The Back Deck

The Santa Fe Opera like you've never seen it before

Ask the Artist: Brenda Rae

Do you have any hidden talents? I can chirp like a cricket…

One food you could eat every day for the rest of your life. Mexican food. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Santa Fe? 

What was your first job growing up? Lifeguard/basket-taker in the pool’s locker room. To be honest, I spent much more time in the locker room, which I was really bitter about as a 16 year old! 

What is your most memorable Halloween costume? In first grade my mom made me a raccoon costume complete with long fake black nails, and I was so excited to wear it to school. But little Brenda had a really hard time figuring out how to pick up a pencil with those long nails… 

What are your musical guilty pleasures? I listen to a lot of music outside the realm of classical music, but don’t really feel guilty about it! I suppose I do have a rather strange fondness for nerdy pop songs, such as… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urNyg1ftMIU

What was the first role you performed on a professional stage? If you count when I was a young artist at Central City Opera, it was one of the Young Trees in Britten’s Paul Bunyan, but as an actual professional, it was Pamina in Oper Frankfurt’s Die Zauberflöte

What is the most ridiculous thing/event you have done for opera? I had a costume fitting at a fetish shop in London! 

What is your favorite role to sing and why? I actually have a really hard time picking favorites, because there are SO many great roles out there, but I have to admit, Violetta from La Traviata is hard to beat. There’s so much variety in her music, and so much heart to her character. It’s emotionally exhausting (in a good way) and totally rewarding!! 

What role are you currently working on/studying (besides SFO’s)? I’m working on two roles, with very similar names, but quite different music! One is Aminta from Strauss’ Die schweigsame Frau, and the other is Amina from Bellini’s La Sonnambula

What one role do you dream of performing, regardless of voice type? I will probably never sing this role, but I love Madame Butterfly. It was the first opera I ever saw, and I’ve loved it ever since!

14 Romantic Arias and Duets for February 14

Valentine’s Day is chance to celebrate your nearest and dearest relationships.  What better way to do that than with a playlist of some of the most romantic arias and duets in opera?

Warning: This list is subjective and has probably omitted at least one of your favorites that you think should be included.  

1.     Un aura amorosa from Cosi fan tutte

In this aria, Ferrando sings poetically about his love for Dorabella being strong enough to satisfy any hunger. Listen to the masterful Pavarotti singing this aria in a recital with Mo. James Levine.   

2.     Depuis le jour from Louise

Louise describes how wonderful her life is now that she is with her love, Julien.  Charpentier composed a compelling melody that will tug at anyone’s heart-strings.  

3.     La dolcissima effigie from Adriana Lecouvreur

Maurizio meets Adriana before a show and confirms his everlasting love for her.  And let’s be honest, Jonas Kaufmann could sing the phone book and we’d swoon.   

4.     O soave fanciulla from La boheme

You can’t make a list like this and not include this beautiful duet from La boheme.  Love at first sight!  What a beautiful concept!    

5.      Liebestod (Mild und leise) from Tristan und Isolde

Isolde sees her dead lover, Tristan, in a dream.  She is so overcome by her visions that she lays next to him and dies.  Love and death all rolled into one neat package.  If that isn’t operatic, what is?  

6.     Dalla dua pace from Don Giovanni

Amidst the womanizing and trickery in Don Giovanni, this is a beautiful moment of devotion sung by Don Ottavio.  He declares his love for Donna Anna, connecting her happiness with his own. 

7.     Barcarolle (Belle nuit) from The Tales of Hoffman

The reason to add this duet is right there in the lyrics: “Beautiful night, night of love.”  This aria is perfect for an evening with your sweetie.  Cabellé and Horne knock this one out of the park.   

8.     Ah! Leve-toi, soleil from Romeo et Juiliette

Romeo sings of Juiliette while gazing at her sitting on the balcony.  Romeo and Valentine’s Day go together like chocolate and strawberries…or like Mac and Cheese.

9.     Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix from Samson et Dalila 

Regardless of the actual intention (Spoiler Alert: to distract and capture Samson) Dalila claims she will surrender herself to Samson if he would only fully yield to her love.   All’s fair in true love and war, folks. 

10.     Je crois entendre encore from The Pearl Fishers

If you were to look up “pining” in the dictionary, you would probably see a picture of Nadir.  Even after many years of separation, Nadir’s love for Leila has not diminished.  

11.     Bess, you is my woman now from Porgy and Bess

Amid the circumstances surrounding their relationship, Porgy and Bess confirm their love for each other in this beautiful tune.  

12.     Salut! demeure chaste et pure from Faust

Going home to meet the parents is big deal in a relationship.  Faust didn’t actually MEET the parents but he did visit Marguerite’s home and admired the place where his angelic lover grew up.  Santa Fe favorite, Bryan Hymel sings in the clip below.

13.     Letter Scene from Eugen Onegin

Like kids passing notes in the hall, young Tatyana expresses her love for Onegin in a letter.  With every word she discovers how much she love him.  The clip below is the last part of this thrilling scene by Tchaikovsky. 

14.     Make Our Garden Grow from Candide

The ultimate marriage proposal.    

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wishing all of our friends a happy and blessed New Year!  A toast to the past year’s triumphs and wishes for a wonderful 2014.


Photos by Ken Howard and Robert Godwin
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Susan Graham and her troops in The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein
Wishing all of our friends a happy and blessed New Year!  A toast to the past year’s triumphs and wishes for a wonderful 2014.


Photos by Ken Howard and Robert Godwin
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2013 Santa Fe Opera Gala
Wishing all of our friends a happy and blessed New Year!  A toast to the past year’s triumphs and wishes for a wonderful 2014.


Photos by Ken Howard and Robert Godwin
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David Daniels and Reed Luplau in Oscar
Wishing all of our friends a happy and blessed New Year!  A toast to the past year’s triumphs and wishes for a wonderful 2014.


Photos by Ken Howard and Robert Godwin
Aperture
f/4
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Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Brenda Rae and Michael Fabiano create a tender moment in La Traviata
Wishing all of our friends a happy and blessed New Year!  A toast to the past year’s triumphs and wishes for a wonderful 2014.


Photos by Ken Howard and Robert Godwin
Noah's Flood
Wishing all of our friends a happy and blessed New Year!  A toast to the past year’s triumphs and wishes for a wonderful 2014.


Photos by Ken Howard and Robert Godwin
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f/5.6
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Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Drama ignites in La Donna del Lago
Wishing all of our friends a happy and blessed New Year!  A toast to the past year’s triumphs and wishes for a wonderful 2014.


Photos by Ken Howard and Robert Godwin
Aperture
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Fun and frivolity in The Marriage of Figaro
Wishing all of our friends a happy and blessed New Year!  A toast to the past year’s triumphs and wishes for a wonderful 2014.


Photos by Ken Howard and Robert Godwin
Aperture
f/5.6
Shutter Speed
1/60th
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400
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Nikon D7000
Opening Night Tailgating
Wishing all of our friends a happy and blessed New Year!  A toast to the past year’s triumphs and wishes for a wonderful 2014.


Photos by Ken Howard and Robert Godwin
Aperture
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Camera
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
A double rainbow captured from the Loge of The Santa Fe Opera theatre
Wishing all of our friends a happy and blessed New Year!  A toast to the past year’s triumphs and wishes for a wonderful 2014.


Photos by Ken Howard and Robert Godwin
Aperture
f/5
Shutter Speed
1/100th
ISO
3200
Focal Length
16mm
Camera
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Creating magic in the Land of Enchantment

Wishing all of our friends a happy and blessed New Year!  A toast to the past year’s triumphs and wishes for a wonderful 2014.

Photos by Ken Howard and Robert Godwin

A Cecilia Thanksgiving

We here at The Santa Fe Opera took a moment to dream what it would be like to invite Cecilia Bartoli, renowned Italian mezzo-soprano, to Thanksgiving dinner.  

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First, you know Ms. Bartoli would come dressed to the nines with a festive holiday flourish.

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Upon entering the kitchen, she would delight in the delicious smells coming from the oven and the beauty of your table.

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She’d exclaim your talents as a chef and call everyone over to the dinner table once the preparations were complete.

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But what’s this? You ran out of cranberry sauce before Cecilia got some for her turkey!?!  This is not good.

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Luckily, you put your thinking cap on and appease Ms. Bartoli with the first slice of pumpkin pie.  Topped with the perfect amount of homemade whipped cream.

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Everyone knows Cecilia never travels without her entourage of recorder players.  Which means a post-dinner serenade while you lounge and digest your meal.

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After a day of food, music, and laughter, Cecilia would leave your home with thanks and a heartfelt goodbye.

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

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