Guilds of the Santa Fe Opera IncOver 50 years of service to The Santa Fe Opera

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History of the Guilds of The Santa Fe Opera, Inc.


Sue NoelSue Noel of the Española Guild was President.

A new and enthusiastic guild in Las Vegas was welcomed to Guilds, Inc. Sadly, the new Rio Grande Guild disbanded. However, some of their members joined the Albuquerque Guild. Nearly all the guilds surpassed their projected contribution to The Santa Fe Opera for the year. The total contribution was $120,000, after expenses. Some factors that lead to a shortfall of around $30,000 was limiting attendance at the Preview Buffets, start-up expenses for a new event, “The Masked Millenium Ball,” and fund raising for the education programs.

Twenty-seven guild members from Taos, Española, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque, along with three opera staff, traveled by bus to E1 Paso for the March Guilds, Inc. meeting. The group attended a double-bill performance of Pag1iacci and Cavalleria Rusticana the night before the Board meeting. The trip was so successful that plans to repeat it will be made for 2001. The E1 Paso Times published a 2-page, full color article on The Santa Fe Opera.

The newly combined Opera Mosaic and Apprentice Artists Tour was a great success. There were 48 performances, primarily presented to elementary school students, although grades K through 12 were also reached. Approximately 13,273 students attended. The cost of the tour was $52,383 and was supported by Phelps Dodge, the Eugene and Claire Thaw Trust, the Guilds of the Santa Fe Opera, Inc. and indirectly by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne was presented by Ce1ene Shafer, Dean Southern, and Michael Ryan, all with the 1999 Apprentice Artist Program. Ron Grinage, Music Director, was accompanist.

“A Day at the Opera Ranch” was combined with the Intermezzo members who put on “Die F1edermarket”. The Pueblo Opera Program (POP) put on a children’s opera and a group of Native American dancers performed in the Opera entrance. The Kaune School Mariachis and several others performed for the large crowds. All the individual guild food booths realized profits from their various food sales.

With Santa Fe Opera’s consent, a fourth donor level of $300 was established. A new membership brochure was printed to reflect this for the coming year.

In August, contributors of $60 and above were invited to a “Spotlight Interview” with opera performer, Mary Jane Johnson, followed by a reception. About 40 guild members attended.

The BBQ at the Cantina given for guild volunteers was hugely successful with approximately 150 guild members attending.

Guilds, Inc. approved expenses for Sadie Knight, President-Elect, and for Jill Hardy to attend the Opera Guilds International (OVI) Conference in Austin, Texas in November.

The 2000 Youth Night at the Opera performances were highly successful as follows: Rigoletto, 1,800 (sold out); The Marriage of Figaro, 1,600; and Ermione, 1,000.

As they have for the previous 12 years, the Taos Opera Guild provided a bus for all three Youth Night operas, transporting children from Taos, Questa, and Dixon.

On September 12, Guilds, Inc. held a celebratory luncheon honoring John Crosby on his retirement as General Director of The Santa Fe Opera. Sadie Knight, President-Elect, presided as hostess in the absence of President, Sue Noel. The Guilds presented Mr. Crosby with a limited-edition signed copy of Der Rosenkavalier and an engraved Nambe-ware bookmark. The luncheon, held in the open-air O’Shaughnessy Hall, was very well attended by members of all the eight guilds.

Opera Guilds, Inc. liaison, Jill Hardy, married Michael Heath in October. Prior to their wedding, several guild members participated in showers and the Opera staff invited guild members to join in an unusual scavenger hunt/shower, where the team which included guild members won. The event was held at Vanessie in Santa Fe.

Total membership, 1999/ 2000: 700
Guilds’ contributions: The guilds contributed $98,000 to the Opera.

Sue Noel remained as President.

The new donor level of $300 was instituted and new member brochures were printed with the commensurate benefits listed. In September, the guilds agreed to raise the lowest level of membership to $35 from $30.

Internationally known author, Bill O’Hanlon, agreed to speak at the workshop held in February. However, no further information is available on this. A meeting of Guilds, Inc. was held at the Inn of Loretto in Santa Fe on February 17; the Guilds, Inc.’s President gave a detailed history of the guilds using graphs and visual cards. Richard Gaddes, Santa Fe Opera Director, spoke about his plans for the Santa Fe Opera and the ad campaign he has planned.

A bus trip was made to El Paso where guild members met with the Tri-State Guild and then enjoyed the performance of Turandot at the Abraham Chavez Theatre-El Paso Performing Arts Center.

A wine-tasting fund raiser was held in June that netted $3,300 for the guilds. Southern Wine and Spirits was a contributor. Finger food tables were set up on the grounds at the Ranch and members from the different guilds assisted in hosting the event.

The guilds sponsored the prelude talks in Stieren Hall prior to each opera. These have proved to be very successful.

The Preview Dinners brought in $58,351, an amount which was credited to the guilds for hosting these events.

Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne was chosen by the staff for presentation for this year’s Apprentice Tour. Artists were: Michael Ryan, tenor; Deborah Van Rentergbern, soprano; Zeffin Quinn Hollis, baritone, and Pedro Yanez on piano. A total of 18,975 youth enjoyed the 38 school performances.

“A Day at the Opera Ranch” was a huge success. The weather was perfect for the 2,500 in attendance. Another 1,000 attended the Intermezzo’s group “Die Fledermarket.” The various music, dance, and other performing groups were a big hit, and the different guild chapters did well with their food booths.

The three Youth Night Operas were well attended. These included Lucia di Lammermoor, Falstaff, and Mitridate, for a total attendance of 2,750, plus an additional 376 teachers.

The individual guilds were busy with fundraisers, membership parties, fashion shows, and bus trips to The Santa Fe Opera.

Total members, 2000–2001: 500
Guilds’ contributions: A total of $112,476 was contributed to The Santa Fe Opera this year.

Sadie KnightSadie Knight of the Taos Opera Guild was President.

Guilds, Inc. members filled the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe for the production of HMS Pinafore, while the Santa Fe Guild hosted an after-party at the Palace Restaurant for the cast and guests.

The Spring Apprentice Artists tour, which ran from April 2 to May 5, was highly successful. The Santa Fe Opera staff chose La Dolorosa and artists were: Deborah Van Renterghem, soprano; Mauricio Trejo O’Reilly, tenor; Keith Harris, baritone, and Kirt Pavitt on piano. The Taos and Los Alamos Guilds hosted the apprentices at after-parties, much to the delight of the apprentices. This event continued to be a highly successful way to bring opera to the many regional schools in communities all over the state.

Twenty-nine guild members took the bus trip to El Paso on March 8. Tri-State Guild president, Kay Lassiter, graciously invited the group to her home for cocktails and dinner that evening.

The Guilds, Inc. Board meeting was held on March 9 at the El Paso Airport Hilton. A pre-opera buffet was enjoyed by everyone at the beautiful Camino Real Hotel, right across the street from the Abraham Chavez Theater-El Paso Performing Art Center. A lovely shawl was presented to Kay Lassiter by Guilds, Inc. for hosting the guilds that week-end. The opera Faust was enjoyed by all. Participating were guild members from Taos, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque.

The Santa Fe Opera Guild’s “Masked Ball” was held on April 6 in Stieren Hall. It was a great success. Attending were guild members from Taos, Los Alamos, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe and their guests.

The Albuquerque Guild held a very successful Fashion Show and Auction at the Old Town Sheraton on April 25. (photo right) Gowns donated by Connie Stevens, Arlene Dahl, and Polly Bergen were modeled in the large auction hall and sold that day. Members from the different guilds were among attendees.

Las Vegas President, Ursel Albers, and her guild members hosted the Guilds, Inc. meeting at the beautiful Plaza Hotel in Old Town Las Vegas on April 27. Before the luncheon meeting, a tour of the spectacular Armand Hammer United World College was enjoyed by many of the 39 guild members who attended.

A total of 3,009 people attended “A Day at the Opera Ranch” on May 18. Food booths were popular and all guilds had sold out by early afternoon. Also popular were the photo booth (where period costumes were provided) and the face-painting booth.

Youth Night at the Opera was extended to present four operas this year. Youth chairs, Paul and Mary Frances Young, reported well-behaved and appreciative children. Presented were: Eugene Onegin, L’italiana in Algeri, La clemenza di Tito, and La traviata. Total attendance for all four performances was 2,259 children and 1,137 adults, for a grand total of 3,396. Pueblo Opera Program attendance was 1,292, including 901 children and 391 adults.

A proposal was presented by the Taos Opera Guild at the Guilds, Inc. annual meeting on September 20 to restrict the basemembership of $35.00 to a membership for one person. The lowest level for two people would be $60.00, the "Friend" category. All eight guilds voted on the proposal, and it was approved. New membership application forms showed this change.

Guild members continued to attend The Santa Fe Opera performances, concerts, off-season presentations at the Lensic, and Apprentice concerts in groups and busloads of as many as 40. The Santa Fe Opera Guild members volunteered in the Opera Shop and many guild members served as back-stage tour guides. Countless hours of volunteer work were put in by guild members in the various fundraisers, as chaperones for Youth Nights, greeters, etc.

Total membership 2001–2002:
Membership in Guilds, Inc. increased from 510 to a total of 635.
Guilds’ contributions: $121,443, including a cash contribution to the Opera of $64,782, and with $56,661 credited for hosting the Preview Dinners.

Continue to 2002–2006