As the days grow longer, the brilliant blue skies are laced with clouds, and the sunsets grow more dramatic. This means summer is here, and there’s more to do in the City Different! We know that one of the things visitors enjoy most about our unique little city is the relaxed pace of life, the feeling that whatever does not get accomplished today can always wait until manana. Santa Fe embodies a lifestyle that allows one to thrill to glowing skyscapes and enjoy morning strolls in the cool morning weather…..but as summer arrives, so does the diverse musical scene for which the city is known. Here are a few ideas of how to create a aurally awesome vacation!
The Santa Fe Opera
Renowned for good reason, this outdoor theater brings great music and theater to life in Santa Fe from July 1 through August 27 this year. A mixture of classics and premieres guarantees that there will be something from the opera repertoire for everyone to enjoy at the beautiful Crosby Theatre. Chief conductor Fredric Chaslin opens the Santa Fe Opera season on July 1, with a new production of Charles Gounod’s Faust, and Giacomo Puccini’s perennially popular La Boheme opens on July 2. Renowned director Peter Sellars comes back to Santa Fe to direct the first American staging of Antonio Vivaldi’s Griselda, and audiences will be entertained with a new production of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s grand opera buffa The Last Savage. Completing the schedule will be Alban Berg’s Wozzeck,returning to the Santa Fe Opera stage for the first time since 2001. For guests without a vehicle, the Opera shuttle will pick guests up at the Inn and return them after the performance (reservations required with a credit card). The Opera Guild hosts a buffet dinner before the performances (again, reservations are required), with an entertaining lecture to prepare for the ensuing performance, and those who prefer the casual nature of tailgating can reserve a picnic to pick up right at the Opera grounds. Daily backstage tours take place Monday through Saturday (a mere $5 Monday-Friday and free on Saturday) until August 27 and depart from the Box Office at 9 a.m. And when the Opera brings down its curtain at the end of August, the stage belongs to the one and only Willie Nelson, appearing there in concert for one night only, September 17.
The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
Now in its 38th season, the Santa Fe Chamber Music presents a roster rich with concerts of depth and intimacy each week from July through August. These are performed in the Lensic Performing Arts Center and the St. Francis Auditorium. The inspired artistic leadership of composer/pianist Marc Neikrug brings both distinguished musicians and emerging young talents to the City Different during the 6-week Santa Fe season. The Composer-in-Residence program, inaugurated in 1976, encourages a free flow of communication among composers, musicians, and audiences through premieres of commissioned works and concert performances of a composer’s other works. In 2010, the Festival also inaugurated an exciting new Artist-in-Residence program to showcase the special talents of specific artists, and this year’s honored guest artist is the fantastic soprano, Dawn Upshaw, a familiar voice from her Santa Fe Opera performances in the past. By offering open rehersals, the Festival provides a wonderful opportunity to see how a particular performance takes shape before it is presented to the concert-going public. Many performers return year after year, and local favorites like the Orion String Quartet and pianist Ceclie Licad will be on the stage again this summer. That Santa Fe music fans truly value the Festival is evidenced by the many committed volunteers who spend their evenings ushering, pouring coffee or handing out tickets.
Summerscene on the Plaza
If a more casual musical scene is appealing, the ever-popular Santa Fe Bandstand concerts offer free mid-day and evening performances from early July through the middle of August, right downtown on the historic Santa Fe Plaza. Concerts take place Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6pm, and on Monday and Wednesday afternoons at noon. Local and national performers run the gamut of musical genres from Native American to world music, and you might even see some swing dancers strutting their stuff. You can bring a lawn chair or a blanket, with your own picnic or with food from vendors on and around the Plaza area. Music-loving locals will be out in force, and this is a great time to see the range of residents, young and old, all drawn to the City Different for different reasons.
Music on the Hill at St. John’s College
Yet another popular outdoor musical experience is the St. John’s College Wednesday evening music series, running from early June into July, with a 6pm concert time. Experience suggests an early arrival since parking is minimal, although Santa Fe Rapid Transit will run shuttles from Museum Hill every 15 minutes from 5-9pm. Walter Burke Catering will be selling food, but you can also just bring your own picnic!
The Lensic Performing Arts Center
And let’s not forget the Lensic! As if we could…Santa Fe is so grateful for the panoply of events that take place in our beautifully restored Performing Arts Center. In between chamber music concerts and readings, individual performers and groups will hold sway throughout the summer, with the New Mexico Jazz Festival and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale appearing in July and the Santa Fe Concert Association celebrating its 75th anniversary season with a gala concert in August.
Music lovers love Santa Fe, and we love to have them enjoy with us the many melodies made here! Feel free to call us here at the Inn for more information about events this summer; it’s our pleasure to help you make sweet music out of a Santa Fe vacation!