This summer I lost my muse. I have spent many worrisome months at the hospital with my father and got a little depressed. He is doing better now and Rob and I decided to take a trip to Santa Fe in search of inspiration. I am not the first to search for my muse in New Mexico and I am sure I am not the last. Artists and musicians from all over the world are moving to Santa Fe for the very same reason. New Mexico is an enchanted land with beautiful colors and magnificent landscapes, home to Georgia O’Keefe and hundreds of great artists. The combination of high elevation, dry climate, beautiful national parks and Indian pueblos producing fantastic pottery, New Mexico has become a major cultural center- a perfect destination for re-energizing the spirit. We planned many activities to maximize Rob’s short getaway from work. Our first stop was the Santa Fe Opera, an open-air amphitheater resting on top of the hill overlooking the beautiful wavy landscape of the desert.
The masterwork King Roger by Polish composer Karol Szymanowski was first performed in 1926, but waited more than 60 years to be seen in the Americas. The young Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien, spectacularly sang the role of the 12th-century Sicilian King Roger. The music score masterfully intervened with the philosophical story of search of freedom from religious dogma. I admired the genius of the composer of the 20th century accumulating all the best that was created before him; orchestration colors of Rimsky Korsakov, harmonic richness of Wagner and Bruckner’s singing birds. Occasionally the spontaneous choir of crickets would add yet another color to the already very sophisticated musical canvas. Hills of a dessert provided a majestic backdrop to a modern theater design with perfect acoustics and visibility. Beautiful music at sunset… hard to beat!
We arrived at the opera an hour early just in case the parking would be a problem. To my dismay, instead of an underground parking garage we found a parking lot with spectacular views and people comfortably dining in style just like they would be in a nice café on the streets of Paris. Many tables were attached to the back of the cars or free standing with flowers and candles and nice looking food. It was my first acquaintance with so-called tailgating. In the best tradition of football, opera groupies tailgated King Roger. This crowd was a little more elegant than football fans but just as enthusiastic. Instead of the beer they drank wine from actual glasses, instead of the barbeque they ate Wholefoods salads and instead of the T-shirts they wore nice dresses, other that that… It was all the same. I have been to a lot of opera theaters in my life but never saw this! I thought it was magnificent!
When the show time arrived the diners packed their tables and chairs and slowly strolled towards open-air amphitheater. They left King Roger for dessert.
After all the King and Football have a lot in common. They both have adoring masses following them. Crowds in Europe for centuries adored their royalty and I bet you, are still tailgating in some faraway lands. During the Olympics in London, crowds were going all the way to show their love and respect for Queen Elizabeth even when she parachuted down to the stadium accompanied by James Bond. Here in the US we are not used to royalty and show more respect to football than really anything else. It was great to see opera is catching up and has gained groupies of its own. The Santa Fe Opera somehow miraculously managed to marry European king adoration and American football and produce a new kind of tailgating, an elegant refined kind.
The enchanted land of New Mexico exceeded my expectations and I found my muse.
Long live the King, Football and Opera!!!
Watch video from King Roger: Click Here