International Opera Awards honors Santa Fe Opera with huge win

Santa Fe Opera wins international recognition as ‘Festival of the Year’

The Santa Fe Opera named “Festival of the Year” by the International Opera Awards. (Courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera)

bright spotThe Santa Fe Opera just won an international standing ovation.

The International Opera Awards named the artistic nucleus just north of Santa Fe “Festival of the Year” at a ceremony in Madrid, Spain.

The award is known as the “Oscars of operas.”

The award punctuates a season that saw the arts emerging from a pandemic that shut it down performances at the distinctive venue.

“We are honored to be recognized at the International Opera Awards and wish to thank the distinguished jury, awards founder Harry Hyman and event sponsor Mazars,” said Robert K. Meya, general director. “In spite of the challenges of the pandemic and geopolitical turmoil collectively faced this year, art continues to find a way to unite us all,” he continued.

In 2022, the opera offered a program that included “M. Butterfly,” “Tristan and Isolde,” “Carmen,” “Falstaff” and “The Barber of Seville.”

“The Barber of Seville” set at the Santa Fe Opera. (Courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera)

Jurors nominated Santa Fe, which annually draws about 85,000 attendees, with the Donizetti Festival in Bergamo, Italy; the Garsington Opera in England; Romania’s George Enescu Festival; Oper Leipzig Wagner 22 in Germany and the Savonlinna Festival in Finland.

Industry professionals, headed by Opera magazine editor John Allison, judge the awards. Opera magazine is considered a key source of opera news worldwide.

Santa Fe also was nominated in the world premiere category for its production of “M. Butterfly” by Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang, based on Hwang’s Tony Award-winning play of the same name. Hwang and Ruo transformed the play into an operatic libretto, including arias, duets and choruses, adding key material from Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly.”

“M. Butterfly” director James Robinson and “The Barber of Seville” conductor Iván López-Reynoso were nominees in the director and rising talent categories.

Kangmin Justin Kim (Song Liling) in “M. Butterfly.” (Courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera)

The Santa Fe Opera recently confirmed its second-best year of ticket sales in history.

“My colleagues and I are so inspired by the work of peer companies, the talented artists and our dedicated patrons,” Meya said. “We will continue to explore and innovate within the art form and enrich the lives of as many people as possible in New Mexico and across the globe.”

Meya is the opera’s fourth general director since its 1956 founding and has led it since 2018.

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