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The Santa Fe Desert Chorale

Susan Graham

Joseph Illick, Santa Fe Concert Association director

The sounds of music

Opera to choral music, chamber music to recitals, dance to jazz, there are treats for every taste A Santa Fe summer is a performing arts wonder. Both locals and visitors have several major milestones to look forward to in 2012. The Santa Fe Desert Chorale, first heard in 1983, celebrates its 30th season. The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, which began here in 1973, marks its 40th summer. The Santa Fe Opera presents five new productions, three of them company premieres. Several collaborations with the opera are set as well. Desert Chorale singers will join the SFO forces in Karol Szymanowski’s massive, mystical King Roger. The Santa Fe Concert Association presents three one-hour voice recitals by Santa Fe Opera stars, while the Chamber Music Festival features several SFO singers in concert. In other performances, SFCA presents two evenings of dance by soloists and principals of the New York City Ballet; Aspen Santa Fe Ballet brings its probing artistry back to its second home; and the New Mexico Jazz Festival again explores “America’s music.” And of course, behind the public concerts are the people who cast the artistic spells for each group — music directors, managers and performers.

Way-better-than-OK Chorale The Desert Chorale “is celebrating all kinds of music for the 30th anniversary,” said music director Joshua Habermann. “We have four different programs, two with all … [24] singers and two with smaller ensembles, and one with an additional group of singers.” The first repertoire, From Bach to the Beatles (opens July 20), will feature works ranging from Bach’s first motet for a capella chorus to excerpts from a setting of the Russian Orthodox Vespers by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara. That ties in with the final concert of the season, a performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s

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powerful All-Night Vespers, set for Aug. 16. For that, an extra contingent of singers will be brought in to supplement the chorale’s regular members. The other repertoires, each with 12 singers, cover a great deal of ground. Celebrating the Centenary, which opens July 28 and salutes New Mexico’s 100 years of statehood, features three pieces by composers who embody the state’s ethnic diversity: Native American (Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate), Hispanic (Christian Grases) and Anglo (Robert Kier). Another, Dancing the Mystery, deals exclusively with Sufi poetry, especially that of Rumi. It opens July 24. Santa Fean and opera star Patricia Racette will give a benefit concert August 9 for SFDC that shows her jazz roots. “I feel really good about attracting audiences with this repertoire,” the Desert Chorale’s Habermann said. “We’ve definitely had an uptick in quality of singers over the last years, and it’s a great honor to be asked by the opera to be in King Roger.” (The Chorale also took the Santa Fe Opera stage in 1998 in Ingvar Lindholm’s A Dream Play.)

‘Pretty yummy stuff’ For SFO general director Charles MacKay, the 2012 season is a perfect hand of artistic cards. “I love the fact we have four of the biggest names in opera: Puccini, Bizet, Rossini, and Richard Strauss,” he said. “Then there’s the wild card of King Roger. It’s a beautiful piece — an extraordinary work with a very big chorus and orchestra. I’m so happy about the Desert Chorale joining us.” The opera’s 2012 opening night (June 29) is splashy, with Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca mounted for the first time since 1984. Georges Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, famous for the tenor-baritone duet “Au fond du temple saint,” receives its Santa Fe premiere the following night, June 30. Rossini’s big-themed Maometto II (opens July 14), the Szymanowski (opens July 21), and Richard Strauss’

Arabella (opens July 28) round out the season. As always, the singers will cover the waterfront from the apprentice artists to international newcomers and major stars. “It’s an important part of a company’s mission to showcase emerging artists on the international scene and, at the same time, to showcase American artists who are showing great promise and also feature established artists,” MacKay explained. “We create an eclectic mix of talent. “It’s exciting when we have an opportunity to present an artist doing a role for the first time in the U.S.” he added, instancing Thomas Hampson. The baritone sang Malatesta in Don Pasquale for SFO in 1983 and has gone on to become a world-famous operatic personality. His Scarpia in Tosca marks the first time he has sung that villainous role in the U.S. MacKay described Maometto II as “a pivotal work in the bel canto repertoire,” written when Rossini was 28; SFO is using a new, critical edition of the problematic, multi-version piece. As for Arabella, “I think there are two things that people have said to me since I returned,” he said. “ ‘When are we going to have some more Strauss?’ is one. And ‘Please, please, please, can the operas be any earlier?’ This summer everything is moved back, a half hour earlier, to 8:30 or 8 p.m.” In addition to the mainstage productions, MacKay pointed out that the popular Apprentice Artists concerts will return and that there will be a special gala on August 4. The host is world-famous mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, a frequent Santa Fe visitor. “It’s going to be absolutely spectacular; we’re having such fun putting the program together,” he said. “Susan is plotting and planning. It’s going to be like a fantasy night of what opera singers would like to do if they could just have a good time. Basically, it’s a concert with orchestra, with a lot of serious music on the program from Mozart

Profile for The New Mexican

Bienvenidos 2012 Summer Guide to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico  

Bienvenidos 2012 Summer Guide to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico

Bienvenidos 2012 Summer Guide to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico  

Bienvenidos 2012 Summer Guide to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico