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                         Phillip Huscher
                         The Santa Fe Opera
                        
     An American Pioneer


    SHOES FOR THE SANTO NINO

    2011-11-04

    World Premiere of a Children’s Opera set for Albuquerque and Santa Fe

    New Details Announced

    Hear musical excerpts from Shoes 

    View Interview about Shoes 

    The Santa Fe Opera and University of New Mexico School of Fine Arts have embarked on a joint production of a new children's opera. The opera, based on the children's story Shoes for the Santo Niño by Peggy Pond Church, is being written by the American composer Stephen Paulus. Andrea Fellows Walters, the Opera Director of Education and Community Programs, is the librettist. The partnership is the first between the two insitutions who will share all production costs. 

    The 35 minute work to be conducted by Bradley Ellingboe, calls for two adult soloists, three children, a chamber orchestra, and UNM Children’s Chorus, prepared by Regina Carlow and Julia Church Hoffman. The project is part of a new initiative by The Santa Fe Opera to present important musical works that families can enjoy together. Brian J. Bustos is production designer, Kathleen Clawson is stage director.

    There will be four performances at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque: the world premiere, on December 16 at 7 PM, followed by performances on December 17 at 2 PM and 7 PM, and December 18 at 2 PM. The Santa Fe performances take place at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. The first performance on January 6 at 1 PM is in honor of the one hundredth anniversary of New Mexico’s statehood which will be celebrated that day. Subsequent performances will take place the following day, January 7 at 3 PM and 6 PM. NHCC and the Lensic are presenting partners for the project.

    Stephen Paulus is one the country’s best known contemporary composers.  Known for his operas, the list includes The Postman Always Rings TwiceHeloise and Abelard, The Woman at Otowi Crossing, and The Woodlanders. Paulus’s credits include more than 350 works for a broad range of ensembles: orchestra, chorus, chamber groups, and solo singers.

    Andrea Fellows Walters, a New Mexico native, is a graduate of the University of New Mexico. She served as the librettist for Trinity, an opera written by John Kennedy for students which was performed state-wide in 2006. As Director of Education and Community Programs, Walters has greatly expanded the scope and direction of the Company’s profile in New Mexico.

    Brian J. Bustos is a New Mexico native who received his early training at The Santa Fe Opera as a costume technical apprentice. After completing the program he remained with the Company for five years.  He now lives in New York where he has a rising career.  He was associate costume designer for Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Shrek the Musical, both of which won Tony awards for Best Costume Design.  Other Broadway productions on which he has worked include NINE, the Musical, A Little Night Music and The Little Mermaid.  Bustos received his BFA from the University of New Mexico. 

    Kathleen Clawson is a well-known singer who has appeared in opera and oratorio productions throughout the U.S. Adjunct professor of musical theater at UNM, she has directed productions both in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and a in a number of opera houses. She is active on The Santa Fe Opera music staff as well as Young Voices, the Opera’s training program for high school students.

    For the Albuquerque premiere the role of Julianita will be sung by Elizabeth Cederberg, a student at Petroglyph Elementary School, and Santo Niño by Alexander Schweim who attends Shepherd Lutheran School.  At the Santa Fe premiere Cristina Morrison, who attends Santo Niño Regional Catholic School, will sing Julianita, and Thomasluke Flores-Mansi from St. Michael’s High School will appear as Santo Niño.

    The two adult roles will be sung by former Santa Fe Opera apprentices, Deborah Domanski, 2005, 2006, and Corey McKern, 2001, 2004. Domanski will be remembered for her portrayal of Zenobia in the Opera’s 2008 production of Handel’s Radamisto.  Her recent engagements include Opera Southwest, Austin Lyric Opera, and American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall in New York. McKern sang the role of Marcello in last summer’s production of La Bohème. His recent engagements include Michigan Opera Theater, Opera Hong Kong, Nashville, Columbus, and Tulsa opera companies, and Summerscape at Bard College and Carnegie Hall.

    The writings of Peggy Pond Church reflect her lifelong love of her native New Mexico and its landscape. A highly regarded poet, she published eight volumes of poetry, in addition to fiction. She is best known for her book The House at Otowi Bridge.  Ms. Church was the recipient of numerous honors including the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.  She was named a Santa Fe Living Treasure in 1986. Shoes for the Santo Niño, written in 1930, was rediscovered 70 years after its publication.  It is now in print with illustrations by Charles M. Carrillo, a well-known New Mexico painter and illustrator.

    Admission is free, but tickets are required.  They are now available from the two presenting venues:  National Hispanic Cultural Center, 505-724-4771, and Lensic Performing Arts Center, 505-988-1234.

    November 1, 2011

    CONTACT:  Joyce Idema, Cindy Layman                                                                 press@santafeopera.org

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