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December is also a month of operas for ABQ, SF, Roswell

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Santa Fe Opera’s popular holiday concerts, “Arias, Carols and Songs,” return to Roswell, Santa Fe and Albuquerque this month.

Soprano Mary-Jane Lee and tenor Matthew Grills, both former apprentices, will perform a program of classical and sacred works as well as music of the season. They will be joined by flutist Valerie Potter and members of Young Voices, the Opera’s program for high school students.

Baritone Alex Harden, who has been a member of Young Voices for the past three years, will sing the hymn “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need.” He is from Tijeras. Kirt Pavitt is the pianist for all three performances.

The Roswell performance will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at 7 at the Anderson Museum.

The Santa Fe performance is scheduled at 6 p.m. Dec. 13 at Cristo Rey Catholic Church.

The Albuquerque concert will be at 3 p.m. Dec. 16 will take place in Simms Auditorium on the campus of the Albuquerque Academy, 6400 Wyoming NE.

The concerts are free and everyone is welcome. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and the doors open half an hour before each performance.


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Lee was a Santa Fe Opera apprentice in 2011 and 2012. She received her bachelor’s degree from Utah State University and a master’s degree in music from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. She has performed Roselinda in “Die Fledermaus” with Wichita Grand Opera and the Countess in “The Marriage of Figaro” and Musetta in “La Boheme” with the Aspen Opera Theatre Center.

Grills, an apprentice last summer, was a winner of the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He holds a master’s degree in music from the Eastman School of Music. A first-year resident artist with the Portland Opera, he sings Goffredo in “Rinaldo” and Spoletta in “Tosca” during the company’s current season. In April he gives a recital in the Terrace Theatre at the Kennedy Center presented by Vocal Arts D.C. and The Washington Performing Arts Society. Additionally, he makes his San Francisco Opera debut next summer as Nathaniel in “The Tales of Hoffmann.”

Pavitt has distinguished himself as soloist, accompanist and musical collaborator. He has played for many of America’s finest singers and instrumentalists and has performed in London’s Wigmore Hall, Avery Fisher and Alice Tully Halls in New York, plus numerous cities throughout America and Europe.

He has served as pianist and music director in the Education Department at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and his long-time affiliation with The Santa Fe Opera culminated in a full-time appointment as music associate in 2002.

Potter is an associate professor of flute at the University of New Mexico. She served as the principal flutist with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra from 1993 to 2011 and currently holds the same position with the New Mexico Philharmonic. She has performed with orchestras throughout the United States, including the Cincinnati Symphony, Detroit Symphony and San Francisco Symphony, and has played in The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra on numerous occasions.