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Bishop's Lodge is ideally located minutes from the Santa Fe Opera.

Recalling the early days of the Santa Fe Opera, Miranda Speranza Masocco Levy says, "Everyone gathered at Bishop's Lodge". Levy was one of the original visionaries who helped start the Santa Fe Opera.

It was over lunch in 1955 that John Crosby, a young conductor from New York, told Miranda that he was planning to start an opera in Santa Fe, and enlisted her help. Levy then organized a board of directors and invited Igor Stravinsky to help with its fledgling season, and now the Santa Fe Opera is world- renowned.

The company was founded by the late John Crosby who had an idea of starting an opera company to give American singers an opportunity to learn and perform new roles in a setting that allowed ample time to rehearse and prepare each production. At the same time, a program for young singers who were making a transition from academic to professional life, the Apprentice Program for Singers, was begun.

Director of the Apprentice Program for Singers David Holloway also remembers the early days of the opera, when he came to Santa Fe in 1964 to visit his college conductor, Robert Baustian, who conducted at the Opera. I remember a lot of artists going to Bishop's Lodge, he says. We'd meet at Bishop's Lodge for lunch and many people would go horseback riding there.

More than 1,500 aspiring singers have participated in the program. Many are professional performers; others are teachers and coaches at major opera companies and universities. In 1965, an apprentice program for theater technicians was added, and it too has become an important training tool.

Every July and August since 1957, opera lovers have been drawn to the magnificent northern New Mexico mountains to enjoy productions by one of America's premier summer opera festivals. Here, The Santa Fe Opera's dramatic adobe theater blends harmoniously with the high desert landscape. It is this fusion of nature and art that leaves such an enduring impression on all who come. More than half the audience of 85,000 comes from outside New Mexico, representing every state in the union as well as 25 to 30 foreign countries.

The Santa Fe Opera has taken its place among the world's leading opera festivals. Its mission is to present productions meeting the highest artistic standards in a repertory of new, rarely performed, and standard works. More than 1,600 performances of nearly 140 different operas have been given here, including nine world premieres and 40 American premieres.

Casts are drawn from the world's most talented young singers, and production teams of conductors, directors, and designers are international as well. Many singers whose names are now found on the rosters of the world's leading opera houses began their careers in Santa Fe. They include Susan Graham, Patricia Racette, Joyce DiDonato, William Burden, Kristine Jepson, Michelle DeYoung, and Charles Castronovo.

John Crosby was succeeded as founding General Director by Richard Gaddes in 2000.

To purchase your Santa Fe Opera tickets visit santafeopera.org.