If there’s a better place than the Loretto Chapel in which to hear baroque music in Santa Fe, I don’t know it! And Santa Fe Pro Musica does it up right every year for the holidays with their annual Baroque Christmas concert. With a program that offers a thoughful European spectrum of composers, this is a selection of music that really puts the holiday spirit front and center in a uniquely evocative space.
The Loretto is an intimate setting, ornate in just the right way for music of this nature, and with candles burning on the altar of this quiet chapel, attending the concert is like walking back in time. Although the staircase at the Loretto is reputed to be miraculous, the seating at the Loretto is not, being notoriously hard-backed. Pro Musica has wisely chosen to program only an hour’s worth of music in order to ensure a transporting aural experience that doesn’t result in being transported to the chiropractor the next day.
Ably led by Thomas O’Connor and now beginning their 28th season, this group of musicians has grown in scope and quality with the passage of the years. While there are many distinguished chamber music ensembles in the U.S., Santa Fe Pro Musica bears the distinction of being one of the few chamber orchestras, a difference that results in the ability to access a different range of works with which to delight their audience.
The Baroque Christmas concert features works by J.S. Bach, Georg Friedrich Handel, Henry Purcell and Antonio Vivaldi, with an additional dollop of traditional carols thrown in for good measure. Works by these composers always have a special significance when period instruments are used, and the Pro Musica professionals skillfully demonstrate their ability in this regard as well. The vocal portion of this year’s concert features two guest sopranos, Kathryn Mueller and Melanie Germond.
Although the holidays are a busy time, there are more than enough opportunities to tune out the noise and tune into the serene rhythms of a simpler Christmas past. Performances take place on December 19-20 at 8pm; December 21-24 at 6pm and 8pm; and December 26-27 at 8pm. Tickets may be obtained at tickets.com