Premiering a new opera takes years of work, from the inception to producing it on stage.
Last season, it premiered “The Lord of Cries” – its 17th premiere – on July 17, 2021 and it ran for six performances.
The opera allowed the TV series “Â¡Colores!” to chronicle its journey.
The series will air the one-hour special, “Creating a World Premiere at the Santa Fe Opera,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12 on New Mexico PBS, channel 5.1. It will also stream on the PBS Video app.
“The show really brings the audience in for the behind-the-scenes look,” says Michael Kamins, executive producer. “We got the concept refined last year and worked until opening night in July. It was about six months of work on our end.”
Kamins says viewers not only get a special look at the opera but hear from Santa Fe Opera General Director Robert K. Meya, composer John Corigliano, librettist Mark Adamo, director James Darrah, costume designer Chrisi Karvonides-Dushenko, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, soprano Susanna Phillips, Santa Fe Opera production director Chelsea Antrim Dennis, conductor Johannes Debus and other creative luminaries.
“The Lord of Cries” is based on the intriguing points of intersection between two classics of Western literature, “The Bacchae” of Euripides and “Dracula” by Bram Stoker.
Separated by 24 centuries, “The Bacchae” and “Dracula” tell virtually the same timeless story, with the same subversive message: We must honor our animal nature lest it turn monstrous and destroy us.
Kamins says the access that was granted was impressive.
“Being at the home of John and Mark and seeing them compose and write the opera was an incredible treat,” Kamins says. “They were in their process, and you’re pretty aware of the magic happening.”
Kamins says working with Emily Doyle Moore at the Santa Fe Opera was also an integral part of the process.
“Emily has that understanding of opera that is unparalleled,” Kamins says. “I’m a big believer in preproduction and figuring out a story. It helped amp up the filmmaking process.”
Meya says the Santa Fe Opera was excited to collaborate with New Mexico PBS.
“For over 60 years, the Santa Fe Opera has been committed to playing a significant role in New Mexico’s vibrant arts and culture landscape by presenting performances of the highest quality of new, rarely performed, and standard works,” Meya says. “Our special truly has something for everyone and we are grateful for this opportunity and the incredible partnership of NMPBS in telling our story. We are so excited to invite opera fans and newcomers behind the scenes at the Santa Fe Opera.”
Franz Joachim, NMPBS general manager and CEO says New Mexico PBS has presented the best of the Southwest’s arts, history, music and culture to the communities of New Mexico and the nation for over 60 years.
“While historically NMPBS and its award-winning Â¡Colores! series have told numerous stories highlighting the Santa Fe Opera, with this new primetime special, we have the luxury of focusing solely on one opera,” Joachim says. “We feel that exploring the myriad of creative elements that go into bringing a final production to an audience is the next step in a cultural progression.”
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