on July 31, 2000
Puccini didn’t write your favorite tunes? Get over it. The Santa Fe Opera is such a spectacle that even if opera is not your style, you should not miss a chance to go. Let’s start with the setting. The opera house sits on a hilltop north of Santa Fe. Until recently, there was a partial roof over the theater so you could watch the stars move overhead during the production. The fact that the opera season coincides with the monsoon season, made them rethink the design. The opera now has a complete roof, but still no sides. The surrounding hills are covered in pine forests and the night sky is filled with stars. I’ve seen productions where the only backdrop is the trees and the stars. Most of the time, the settings are elaborate, the costumes fabulous and the singing divine. Everyone goes to the opera here. One year, I had to inch my way past Beverly Sills to get to my seat. They do five or six productions a season (late June through August) some traditional, some modern, and often there’s a world premier of a new opera. Clothes? Don’t worry. This is Santa Fe and anything goes. I’ve seen everything from tuxedos to jeans (usually worn with an ostentatious amount of silver and turquoise jewelry) to shorts, which I wouldn’t recommend. Remember this is outdoors, and 7000’ at night gets chilly, even in August. We usually seek out an intermission warm-up at the bar – coffee and brandy. The opera can be pricey, tickets for opening night run about $200 though you can find bargains like rehearsals or standing room at evening performances that can run as low as $10 for the same music the high-rollers are hearing.
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