We just arrived (Monday night) in the historic town of Sharon Springs, NY! I’m here for several meetings in nearby Cooperstown (home of Glimmerglass Opera). One of the people I’ll be meeting with is baritone Nathan Gunn, director of Opera Philadelphia’s American Repertoire Program. Nathan is singing the role of Lancelot in Glimmerglass’ current production of CAMELOT. Our schedule, unfortunately, will not allow us to take in any of the festival’s offerings this summer.
Getting here was a bit of a marathon. We flew out of Santa Fe early Sunday morning, arrived at our home in the late afternoon providing us with enough time to empty our suitcases of suits, do some laundry, and assemble our camping gear. Then, after putting a much needed nine hours of face-to-face time in at the Opera Philadelphia offices, we were off again in the car for the five-hour drive to the doors of the New York House, our simple bed-and-breakfast accommodations for the next two days. (BTW, the “we” I keep referring to is me and my husband David A. Dubbeldam. “David A,” as he is affectionately distinguished from me, “David B,” is a huge opera fan and loves traveling with me on as many opera trips as he is able).
I apologize for not writing regularly from Santa Fe. There was just so much happening with both the festival and the number of industry people it attracts that I didn’t have any opportunity to write. The past week at The Santa Fe Opera was “Manager’s Week.” During this week representatives from twenty-four opera companies, as well as many artist representatives, arrive in Santa Fe to partake of the operas and to hear auditions from the forty-two singers that comprise The Santa Fe Opera’s Apprentice Program.
The Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Artists
The benefits that Opera Philadelphia gains by attending this particular week in Santa Fe are innumerable. This week provides a density of opportunities to meet with colleagues and potential partners to discuss and develop new projects. This year, we had a very productive meeting with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis – another leading summer opera festival – about a couple of operas that we hope to collaboratively produce and present. I was also able to plant some seeds with other producers about several Opera Philadelphia projects.
OTSL’s unique thrust stage
This week also provides us with great opportunities to meet with several leading singers and their managers to talk about future projects and productions in Philadelphia that they might be interested in. As I have mentioned earlier, the density of industry people that are present at such festivals makes them a very effective place to get things done and to work with leaders in our industry. A special call out to goes to Charles Mackay (General Director) and Brad Woolbright (Director of Artistic Administration) from The Santa Fe Opera for their consummate hosting skills, welcoming demeanor, and their commitment to making Santa Fe such a welcoming place to work. They are so gracious and generous and I am extremely grateful (as are my fellow colleagues) for their generous and welcoming spirits.
Brad Woolbright (left) and Charles MacKay (right) with OSCAR director Kevin Newbury (center)
Between performances, receptions, and dinners, I was able to meet the managers of a number of the world’s leading opera singers. During these meetings we were successfully able to identify future roles at Opera Philadelphia for these singers. Details will follow in due course, however, I extremely excited about one particular Verdi project that emerged from these discussions for the 2018-19 season – stay tuned.
So, in addition to experiencing some amazing performances, our Santa Fe trip was extremely successful for forward planning and for our continued efforts at connecting with leading artists, managers, and producers to enhance our ability to produce and present meaningful and thrilling opera in Philadelphia. Here are a series of our successes in Santa Fe:
-We negotiated the details for a future co-production of BARBER OF SEVILLE!
-We identified new potential commissioning partners for two future chamber operas that are being commissioned for the Aurora Chamber Opera Series!
-We determined projects that will allow three major singers to debut on our stage in future seasons!
-We participated in and were witness to the world premiere of our co-commission of OSCAR that will have its East Coast Premiere in February 2015!
Tomorrow…my take on to the Santa Fe performances!