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Santa Fe Opera unveils program for 2017 season

The Santa Fe Opera announced its 2017 season. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

The Santa Fe Opera announced its 2017 season. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE – The Santa Fe Opera’s 2017 season will include operas spanning 300 years, including three premieres for the company, one of them a world premiere, according to general manager Charles MacKay.

As previously announced, the world premiere is “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” by composer Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell. Commissioned by the Santa Fe Opera, the production will star baritone Edward Parks as Jobs, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke as his wife, bass Wei Wu as his spiritual adviser, and tenor Garrett Sorenson as Woz, his friend and business partner.

Kevin Newbury, stage director for that production, said the design, music and artistry of the production will all be on the cutting edge of technology.

In a video shown during the news conference announcing the season Wednesday, Campbell commented, “If we want to bring younger people into the opera house, a composer like Mason Bates is one who will do it.”

Also new for the company will be “Alcina,” which MacKay said “is considered to be one of (George Frideric) Handel’s greatest works,” and “The Golden Cockerel” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, which will be a co-production with the Dallas Opera. One of the singers in that latter piece, Russian soprano Venera Gimadieva, will be making her U.S. stage debut, MacKay said.

Last performed by the Santa Fe Opera in 2001, the bel canto opera “Lucia di Lammermoor” will join the lineup, which will open in 2017 with “Die Fledermaus” by Johann Strauss Jr.

MacKay said “Die Fledermaus,” last performed by the company in 1992, is in the top 10 for the number of performances it has had in Santa Fe, with 56 performances over 60 years.

The most-performed opera in the company’s six decades, he said, is “Marriage of Figaro,” with 111.

Tickets for the 2017 season, which runs June 30 through Aug. 26, were set to go on sale through telephone or in person at the box office with Wednesday’s announcement, the earliest the Santa Fe Opera has made tickets available for a season, MacKay said.

The SFO is in the middle of a three-stage expansion and renovation effort, originally estimated to cost $35 million, but that figure has increased to $45 million. At this point, only about $5 million more is needed to meet that goal, said Charles Moore, co-chairman of the fundraising campaign.

Projects that will be completed by the time this summer’s season begins include remodeled production support spaces, an enlarged wing at stage left, a new space dedicated to painting stage sets and other objects, a new scene shop, expanded and upgraded audio-visual and lighting facilities, and a new lounge for opera patrons.

Overall, restroom capacity has been boosted by 50 percent, said Paul Horpedahl, director of production and facilities.

The final phase of the capital improvements, scheduled after this summer’s season, will involve parking lot improvements and additional off-site space for storage, he said.