Santa Fe Festival · Santa Fe · August 2009

This production was conceived especially for Christine Brewer and, of course , for the very specific stage at Santa Fe.  Francisco Negrin took the piece at face value, as the wonderful, profound, sensual and tender masterpiece that it is and set out to prove that it could truly function dramaturgically, once again with the help of Ana Yepes' choreography and most memorably, a startlingly skilled, emotional theatrical and musical perfomance by Paul Groves and a surprisingly agile, totally physical performance by young baritone Tom Corbeil  who blended to perfection with the dancers.

Production Team
Set: Louis Desiré
Costumes:  Louis Desiré
Lighting:  Duane Schuler
Conductor:  Kenneth Montgomery

Cast included
Christine Brewer, Paul Groves, Wayne Tigges, Nicholas Pallesen, Aaron Blake, Jennifer Forni, Tom Corbeil, Matthew Morris

"On the following night Santa Fe regulars were offered an exceptional performance. We had the oportunity to witness a great production of Gluck's lLceste, in a staging very well conceived by Francisco Negrin"

Maria Nockin
Pro Opera
Oct 2009


"Director Francisco Negrin and choreographer Ana Yepes took the opera's integral dance music seriously, giving the corps of seven a distinctive movement style that was part Greek tragedy and part "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." Louis Désiré's set featured a large, white sphere with a lava-red center and long curving walls that closed to create the gates of hell—all variously shadowy or drenched in red by Duane Schuler's lighting; Mr. Désiré's costumes and masks for the gods and the underworld's ­dancing demons were beautiful and frightening."

Heidi Waleson
The Wall Street Journal

"Gluck's works present opera directors with certain challenges not found in the rest of the repertoire: what's the best way to deal with extended dance scenes? how do you create believable deus ex machina? and where does the Greek chorus fit into the action of an opera? Stage director Francisco Negrin joined forces with choreographer Ana Yepes and her self-titled dance company to conquer all of these obstacles and more in Santa Fe Opera's new production of Alceste.
Negrin's work with the Greek chorus could not have been better. Instead of extravagance, the director endowed his singers with simple hand motions to convey their melancholy. It worked marvelously, as what could have been tedious stand-and-sing became involved drama with little effort. ..... Choreographer Ana Yepes (daughter of famed Spanish guitarist Narciso Yepes) and her eponymous company took on the assignment of filling the dance scenes. To say Yepes scored a success would be an understatement. .....
Negrin's work in this production can't be overstated. The way the Spaniard had gods and mortals interact and the fire he inspired in Paul Groves were marvels in and of themselves. Overly dramatic gestures that doom other Greek-based operas to drivel worked well against Negrin's sets and in context with his cast. ....
Any company interested in staging a Gluck work – or for that matter any opera based on a Greek text – should use Santa Fe Opera's new production of Alceste as a guide. Simply put: it really was that good.

Paul Wolley
September 2009