I enjoyed my Santa Fe Opera experience. The house is marvelous, with good sight lines and excellent acoustics. The view of the country side on each side, and sometimes at the back, is pretty wonderful. I was disappointed that there were no storms during the performances I attended. July and August are the monsoon season in New Mexico, and it is pretty normal for it to rain in the evening.
New Mexico is a right to work state, which means that labor unions are always optional. The opera has a large number of apprentices who receive room and board and a tiny amount of money for their stay at SFO. I don't think this would be possible in California where opera is unionized. Maybe I should try to find out. I was told that the apprentices put on some kind of outfits and change the sets between acts, also something which would not be allowed in a union house.
All the singers seem to be young, which makes for a lively and attractive operatic experience. It also means that unusually demanding parts are not always filled to the level one might desire.
They make all of their own productions--sets, costumes, wigs--or so we were told. The tech people also seemed to be quite young. Money is being saved here and spent on the creative people. The quality of musical coaching is very high.
I enjoyed it and would go again.