and
  • Two Apprentice Scenes performances.

The 64th Season celebrates the inclusion of works new to the world stage alongside audience favorites by Mozart and Tchaikovsky, and features some of opera’s most exciting talent. A variety of time periods and languages are represented, with pieces and perspectives dating from 1786 to 2021, sung in English, Italian and Russian.

The season is the second to be led by General Director Robert K. Meya, Artistic Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Harry Bicket, and perfectly fits the time-tested programming model pioneered by Santa Fe Opera founder John Crosby: a balanced and varied repertory of new, rarely performed and standard works portrayed in a new light.

The Santa Fe Opera has been working to bring this incredible art form to audiences since 1957 and will continue this work to expand opera’s reach to new and diverse audiences through contemporary works, world premieres and its Opera for All Voices initiative.

“The 2021 Season is a tribute to our unwavering optimism for the future of opera and the delight it can bring to viewers of all ages and backgrounds,” Meya said.

Visit The Santa Fe Opera here.