The Santa Fe Opera is marrying the old and the new in its 2013 season, with the world premiere of a new opera and the first Santa Fe production of another, combined with revivals of some popular chestnuts and special anniversary performances.
“Finding the right mix of repertory is our challenge every year,” General Director Charles MacKay said in a news release. “With a world premiere, a new production of a rare Rossini masterpiece, a comedy, classic Mozart and a beloved opera by Verdi, Santa Fe offers operas for the adventurous and the neophyte.
“To be sure, beautiful music abounds,” he concluded.
The world premiere is “Oscar,” which depicts Irish poet, author and wit Oscar Wilde looking back on his life during his imprisonment, essentially for charges related to his homosexual activities. The opera, co-commissioned and co-produced by the Santa Fe Opera and the Opera Company of Philadelphia, features David Daniels as Wilde.
It was composed by Theodore Morrison, with a libretto by him and John Cox.
Also, for the first time, the opera will offer performances of Rossini’s “La Donna del Lago,” based on “The Lady of the Lake” by Sir Walter Scott, which tells of a young woman engaged to marry one man, but in love with another. Joyce DiDonato sings the title role. In Santa Fe, she played Cinderella in Massanet’s opera in 2006.
Tales of star-crossed love continue in a revival of the 2009 production of Verdi’s “La Traviata,” in which her reputation as a courtesan and unfounded jealousy divide Violetta from her lover Alfredo. Brenda Rae debuts as Violetta and Michael Fabiano, a former apprentice, portrays Alfredo.
The other revival is the 2008 production of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” a comic opera in which Dr. Bartolo tries – ultimately unsuccessfully – to thwart Figaro’s plans to marry Susanna. The role of Figaro has not been announced yet, but Lisette Oropesa will play Susanna.
The season opener on June 28, 2013, will be Offenbach’s “The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein,” a comedy that hasn’t been performed by the Santa Fe Opera in 34 years. Susan Graham plays the duchess, her first time in that role. Once again, thwarted love is the theme, with the tyrannical duchess betrothed to one man, only to fall in love with a soldier but plot to have him assassinated when he weds another, then falls for a baron, only to discover he has a wife and children.
“La Traviata” is being revived partly to honor the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth. A special concert of works by Richard Wagner and Benjamin Britten is scheduled in honor of the 200th and 100th anniversary, respectively, of their births. Another “Stravinsky Commemoration” on Aug. 18, 2013, will recreate a concert that artist conducted himself in Santa Fe 50 years ago on that date.
A children’s opera, “Noah’s Flood,” will also honor the anniversary of Britten’s birth.
Tickets for 2013 season operas will be available for purchase, beginning June 29. Call 505-986-5900 or 800-280-4654, or visit the box office at the Opera. Online sales begin in September.