Gronk! Yes, the artist currently known as Gronk returns to the Santa Fe Opera to fabulously paint a set. You can visit him at work — and bring the kids! — during a moment of his April residency at the opera, from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 16.
He will be painting sets for the SFO production of Vivaldi’s Griselda, to be staged this summer. “I don’t know what he is going to do — I have not told him anything,” director Peter Sellars said about the job. “When an artist paints, he creates a special environment in which the singers will perform.” Gronk, a Los Angeles native, also painted the set for the opera’s 2005 production of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar.
Gronk is a “seminal figure in contemporary Chicano art,” according to a 2007 Los Angeles Times piece about his digital short film Gronk’s BrainFlame. He “burst on the L.A. arts scene during the 1970s as part of ASCO, a guerrilla-style cultural collective whose name means ‘nausea’ in Spanish.”
Besides creating opera sets, Gronk has been a painter and printmaker and has done performance pieces and installations and murals. He made a mural for the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque during an earlier visit to New Mexico, and he will work on one for the Albuquerque Museum this July.
For the April 16 event, Gronk will be at work in Stieren Hall and will answer questions, as will host Paul Horpedahl, the Santa Fe Opera’s production director. There is no charge for this “Meet Gronk” event, which is part of an initiative designed to make the opera experience more accessible to families.
Also coming up as part of the initiative are three affordable Family Night opera performances: Gounod’s Faust on Aug. 20, La Bohème by Puccini on Aug. 23, and Menotti’s The Last Savage on Aug 25. Prices for the 8 p.m. shows are $25 for adults and $12 for children. For tickets, call 986-5900.
Glugio “Gronk” Nicandro