Two weeks ago, on August 12, 2019, I was thrilled to attend La Boheme at the Santa Fe Opera while visiting family in the area. La Boheme of course is Puccini’s famous opera that had its debut in 1896 in Italy. At first critics were lukewarm to the opera when it first came out. Mahler himself was extremely hostile and virtually banned La Boheme in favor of a rival’s work on the same subject.
However, the public immediately took to the work, and critics eventually came around, with the English critic Frank Granville Barker eventually calling La Boheme “one of the wonders of the world.”
The Santa Fe Opera version I saw recently was blessed with humorous and poignant touches that gave it a special emotional import. And seeing La Boheme in the spectacular setting of the Santa Fe Opera is a rare treat indeed.
It was so special too to enjoy the opera itself with my brother, who lives near Santa Fe. I also enjoyed a Backstage Tour the morning of the performance with my dear sister, also a local resident. The tour gave us unique and wonderful insights into the history and structure of the spectacular opera house itself.
The singers in particular were extraordinary, especially Mimi sung by Vanessa Vasquez, making her impressive Santa Fe Opera Debut.
Overall, the day offered a world-class opera in an architectural gem of an opera house, set in the beautiful high desert outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was a wonderful experience I won’t soon forget.
The story of La Boheme is a familiar one, the struggles of the bohemian artist to become accepted while keeping a roof over his head. If you recognize some aspects of the story, it’s because it's the same story in Rent, the hit Broadway musical that was also turned into a movie and live TV special.
If you are ever in the Santa Fe area, I encourage you to take in an opera or any other performance in this spectacular venue. You won’t be disappointed. Everything is top notch, from the beautiful views and architecture, to the acoustics and music, to the quality of the food and beverages in the cafes and restaurants. The staff is very kind and helpful, and the quality of the superb productions and tours are remarkable. I personally plan to enjoy the opera each summer while visiting relatives.
For more information and tickets, visit santafeopera.org. For more photos of the opera, visit my Flickr page here: flickr.com/joybennett.
Thank you to the kind staff of the Santa Fe Opera for accommodating me and my family for this very special experience.