One thing we've learned about Santa Fe by now is that July is monsoon season. Every afternoon huge black clouds form and rain starts pouring down, often with thunder and lightening, but rarely for longer than an hour.
Yesterday was a bit different. Scattered thunderstorms started in the afternoon, but by the time our performance of The Tales of Hoffmann was about to start the entire horizon was covered with black, heavy rainclouds and there was thunder and lightning wherever you turned. Because of the good weather and high temperatures, the opera house in Santa Fe doesn't have side walls, which usually provides the audience with great views of the surrounding mountains and the desert. Yesterday, it literally provided us with a second show, put on by nature, lasting almost as long as the performance put on by human beings. At times, the thunderstorms grew so strong that they almost drowned out the performance that really didn't deserve to be drowned out.
You certainly know by now how much I admire the insight and intelligence Christopher Alden brings to his productions and this Hoffmann with its deceivingly realistic 19th century sets and costumes (by Allan Moyer and Constance Hoffmann) is no exception. Christopher gets very strong performances from the excellent cast, Paul Groves in his debut as Hoffmann, Wayne Tigges as the Four Villains, our (American-)Canadian Erin Wall in all four female roles (I am glad she is booked for her COC debut) and Kate Lindsey as Hoffmann's muse. Stephen Lord's elegant conducting made me understand why Offenbach's contemporaries called him the "Mozart of the Champs-Elysées". I could imagine for Offenbach's masterpiece to be performed differently, but certainly not better.
An auspicious beginning for our Santa Fe operas. I look forward to the opening of Britten's Albert Herring tonight.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (0) / permalink
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