Above: The rooflines of the Santa Fe Opera’s open-air theater swoop skyward. Built in 1968 to replace a far smaller space, it accommodates more than 2,200 fans from around the world. The season is under way as of June 30.

July 1975
In 1957, in the elegantly simple outdoor theater, Madama Butterfly was presented on the opening night of the Santa Fe Opera. It was a success—like everything that followed. And the beauty of the setting added to the enchantment. … What makes Santa Fe Opera so special is a combination of things. It’s not just the superb house with its fine acoustics. Of course, there are those who grumble about it being usable only in the summer. Surely, they say, an all-year, all-weather auditorium could have been built. … But to opera lovers … there’s that full moon overhead, the stars glittering in the thin, crisp air, the flashes of lightning and distant rumbles, the dark mountain peaks, the distant lights of Los Alamos (incorporated into the Butterfly production with subtle irony as the lights of Nagasaki).