August 6 – August 12, 2019
The Santa Fe tour had all the elements of a cultural tour – dance, opera, theater! Each one was extraordinary and the group had a difficult time picking their favorite of the tour.
We all did agree, however, that the opera “experience” – touring the opera house, having dinner under the tent on the opera grounds, hearing a lecture on the plot of the opera and finally seeing The Pearl Fishers was amazing. As we were engrossed in the opera, we couldn’t help but notice the steaks of lighting in the sky that added to the drama on stage.
We returned to the opera venue to see the Apprentice Scenes but not before we were treated to a conversation with two of the opera apprentices. We were all flabbergasted when Ricky, one of the apprentices, explained his journey to a career in opera. He was recruited out of high school for a national baseball league team. When he got cut, his uncle suggested he try his hand at opera. Success! For sure!
We met with Artistic Director Robert Benedetti and two of the actors in 4000 Miles, Suzanne Lederer and Mickey Dolan, for a great discussion of their acting journey and roles they play in the show. The intimate setting of the chat, then seeing the show in the 59 seat theater, and finally joining the cast afterward for the Friday night reception, made for a very intimate theater experience.
Much to our surprise, especially the non-ballet goers, the Stars of American Ballet performance was just perfect. Each dance vignette highlighted the talent of the dancers. We learned that Stars of American Ballet travels to cities that rarely host ballet performances and offers top-notch choreography with principal and soloist-level dancers from major American companies. It certainly was a treat and so glad our dates of the tour matched their tour!
And of course, we dined, drank and enjoyed the Southwest cuisine at every chance we got. Our hotel, The Inn on the Alameda, was charming and luckily not too crowded. The last night of the tour our restaurant did not bring dessert in time for us to eat it (our bus was waiting outside to take us to the opera) so they packed it up for take out – and we had a dessert and wine party in the hotel lobby that night. That was FUN!
As much fun as Santa Fe was, I am thinking it was a one-off, and I will not be offering it again – at least in the near future. But I definitely recommend it for a super, culture-filled vacation!