Santa Fe Opera, Head Of Music, Santa Fe discussed on Coffee and Culture
I'm the host of the show, Jennifer Viele, and today we are talking all things said at the opera. And this very strange summer of thiss pandemic of lots of changes. People have pivoted a lot of interesting things going on at the Santa Fe Opera. Virtually in our first segment. We spoke to Andrea Fellows Feinberg about Thie overture to the upper insight, Webinars on being human, and you could find more information about those on the opera's website. And those are weekly webinars that are sort of look. Att opera from a psychological perspective. Now I'm very pleased to be welcoming, Bob treating Who is the head of music Step? The Santa Fe Opera. Welcome. Thank you. Yeah. So you live here in Santa Fe? I do. I've lived here probably about 26 years now, 26 years so because you have been you've been employed at the opera for 30? Yeah, be my 30th season. So tell us how that happened that you started working for the up around what you were doing. Oh, jeez. Years and years ago, I was in the Houston Grand Opera studio, and I was playing for voice lessons with Elena Nickel Lady who was a teacher who was in Houston. She also taught here at the time and in the middle of a lesson she jumped up, and she said, I have to phone John Crosby, and so she phoned John Crosby and tried to get him to offer me a job. It turned out. I couldn't actually come that summer because I was already engaged in Bath where I spent a number of summers. And But then, two years later, Richard Bradshaw, who was the head of Canadian opera company, I was working there in Toronto. And he said, You know, I think you should Talk to John Crosby and opposition came open and I went to New York and audition for him. And that started Yeah. Come here before my wife actually went to junior high and high school here. Yeah. So we had been a couple of years before. For her high school friend's wedding, and I'd never seen anything quite like this place before you. I come from originally from Victoria, British Columbia, right, you Canadian? Yeah. Yeah. Which you know, we have. Basically, I always lived within a five minute walk from the ocean in any direction. So to come to the desert was Very different but instantly fell in love with it and Starting today, You became the head of music than in the year 2000. So for 20 years, you're the head of music steps, So I looked here What you do as head of music. Oh, like a lot of jobs. There are many different things. It's sometimes hard to keep track of, You know, sort of the most nuts and bolts of it is being in charge of our music stuff, which is about You're 11 or 12 assistant conductors, pianist vocal coaches, so I'm in charge of hiring them and overseeing their work. Another. Sort of a big part of the job has been being one of the two people who auditions Thie apprentice singers, So I've done that since that time with whoever the program head is that time Now it's getting the nickels before that it was David Holloway. And so yeah, addition we have over 1000 applicants for them really interesting job. So you have 1000 applicants and you But you don't addition, thousands can chew additional shortlist of those right? Yeah, I mean, there's there's an initial screening. So once we've heard someone, then we have a record of them so some of those will get put into auditions right away. Others may wait another another year. But I don't know how many years it's been now, maybe seven. Since we've started a pre screening that has been online, so they send Either audio or visual, and so basically anyone who is applying for the first time whose new we screen in that way with the idea we try to get as many People into here live as we can. So, yeah, it said live auditions. I forget the exact number, but it's probably, you know, close to 500 wound that area we hear. I'll come, too. They all come Tuesday to audition for the Apprentice program. No. Most recently. We do we tend to do about a week in New York or few days. Chicago L. A Albuquerque, Houston is somewhere we've done. So, Yeah, it's a number of a number of different cities. If you are you're the music staff were coordinating the Apprentice program. You go around where all of the apprentices can more easily be. Yeah, we tryto We try to sort of spread our auditions strategically through the country, So it's you know, it's as easy as it can be for singers to get to us. If you're just joining in today, you're listening to coffee and culture here on Katie RC. I'm Jennifer Viele. And today's show is all about the Santa Fe Opera and the different programs that they're offering because of the cancellation of Everything that normally goes on at the opera, and I am joined by tweeting who is the head of music staff at the opera, and you're also an active operatic operatic conductor and the music director of upper studies for the New England Conservatory, which is very cool. We're talking about the Apprentice program, and I think we were sort of talking about how many auditions you do, but it would be good to have a little history. I think of the Apprentice program because It's I think it's very different than a lot of many operas don't have anything like this right. The Santa Fe Opera is well known for its printed programme. True. Oh, definitely. I mean, we're certainly and there's probably three of our of programs across the country that air the top programs to get in Santa Fe, of course, is is one of them. I believe with the first Apprentice program of its kind, actually, um, I mean, you know, you think of John Crosby thinking up. Creating this offer company here in what was probably a population of 10,000 in the middle of nowhere. It is pretty amazing and how quickly it grew into a world class institution, and he saw right away that There's benefits for both the company and the singers for the company that you needed a chorus, which a lot of singers, you know, supply the voices and bodies for, um Which helps the operas so small rolls. Some even bigger rules lately have come from the premises. So it helps the opera company and it also really gives something for young singers. You know, in America, there's was actually so many amazing Young singers and I've seen in all the years I've been here The level is just incredible. And we've been able to hire back, um, often really pretty quickly after After people spend their two years here, hire back singers and leading rules. So the apprentice that they have to stand up spending 22 summers here if they become an apprentice. Well, it depends. I mean, definitely You do one, and sometimes people will re audition and come back right away for magma, which is The singers union. You could only do two agm apprenticeships s O, You know, I think everyone really assesses a singer for their second time You want to come back if you if there's something good for you to do, you know, And sometimes they'll sort of think, okay, there may be a more interesting role the next year. So they'll win eight. So it's not a guaranteed thing. But I'd say a large percentage come back for a second, not want to come back to the Santa Fe Opera for the summer, and I've met very few people that don't Get Santa Fe You know that there is, you know, one in every 300 sometimes you would be someone that it's just There's not enough nightlife or, um, you know, but bugs or, you know, not enough bad we're there for them. I don't know. His apprentice singers are also the ones that go on tour through the community Outreach program. Is that right? Uh, yes, most often. There's the Spring tour, which I think pretty much always is ex apprentices on DH. We do holiday concerts. Which we always bring in X apprentices for that two or sometimes their people who've been one year coming back the next year. So the spring tour is not the actual apprentices because the apprentices don't come here until the actual the summer season, then. Exactly, Yeah, they start with the season, but they tend to be singers that have had a relationship with the company. Not always because that's a bit of a funny time of year for people to be available. You know, If you're in school still in college, then you're probably not available, and sometimes people may have conflicts with other companies..