Santa Fe Opera and Birding Tours

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Santa Fe Opera Festival 2019

Every year the Santa Fe opera performs 5 separate operas and for one week every year in August, the Santa Fe Opera performs all five operas. For 2019 after the festival week of operas, Renée Fleming will be performing a one-time concert.  There will be Southwest birding every day:  There will be morning and afternoon bird walks and trip to culturally significant sites and there will be free time for you to visit the great city of Santa Fe.  

Opera Pavilion:  The Santa Fe Opera is an outdoor pavilion that is completely covered and so no concern for getting rained on during the evening rain showers and when an evening rain shower does come by, it is beautiful to watch is pass by; to smell the rain and watch the lighting safe from your opera chair.  In the arid Southern Rockies, rain comes by as isolated short-lived storms and is always welcome and wonderful.  

Beautiful Walks:  There will be visits to the La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs, the Rio Charma Valley, Santa Fe National Forest, Valles Caldera National Preserve, Bandelier National Monument, Hyde Memorial State Park, Randall Davey Audubon Center, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, Georgia O'Keeffe’ s Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, Pecos National Historic Site and historic walking tours of Santa Fe.
Audubon Center:  At the edge of Santa Fe is the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary. Birds to see: Steller's Jay, Spotted Towhee, Northern Mocking Bird, Sage Thrasher, Canyon Towhee, Vesper Sparrow, Northern Roughed-winged Swallows and Yellow-headed Blackbirds.
Santa Fe Mountains:  About 30 minutes outside of Santa Fe are the arid Ponderosa Pine mountains of the Southwest. This is the southernmost area of the Southern Rockies. Home to many unique birds that love the arid west:  Juniper Titmouse, Pinyon Jay, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Clark' Nutcracker, Mountain Chickadee, Cassin's Finch, Western Tanager and Townsend's Solitaire.
Georgia O'Keeffe:  The Ghost Ranch, just outside Santa Fe was the home, studio and inspiration for many of Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings. The 21,000 acres ranch is and museum is open to the public. We will spend the day here birding and walking and being inspired by this wonderful landscape. Favorite birds here: Black-billed Magpie and the Broad-tailed Hummingbird.
Lodging:  We will be staying for seven nights at a family owned B&B, located just a 10-minute walk for the historic downtown of Santa Fe. Each room is a small suite with plenty of open space, a sitting area, kitchenette and decorated with beautiful southwest design in an historic adobe building.
Preview Dinners:  The Santa Fe Opera has wonderful pre-opera talks and dinners. For three nights, dinner will be at the opera restaurant and every night we will attend the opera pre-talk discussion.
Picnic Dinners:  The Santa Fe Opera is famous for its "Tailgating" parties before the opera. There will be three nights that we will have a picnic dinner at the opera.  It is a unique and fun experience at the Santa Fe opera and people show up early and "tailgate" for dinner.  The opera house also sells picnic baskets to accommodate these activities.  The opera house opens the parking lot 3-hours early to accommodate tailgaters. The opera house is located about 15 minutes north of Santa Fe surrounded by a beautiful arid southwest landscape of mesas, pinyon pines, chamisa and sagebrush. The weather in August is perfect; warm and dry during the day and cool, with occasional showers in the evening.
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If you are a birder and an opera lover, you will not want to miss this event.


  • 1)  Renée Fleming makes her Santa Fe opera debut singing the Letters of Georgia
  • 2)  World premier opera by composer Poul Ruders, The Thirteenth Child
  • 3) Birding tours every day in the beautiful state of New Mexico. 
  • 4) Visiting Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch home and studio in Abiquiu.
  • 5) Great southwest cuisine.
  • 6) Seeing a great opera every night!

 Printable Bird List 
(This is a checklist of birds that we have seen on this trip) 

  • Travel Dates: August 4 - 11, 2019 (annual trip, dates vary each year)
  • Group Size: 10 travelers plus guides, spaces left for 2019 = 4
  • Trip Length: 8 days
  • Rates Rate per person = $3,870 (based on double occupancy)
  • Rates include:  Lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, Santa Fe opera tickets for five nights, Renée Fleming concert, daily birding tours, museum and park entrance fees
  • Not included: Airfare to Albuquerque

Special offer:  Included with your trip (one per room) is a copy of the field guide “Sibley Birds West: Field Guide to Birds of Western North America” by David Allen Sibley.  You will receive this when you reserve your trip so you will have time to study and know the beautiful birds! 

Basin Itinerary

Day 1: Sunday August 4, Fly to Albuquerque, New Mexico

  • Arrival day:  You will be greeted at the Albuquerque International Sunport Airport (ABQ) and transferred to your hotel in Santa Fe. 

Day 2: Monday August 5

  • Birding:  Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Santa Fe and Cochiti Lake
  • Opera:  Cosí Fan Tutte (1790) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Day 3: Tuesday August 6

  • Birding:  Hyde Memorial State Park and the Santa Fe National Forest
  • Dinner:  Opera pre-view dinner at the opera house
  • Opera:  Jenůfa (1904) Leoš Janáček

Day 4: Wednesday August 7

  • Morning birding:  Rio Charma Valley, Abiquiu and Carson National Forest
  • Afternoon:  Georgia O’Keeffe’ s Ghost Ranch and studio in Abiquiu
  • Dinner:  Tailgate party at the opera
  • Opera:  La Bohème (1896) Giacomo Puccini

Day 5: Thursday August 8

  • Birding trip:  Bandelier National Monument and Valles Caldera National Preserve
  • Dinner:  Tailgate party at the opera
  • Opera:  The Pearl Fishers (1863) Georges Bizet

Day 6: Friday August 9

  • Birding:  Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Pecos National Historic site
  • Dinner:  Tailgate party at the opera
  • Opera:  The Thirteenth Child (2019 world premier) Poul Ruders

Day 7: Saturday August 10

  • Birding:  La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs and surrounding open space
  • Concert:  Renée Fleming sings “Letters from Georgia” composer Kevin Puts

Day 8: Sunday August 11

  • Departure day:  You will be transferred from your hotel in Santa Fe to the Albuquerque airport

Please note:  The lodging described in this itinerary is always our first choice based on availability.  Details of this trip are a little vague as it is VERY flexible. Destinations throughout the trip are based on the desires, ability and goals of the group.

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