More work in the wings

Pasatiempo - - PASA REVIEWS -

SSanta Fe Opera, well along the road to its $45 mil­lion fundrais­ing goal, has em­barked on the sec­ond phase of a sub­stan­tial im­prove­ment pro­gram. Last year, work fo­cused on stage right, in­clud­ing the wings. The dress­ing rooms were gut­ted and re­built, and crews put in a new wardrobe fa­cil­ity up­stairs, on the same level as the dress­ing rooms. Out front, the gift shop and box of­fice were en­larged and the num­ber of bath­rooms bol­stered. “We also en­larged and en­hanced the bars out front, and we cre­ated an eat­ing ter­race where peo­ple can pick up their box din­ners for tail­gat­ing or eat there,” said Paul Hor­pedahl, SFO di­rec­tor of pro­duc­tion and fa­cil­i­ties. “That’s been a smash hit for our au­di­ence.”

Now at­ten­tion is fo­cused on the other side of the stage. The Opera Club build­ing was razed, and a re­place­ment — with a bridge to the pav­il­ion and the com­plex’s sec­ond el­e­va­tor — should be ready by April 1. The new build­ing was de­signed by MAD (Matiz Ar­chi­tec­ture & De­sign) in New York City; Juan C. Matiz, prin­ci­pal of the firm, worked with ar­chi­tect James Pol­shek on the opera’s sig­na­ture Stieren Orchestra Hall. “Also this year we’ve been work­ing on ex­pand­ing the stage-left wings and re­build­ing our scene shop/prop shop space that will be larger and have a paint-shop space,” Hor­pedahl said.

The third phase of the pro­gram, which could stretch out over a couple of years, in­cludes re­do­ing the pa­tron park­ing lot for bet­ter drainage, re­plac­ing lights with LED fix­tures, build­ing on-site stor­age for props and scenery, and up­grad­ing the ac­cess road.

“The cash por­tion of the over­all fundrais­ing goal is $38 mil­lion, so we’re seek­ing $7 mil­lion in planned gifts,” said Robert K. Meya, di­rec­tor of ex­ter­nal af­fairs. “Of the $45 mil­lion, $31 mil­lion is for con­struc­tion, $4 mil­lion is for fu­ture pro­gram­ming, and $10 mil­lion is for a re­serves fund for fu­ture up­keep and main­te­nance, and we’re call­ing this new group of peo­ple who des­ig­nate their funds to­ward that ‘The Crosby So­ci­ety’ [af­ter founder John Crosby]. It’s a rainy-day fund. More and more, when you fundraise th­ese days for big cap­i­tal projects, you try to put some match­ing por­tion to the side so you’re not go­ing back to donors who have just helped to build a new build­ing, for ex­am­ple, and 10 or 15 years later say­ing, ‘This broke and has to be fixed.’ ”

The Crosby So­ci­ety planned-giv­ing cam­paign rolled out in late Novem­ber. “We’re hope­ful that peo­ple will see this as an op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in the cam­paign with­out nec­es­sar­ily hav­ing to make an up-front cash gift, but that they can in­clude the opera in their fu­ture es­tate plans,” Meya said.

Santa Fe Opera has raised $33 mil­lion of its $45 mil­lion goal. It is hoped that a seat-nam­ing cam­paign in the 2016 sea­son will raise an­other $2 mil­lion or so. About 300 seats have names al­ready, so more than 1,700 are avail­able for the project.

— Paul Wei­de­man

Top to bot­tom, pro­posed Wyn­cote Opera Club, viewed from the Stravin­sky Ter­race, Santa Fe Opera; over­view of pro­posed ad­di­tions and ex­ist­ing opera grounds; pro­posed Suzanne Hanson Poole Pro­duc­tion Cen­ter; ren­der­ings cour­tesy Matiz Ar­chi­tec­ture & De­sign

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