08/22/2012 08:07 am ET Updated Oct 22, 2012

Santa Fe Opera Focuses On Serious, Less Well-known Works

SANTA FE, N.M. -- For the serious opera lover, a dwindling breed, these can seem like dark days. The summer has been marked by heated discussion in opera circles about the lasting impact of the economic crisis and the drift of many smaller and regional opera companies away from serious opera to more popular fare, musicals and operettas and to what many observers see as a smaller, more dismal repertoire of war horses.

On Thursday, Charles MacKay, the general director of the Santa Fe Opera, used a news conference to position his company as an exception to that general trend. Citing a recent New York Times article that bemoaned a "new normal" of "stagnant repertory" with a "focus on escapism over innovation and relevance," MacKay was almost exultant in declaring his company immune to the general decline.

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