On May 11th Robert K. Meya, the General Director of the Santa Fe Opera, announced the cancellation of the 2020 summer season. Although the news was expected, it was yet another reminder for the community of Santa Fe of the impact taking its toll due to the worldwide Corona virus pandemic.
Not since 1967 has the opera company been confronted with such adversity. During the premiere of Paul Hindersmith’s Cardillac at the Santa Fe Opera a fire broke out and the stage was burned to the ground. Desperate to find a location, John Crosby, its founder and director, negotiated with the Santa Fe School Board to host its next production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at Sweeney Gym at Santa Fe High school. In an eerie coincidence, one of the productions slated for this summer’s season at the Santa Fe Opera was The Barber of Seville.
Unlike this year’s cancelled production at the Santa Fe Opera, in 1967 The Barber of Seville was a serendipitous success. A capacity crowd of 1,300 locals attended the performance in a show of support. The performance drew favorable reviews in both The New York Times and Musical America magazine. The Santa Fe Opera performed the remainder of the 1967 season at Sweeney Gym on Marcy Street where the City of Santa Fe Tourism Center is located today.