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, among them Lulu, The Cunning Little Vixen, Capriccio, and Daphne. Recent premieres include the world premiere of Madame Mao, commissioned from Bright Sheng, in 2003, the premiere of the revised version of Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar, in 2005, the American premiere of Thomas Ades's The Tempest, in 2006, and the American premiere of Tan Dun's Tea: A Mirror of Soul in 2007. The 2008 season included the American premiere of Adriana Mater by Kaija Saariaho, whose L'amour de loin received its American premiere here in 2002. In 2009 the world premiere of The Letter by Paul Moravec 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. The Santa Fe Opera has a wide array of education and community outreach programs to make opera accessible and appealing to a broad spectrum of the New Mexico population. One, the unique Pueblo Opera Program, serves Native American youth from nineteen pueblos and three reservations in the state. The theater itself features 'Opera Titles' –- a small screen in front of every seat, which allows patrons to follow the stage action in either English or Spanish. The Santa Fe Opera has become one of New Mexico's cultural and economic leaders. Its reputation attracts thousands of patrons each year, and its impact on the area's economy has been calculated at more than $182 million each year.