Music: Opera on the Ranch

The traffic on the big, four-lane Santa Fe-Taos highway was fin to fender one evening last week. Five miles outside Santa Fe the line of cars turned off the highway, crept to the top of one of the low-lying foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and disgorged a crowd of dinner-jacketed men and bare-shouldered women. In the open theater on the far side of the hill, the lights were about to go up on the Southwest's first full season of resident, repertory-company opera.

For the curtain raiser, the brand-new Santa Fe Opera Association had selected a surefire heart-throbber—Puccini's Madame Butterfly. The...

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