The Santa Fe Opera (“SFO”) has presented more than 1,500 performances of 118 operas, including 9 world and 39 American premieres.

John Crosby established the Santa Fe Opera in 1957, with a company of 67. Operas were staged in an open theater. That year, Igor Stravinsky visited to oversee production of The Rake's Progress. In 1961 Stravinsky conducted Persephone, and in 1962, SFO performed all of Stravinsky’s operatic works as part of the Stravinsky Festival. In 1967, a fire demolished the original theater. Less than a year after the fire, the new 1,889-seat theater opened on June 26, 1968.

In 1994, SFO announced theater renovation plans for the 1998 season, and commissioned operas by three distinguished American symphonic composers. The new 2,128 seat theater opened in 1998, and in 1999, the Electronic Libretto System was introduced, providing English translations on individual screens in front of each seat.

The theater is located seven miles north of Santa Fe, in the piñon-strewn hills near Tesuque. It is open on the sides (though since the 1998 renovations, closed on the top) and offers pre-Opera views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains to the east, and Jemez mountains to the west, in the crystal clear high-altitude air (over 7,000 feet above sea level).

The season begins in late June (the 2002 season opens with Tschaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin on June 28, 2002) and continutes through August. During this part of the summer, Santa Fe enjoys a refreshing rain shower most afternoons, with fantastic sunsets.

For decades, the summer Opera season has brought in tourists, some who stay for the entire season, pack restaurants, and buy art in markets, festivals and galleries.

Since the 1970’s, when a series of opera posters was produced using Georgia O’Keeffe paintings, prints of the season posters for the SFO have been very popular.


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