Ann Sophie von Otter undertook her first Carmen at Glyndebourne a couple of years back. It was distinguished, but a first Carmen nevertheless. By the end of that run of some 15 performances it was by all accounts already remarkable. And now she is doing it in Santa Fe and I was at the Dress rehearsal yesterday evening to see one of the truly great assumptions of this complex role. We all know what a spectacular artist she is - the serious intellectual honesty and responsibilty of everything she does always brings insights be it in Handel, Mozart, Lieder, opera - everything she turns her attention to is illuminated by her acutely sensitive musicianship and glorious singing. And now we have a truly great Carmen with the excrescences of ages pared away - not a vocal musical or dramatic cliche in sight. The work is new and it is thrilling. Not to be missed and worth the voyage! And by the way aided and abetted by Alan Gilbert who seems to be developing into an opera conductor of importance. And note too the extraordinary sound of a chorus populated by 40 of the most gifted young singers on the continent, hand picked - wonderful!
I now realize that this is the thirtieth anniversary of my first visit to Santa Fe in 1976. Whilst this has not alas been an annual event it has been frequent enough over the years for me to have seen some remarkable performances and productions in this truly magical place. So it is with some disappointment that I can not stay longer this time. I will be back!
Will go up to the ranch this morning for lunch and then to the airport at Albuquerque - a nice 60 minute drive. One again there will be some old friends to see. Yesterday it was Richard Stilwell and Judith Forst - both here as Cinderella's parents in Massenet's opera Cendrillon - to be given here for the first time.
My computer is still sick so I will be signing off now until tomorrow!