Santa Fe Opera opening its summer season

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Santa Fe Opera is opening this summer's season with a performance of Offenbach's comic opera, "The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein."

Friday night's performance at the opera house north of Santa Fe starts a season that runs through Aug. 24.

Opening night typically is a festive affair with elaborate pre-show tailgate picnics in which some opera fans wear costumes.

For the first time, the opera is holding what it describes as a "light-hearted" contest that will provide prizes, including tickets and champagne, to recognize the creativity of tailgate party-goers.

Contest judges include mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who has the title role in Rossini's "La Donna Del Lago."

On Saturday, the opera will perform Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro."