Santa’s got a brand-new bag, full of opera highlights

Mezzo-soprano Kathleen Felty

While Santa Claus is starting to come down chimneys in time zones east of here on Christmas Eve, a quartet of vocal soloists and the Santa Fe Symphony will be filling the rafters of the Lensic Performing Arts Center with song. Opera excerpts to be more exact, since A Night at the Opera features four apprentice singers from the Santa Fe Opera’s 2022 season.

The opening sequence of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro opens the concert. Its sparkling overture followed by the duet in which Figaro (baritone Darren Lekeith Drone) measures the floor to make sure their nuptial bed will fit while Susanna (soprano Amber Norelai) shows him her bridal veil.

Tenor Andrew Turner is up next with “Ecco ridente in cielo,” Count Almaviva’s first-act aria from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, a serenade to the mysterious young woman he’s fallen in love with. Mezzo-soprano Kathleen Felty joins the orchestra for two pieces from Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, featuring the pants-role character of the composer. First is his aria, an impassioned paean to the power of music, then his duet with Zerbinetta, in which she both convinces him to revise his beloved opera on the spot and falls (briefly) in love with him.

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