Santa Fe Opera Stand-ins

Santafe.com - July 6, 2011

"Within two days, Santa Fe Opera Director Charles MacKay had to replace two major roles in Faust and La Boheme."

On July 4, MacKay announced that Dimitri Pittas, who was to assume the title role in Faust on August 8, fell while performing in Macbeth at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and tore his ACL. Following emergency surgery, he will be on crutches for at least seven weeks. Bryan Hymel, who is currently singing the title role, will continue until the end of the season on August 27.
 
Then on July 6, we learned that baritone Keith Phares, cast as Schaunard in the current Santa Fe Opera revival of La Bohéme, has withdrawn from the remaining performances for personal reasons.
 
Replacing Phares is Markus Beam, who will appear for the first time on Friday night, July 8, and continue until the end of the season.  Beam, an apprentice in 1999, returned to Santa Fe as a principal artist to sing the role of Schaunard in the original 2007 production of La Bohéme. He received his artist diploma from the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, and since then has established a rising career. 
 
Even at this late date, the opera company is handling it in stride. “The transitions are pretty simple,” said Dolores McElroy, spokeswoman for Santa Fe Opera. “We’re prepared. We’re lucky to have Markus Beam sing Schaunard, as he was fantastic in the original 2007 Paul Curran production.”