My First Opera

My First Opera

It was in the early 1980’s when I first attended the Santa Fe Opera, one of the most beautiful and most unique opera houses in the world. It is, perhaps, a side effect of coming of age during the 1960s that I can no longer remember exactly which opera I first saw, but the setting itself has always made an impression on me.

John Crosby, a musical genius from Manhattan (recently biographized by Santa Fe writer Craig Smith in A Vision of Voices: John Crosby and the Santa Fe Opera), had a dream of an outdoor summer opera company that would take advantage of the countless performers, musicians, conductors, and technicians who were annually idle when the Metropolitan Opera in New York City closed for the summer. He found the San Juan Ranch outside of Santa Fe and with his family was able to purchase what would become the location. He found the perfect acoustical setting and the rest is history.

 

santa-fe-opera-interior

What I remember most from my first opera was the setting.

The house is designed so the brilliantly dying light of the setting sun comes straight through the open but covered stage, a stunning backdrop for any opera.

Photo credit wikimedia commons

To the East, each evening, the image of the reddening Sangre de Cristo mountains attests to the appropriateness of their name. The otherworldly red of the foothills struck the Spanish settlers as evidence of the divine, the blood of Christ made manifest. It is these features that shelter the bowl of the opera house providing an appropriately awe-inspiring landscape upon which the fine arts of mankind can play themselves out. But I digress.

Book your room for any Opera showing now ~ receive a Split of Champagne & 2 slices of Opera cake to enjoy!

Since that first production, I try to see at least one opera per season, always the one recommended by Nancy Zeckendorf, my close friend and co-founding director of the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Nancy’s influence on me cannot be described. It was she who brought me onto the board of the opera in 1986, first to run the business fund drive, later as treasurer and chairman of the facilities committee.

Even still, I cannot remember my first opera’s name! It was a board-known fact that I never developed the deep understanding and knowledge of opera. Nevertheless, it was just as board-known that my enthusiasm and drive more than made up for my other shortcomings.

Besides, I was surrounded by people who knew everything about opera. My speech and drama background from college drove my interests more to the physical plant side of the performing arts, and therein lay the key to my interest in helping create Santa Fe’s finest and most versatile venue: the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Along with Bill and Nancy Zeckendorf, Patricia McFate, and Alexis Girard, the dream came true, a dream that is much more fitting to my strengths as a builder and developer (like Bill).

The Lensic offers such a variety of programming. To name a few: the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, the Lannan and Santa Fe Institute lecture series, the New Mexico Jazz Festival, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Met Live, and Performance Santa Fe. All valuable cultural institutions, all as worthwhile as the opera, and all of which I’ve attended.

As for opera, I have seen dozens since that first one now forgotten, and I’ve always been impressed and had a wonderful evening. And what it’s taught me is how communal and convivial an outing it is—before, during, and after. Operagoers—regulars and first-timers—typically turn a night at the opera into a nightlong experience, with drinks or dinner beforehand (the opening night tailgate at the Santa Fe Opera is legendary), food and libations at intermission (though moderately), or dinner and/or drinks afterward.

Which is why I heartily recommend our own Agoyo Lounge as the perfect complement—to the opera or any of the many other cultural events going on throughout Santa Fe. Come in for an early dinner (starting at 5:30–please call for reservations) or an aperitif beforehand, or if it’s a shorter performance, come by for a late dinner or digestif.

Whatever your taste in the arts, the tastes at the Agoyo are unsurpassed and you will always be pleased, just as I have at the many operas I have attended. I just wish I could remember that first one. No matter. What I do remember vividly is the first time I watched lightning and giant black rainstorms rolling into town past the SFO stage, which now, like the entire audience, is fortunately covered from the elements.

Book your room for any Opera showing now ~ receive a Split of Champagne & 2 slices of Opera cake to enjoy!

Top 4 Summer Festivals in Santa Fe

Top 4 Summer Festivals in Santa Fe

When planning a summer visit to Northern New Mexico, be sure to check out Santa Fe’s roster of art and culture festivals. The summer months bring a wide variety of festivals and activities to Santa Fe. If you want to experience the true flavor of this historic and colorful city, we recommend including one of these outstanding festivals with your visit:

International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe, July 13-15

Folk-Art

Santa Fe’s art markets are a unique opportunity to meet and mingle with artists and fellow art lovers beyond the city’s famed galleries and museums. This event is the world’s largest exhibition and sale by master folk artists, with close to 200 different artists from 53 countries. The festival offers a chance to view and purchase unique folk art from around the world while you enjoy international food, live music and art demonstrations. Artists earn an estimated $25 million at the market, which helps support their craft and communities. The International Folk Art Alliance produces the event and has expanded over the years to support artists and their communities around the world. The Alliance partners with local and international organizations, including UNESCO and the World Craft Council.

The 67th Annual Traditional Spanish Market, July 28-29

Pottery

Each year in late July, Santa Fe welcomes hundreds of artists from New Mexico and Colorado to celebrate their unique work. Santa Fe’s annual Spanish Market is a celebration of Spanish Colonial artists who use traditional practices to create stunning woodwork, tinwork, straw appliqué and ironwork as well as pottery, jewelry, painting and hand-crafted furniture. Many of these artisanal styles date back 400 years. The Spanish Colonial Arts Society sponsors this event each year as a celebration of Santa Fe’s unique colonial history with its Spanish and Catholic influences. Enjoy live music and performances in Santa Fe’s historic plaza and a special Market Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Food vendors will serve up international flavors, and the event offers art demonstrations and historical talks as well. Don’t miss the Friday night preview at Museo Cultural to view the best of the best and meet with artists before the sale starts Saturday and Sunday.

Santa Fe Indian Market, August 18-19

Santa-Fe-Indian-Market

This celebration of Native arts attracts art collectors from all over the world. That’s not a surprise, considering this is the largest and oldest juried Native American art showcase in the world. The event features 900 artists from more than 200 tribes in the U.S. and Canada. The Indian Market originated as part of Fiesta de Santa Fe but has expanded into its own festival. The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), a non-profit organization that promotes Native art and artists, arranges the event every year and the market continues to grow. Market-goers can meet artists and experience contemporary Native art and culture first-hand. You’ll find pottery, painting, sculpture, jewelry, basketry, textile weaving, beadwork and other contemporary and traditional art. The art market takes place on Santa Fe’s historic plaza and adjacent streets, where artists set up their wares and sell directly to the public.

Fiesta de Santa Fe, September 1-10

zozobra (2)

Founded in 1609, Santa Fe is older than the United States—in fact, it’s the oldest capital city in the country. Fiesta de Santa Fe is the city’s annual celebration of that history and the region’s many influences, including Native, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo cultures. This colorful celebration centers around a re-enactment of General Don Diego de Vargas’s peaceful re-conquest of the capital city in 1692. It features a parade for kids and a mix of religious celebrations, art, music, food and cultural events. One of the Fiesta’s most famous activities is the burning of “Zozobra” or “Old Man Gloom,” a 50-foot marionette that symbolizes the hardships and despair of the previous year. This annual celebration has been going on for no less than 300 years. Each year it’s produced by the hard work of the all-volunteer Santa Fe Fiesta Council with support from local businesses and civic organizations.

To get a true feel for the history and culture of Northern New Mexico, we highly recommend including a visit to one of Santa Fe’s colorful festivals on your trip to Inn on the Alameda.

To learn more about Santa Fe, or for help planning your trip to Santa Fe, visit our website.

A City of Superlatives

A CITY OF SUPERLATIVES Santa Feans will gladly tell you the many superlatives that define the city. The oldest. The highest. The best. While there’s no denying the city’s altitude, the veracity of the best is up to you because when it comes to oldest,...

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¡Olé!

¡Olé!

Here in the Southwest region of the United States, we are blessed with a favorable climate, with generous sunshine and a rich cultural tradition of food, music, and dance. Flamenco is an especially vibrant form of dance – originally a product of the Andaluz region of Spain and popular here in Santa Fe. Flamenco has been in existence since the 16th century, but remains fresh and contemporary. This expressive art form involves guitars, percussion, and wildly colorful costumes. The dancing and music are vibrant, and emotionally stirring, and draw their influences from multinational roots: Arabs, Roma, Jews, and Moors.

While it’s easy to be swept up in the pageantry and color of the music and the athleticism of the dancing, flamenco also includes a rich storytelling element. The singing is as powerful as the instrument accompaniment – while also bringing a wistful element.

Santa Fe boasts multiple options for first-quality flamenco performances. Two renowned flamenco companies perform during the summer in Santa Fe.

Juan Siddi Flamenco Company performs at the Maria Benitez Cabaret Theater at The Lodge in Santa Fe with special guests Nevarez and Jose Encinias www.arteflamencosociety.org.

Performance dates are Wednesdays – Sundays; July 13 – August 26, 2018

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Another fantastic summer of flamenco performances at the Benitez Cabaret is set to begin in July as we welcome the inaugural season of EmiArteFlamenco in special collaboration with the National Institute of Flamenco!

This thrilling and passionate season features La Emi with special guests Nevarez y Jose Encinias, acclaimed guitarist Chuscales, and singers Jose Fernandez and Vicente Griego.

flamenco-couple

Tickets cost $20-$50 and can be purchased now through The Lensic Box Office at TicketsSantaFe.org or 505.988.1234. Group discounts (5 tickets or more) are available. Tickets will also be available at the door after 6:30 p.m.; doors open at 7:15 p.m. with shows starting at 8 p.m.

A second option is the Antonio Granjero and Entre Flamenco Company, https://www.entreflamenco.com. Individual ticket prices for each company are modestly priced, and range from $25 to $55. Ole!

After the show, the Inn on the Alameda provides the ideal atmosphere for winding down and relaxing with a light meal or after dinner drink. The Agogo Lounge serves from 5-9:30 pm daily. Our Southwest-appointed rooms reflect the rich culture of the region, while providing upscale amenities and a private balcony or patio for each room or suite. Located just two blocks from the Santa Fe plaza, the Inn on the Alameda is steps away from the best that Santa Fe offers.

For more information about the many entertainment options or our comfortable accommodations, check out our website or give us a call today.

Joe and Mike’s Blog: El Ranch de las Golandrinas or Ranch of the Swallows

rancho de los golondrinasThis beautiful rural and rustic museum to the south of Santa Fe is a wonderful experience for the whole family. Anyone interested in livestock, farming, culture and living conditions during the early Southwest’s history will find this restored one-time caravanserai (from the Persian kārvānsarā, or Resting Place of Caravans), an accurate depiction of what historical life was like at this ranch. This camping or resting place, built in 1710 by Miguel Vega de Coca, was located just one final day’s journey from Santa Fe on the famous El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (The Royal Road to the Interior Land) – the original route from Mexico City to San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico. This is where our story about Rancho Los Golondrinas must begin.

In an earlier blog about New Mexico Statehood, I described the establishment of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro by the Spanish Conquistador, Onate, who traveled north in the last years of the 16th Century from Mexico City to the interior lands. He and his small group of settlers followed ancient Native American trade routes towards present day New Mexico to colonize the unexplored land north of the Rio Bravo (present day Rio Grande River). Over the 2 centuries that followed, until the opening of the Santa Fe Trail from Missouri in the early 19th Century, El Camino Real was the sole trade and military route to the new Province of Nuevo Mexico. The route began in Mexico City, passing through the Mexican mining towns of Zacatecas and Durango up to El Paso, and finally Santa Fe.

cottonwoods at golondrinasImagine the excitement of finally nearing Santa Fe – your final destination following a 6-month difficult, dusty and certainly uncomfortable trip! Here, one day away, was a place with water, feed for stock, food for weary travelers, and a place to bathe and pull out and clean your best clothes for your arrival the next day at the capital city of Santa Fe. Rancho Los Golondrinas was a true traveler’s paradise set among the cool cottonwoods of Caja del Rio.

If it were not for the Curtin-Paloheimo family, there would be no museum. This was the far sighted family which, in the 1930’s, bought the ranch with a preservationist’s vision. As part of that vision, The Museum was created to reconstruct and recreate what life was like in the 1700’s on a colonial Spanish ranch. Comparing it to its more famous cousin of Colonial Williamsburg is interesting. While both are “living museums,” I naturally preferred the relaxed Southwestern style of Los Golondrinas that embodies New Mexico. The historical recreation is done with more familiarity and approachability, and offers an informal view towards the past. The tradition of preservation continues today under the auspices of the Los Golandinas Foundation.

ElCaminoRealTierraMany activities and exhibits embody the feel and look of the early New Mexico years, including: the restored acequias (irrigation ditches), the small flocks of sheep and their shepherds, the flour and corn grinding mills, the stables and outbuildings, barns and corals, original clothing and other activities of the early Spanish settlers. Be sure and visit the Museum during its annual Spring or Fall Festivals for the best experience. Canyon Road, near the Inn, shares the distinction of both the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro and Camino del Canon (Canyon Road) being originally Native American trails that the Spanish turned into their own routes.

While in the neighborhood, please stop in and spend the night refreshing yourself from your journeys at the peaceful and relaxing Inn on the Alameda, nestled in a beautiful, cottonwood-lined setting. No matter what time of year it is, a stay at the Inn is always a treasured experience – winter, spring, summer and fall.

 

 

-Joe and Michael Schepps

Mike and Joe

Spanish Market Santa Fe

For lovers of art and heritage, the upcoming weekend promises many delights, as the 61st annual Santa Fe Spanish Market swings into the Plaza. With 183 artists in the Market, and an additional 52 youth artists exhibiting their work, this is an artistic and familial legacy that continues to grow in size and quality.

Spanish Market on the Santa Fe Plaza

Taking place on the historic Plaza, on Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29, from 8:30 am to 5 pm, the Market offers something for everyone, from straw applique to retablos to engraving to weaving and calaveras, too. If we’re lucky, we might even see some of that beautiful and increasingly rare colcha embroidery!

Calaveras con Corazon

And if your taste runs more to the cutting edge, the Contemporary Hispanic Market runs concurrently, spread along both sides of Lincoln Avenue, with 134 booths of art and artistry to peruse or purchase.

There will be food, of course, since it’s Santa Fe, and among other tasty events, there’s a cooking class with John Vollertsen, “Spanish Influence on New Mexico’s Norteno Cooking,” at Las Cosas on July 26 at 10 am.  And if you just can’t make time for that class, don’t forget that the Inn offers a Muy Sabrosa Cooking Experience with the experts from the Santa Fe School of Cooking, soon to be fully ensconced in their new location.

La Comida Muy Sabrosa!

Also on July 26, John Schaefer lectures on “Collecting Spanish Colonial Art” at Peyton Wright Gallery at 4:30 pm. On Friday July 27, at 9:30 am, Patina Gallery hosts a breakfast reception and lecture on the work of Enric Majoral.  On Friday evening, a Market Preview opens at the Santa Fe Convention Center at 7 pm.

Listen for “la musica,” not only during the Saturday-Sunday Market itself. On Thursday, July 26, the Santa Fe Bandstand series gets into the act with homegrown favorites, Andy Primm and Alex Maryol, performing on the Plaza from 6 to 9 pm. Performances by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival take place in St. Francis Auditorium on Thursday, July 26 at noon and 6 pm, Friday, July 27 at 6 pm, Saturday, July 27 at 6 pm, and Sunday, July 28 at 5 pm. The Santa Fe Desert Chorale offers a concert, “Celebrating the Centenery,” at 8 pm on Saturday, July 28 at the New Mexico History Museum.  The Santa Fe Opera serves up Giaochino Rossini’s Maometto II on Friday the 27th at 8:30 pm, and on Saturday the 28th, also at 8:30 pm, the premiere of Richard Strauss’ Arabella rounds out the season’s repertoire.

It looks like it will be a great weekend…will we see you there?

Las Posadas: A Santa Fe Holiday Tradition

The holiday tradition of Las Posadas takes place on Sunday, December 11, at 5:30pm at the Palace of the Governors

So much of the holiday season seems so familiar and so relentlessly repetitive, and once-only experiences are becoming a rarity. That’s one of the reasons that Santa Fe loves Christmas Eve and the annual farolito display, a quietly moving spectacle that those who have come to the City Different over the holidays have no doubt seen.

Farolitos Light the Way

Less well-known, however, is the unique tradition known as Las Posadas, also a one-night-only event. A re-enactment of the Holy Family’s search for lodging, this annual holiday happening takes place each year in and around the historic Santa Fe Plaza. While the Plaza hardly looks Biblical, having already been lit with holiday lights and a Christmas tree, and the staging includes some details not found in the usual account, the story nonetheless comes to life in a very local way.

The Santa Fe Plaza Dressed in Snow

Originating in Spain as a religious observation, Las Poasadas is actually a novena, a nine-day event, occurring from December 16 through December 24. Although celebrations of Las Posadas are not uncommon in Northern New Mexico towns, places deeply rooted in the Spanish Catholic tradition, the one-night Plaza re-enactment grew out of a 1970’s era neighborhood campaign against development that sparked an annual celebration, which subsequently outgrew its original San Antonio Street location and moved to the Plaza.

Costumed participants portray the mortals who, in the biblical account, refuse lodging to a humble young pregnant woman and her carpenter-fiancé. As the couple circumnavigate the Plaza from the Palace of the Governors (the oldest government building in the U.S.), seeking rest and shelter, they stop on each corner to seek lodging and comfort, finding instead denial and disappointment.

Taking Off Winter’s Chill by a Luminaria at the Palace of the Governors

The devil, who ridicules and taunts the seekers from perches on the portals on the Plaza, is in turn treated to the boos and hisses of  the assembled crowd, their faces illuminated by candle light. The supernatural power possessed by the devil purportedly allows him to magically appear at each of the Plaza locations designated as the “inns” where the couple tries to obtain a warm and dry spot in which to shelter. Four mortals portray the tormenting demon, crawling out of second-floor windows to discourage the weary travelers.

After numerous refusals stating that there was no room at “the inn,” thanks to the appearance of an angel who blesses the crowd and provides guidance, the couple and their entourage finally find respite from the chilly night in the courtyard of the Palace of the Governors for the denouement of this holiday event. Once inside the courtyard, the procession warms up with hot cider, cookies, and a round of Christmas carols.

Sound interesting? It is! Just be sure to bundle up, since the winter Santa Fe weather has definitely arrived, and it’s nothing like Bethlehem temperatures. This year, Las Posadas takes place on Sunday, December 11, 2011, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Please note that the New Mexico Museum of History will close early at 3:00 p.m. to prepare for and accommodate this holiday tradition.

The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie dePaola

And if you cannot attend, you can still create a special holiday reading tradition, thanks to noted author/illustrator, Tomie dePaolo, proof that an unusual event like this is indeed inspirational!

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