09 August 2012

Santa Fe Souvenirs

Much of Santa Fe looks as if it’s already been painted
by Georgia O’Keeffe.
The O’Keeffe Museum in town boasts an admirable but very small collection:
I lingered and yet managed to get in and out in about 15 minutes.
All photos by WVM except where noted.

Conscientious though I was in my research and in my opera-going, I had ample opportunity to explore Santa Fe during my visit there, and I thought I’d share a few pictures from the trip. I hadn’t been there since my fifteenth birthday, when the only music I heard was the mariachi band at the restaurant where we ate dinner. Perhaps needless to say, my experiences now were sufficient to keep me coming back again and again.

Prelude to a bliss: A double rainbow over the Motel 6, shortly before Susan Graham’s concert with Santa Fe Opera.

This isn’t to say that the trip was without hassles. My camera ran out of batteries the first morning I rose early and set out to take pictures. My razor broke in transit, without my noticing until I’d come very close to slashing my own throat. This explains why I’m looking so scruffy in my picture with Susan Graham, following her concert: I didn’t want to risk killing myself before I heard her. Besides, Susan’s singing brings me close enough to Heaven, thank you.

And on the way home, the dedicated baggage handlers at United Airlines decided that, no, transferring my backpack to my connecting flight was not a good idea. Forty-eight hours later, the bag was delivered to my doorstep. Mercifully, this lapse didn’t occur on the way to Santa Fe, or I’d have shown up to the opera in a stale T-shirt and jeans. Really not the impression I hoped to make.

The double rainbow, from a neighborhood
that is arguably more picturesque.
Photo by Nathan DePoint, used with permission.

But a few inconveniences and a little blood couldn’t diminish the delights of Santa Fe, among which was spectacular weather. I’ve written about the storm that participated so wholeheartedly in Thursday’s performance of Maometto II, but we had all kinds of gorgeous cloud formations, a full moon, and a double rainbow. Not to mention that temperatures were never too hot or too cold. Goldilocks would have been happy here.

No, this is not a long-lost painting from J.M.W. Turner’s late-period black-and-white phase. It’s the full moon over Santa Fe. I promise.

Susan remarked during her concert that Santa Fe Opera has the reputation of a kind of summer camp for singers. Running into so many familiar faces, I got the feeling that it’s summer camp for everybody from Opera World (a term Susan herself coined, lest we forget). That added a great deal to the fun. Moreover, it became increasingly easy to see why so many people I care about are drawn to this place. Maybe the following pictures will help you to see it, too.

Blossoms in a courtyard in old Santa Fe.

The ornate Catron Block, on the Plaza in old Santa Fe.

The Palace of the Governors, on the Plaza in old Santa Fe.

Faux pueblo architecture, in old Santa Fe.
I can’t remember which building this is.

The courtyard in front of the Shed, the restaurant where I enjoyed dinner with Fort Worth Opera friends Keith Wolfe, Nathan DePoint, and Joseph Lesley.

Friends from all over Opera World came to Santa Fe. I had lunch with the ever-fabulous Karen Kriendler Nelson and her faithful personal assistant, Pino Nelson, on the front porch at Clafoutis, a remarkably good French café.
Photo by our server, using Karen’s camera.

The colors at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market thrilled me.
Almost anywhere you look, you can see why this town casts
such a spell over artists.

“You should have been here earlier, when we had artichoke blossoms,” said one vegetable vendor — who suddenly remembered then that she had one more left. “Do you want to be in the picture, too?” I asked,
but she demurred.

Bobbie Falls and Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet, my intrepid guides in the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market.
Bobbie is displaying perhaps the gentlest expression I have ever seen on the face of any woman who didn’t want to pose for a picture.

A sampling of the bounty at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market.

Yellow tomatoes are in season!
Oh, how I miss Franck’s produce at the Marché de Beynes!

Peaches are in season, too!

Bell peppers to charm even the Incredible Hulk.

Look but don’t taste: Unable (or unwilling?) to bring back chilis for my pepper-popping roommate, I did at least take a few pictures.

Five Thousand Little Peppers, and How They Grew.

What to do after you’ve bought them, or else just buy ’em ready made:
Cooking peppers in the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market.

Jeanne-Michèle took me up into the mountains.
Personally, I feel that everybody needs to explore nature’s majesty in the company of an internationally acclaimed Wagnerian soprano.

The John Crosby Theater at the Santa Fe Opera.
Photo by Robert Reck, courtesy of Santa Fe Opera.

And did I mention that I saw Susan Graham?
Photo by Susan’s sister, using my camera.

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