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Santa Fe Opera looks to its roots to secure future

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By Susan M. Bryan

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — For more than five decades, the spirit behind the Santa Fe Opera has stemmed from a deep commitment to commissioning new works and presenting rare productions that had never been seen or heard in the United States.

Now, with its international reputation and unique location in the shadow of northern New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the opera continues to make good on its commitment with two new commissions and an American premiere despite the ongoing economic stranglehold that has brought some of the arts community to its knees.

General director Charles MacKay says that means visitors to the outdoor venue will be treated to new performances for at least the next four years.

"Part of our DNA," he said, "is presenting new works in the belief that it is what is necessary to keep the operatic art form alive and vibrant."

In the opera's first year 55 years ago, it presented the world premiere of Marvin David Levy's "The Tower." It followed that with its first commission, Carlisle Floyd's "Wuthering Heights." In all, the company has had nine commissions and nearly four dozen American premieres.


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