Event Description

Hope for the Planet   new date!

May 30 | 7:00 pm at The Lensic

Co-Presented by The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus and WildEarth Guardians

In their first collaboration celebrating the richness of our natural world, The Santa Fe Symphony and WildEarth Guardians embark on a hope-filled, exploration of our planet! Don’t miss this spectacular performance … celebrating the Earth, our children, and our collective future through the lens of master composer Claude Debussy and his most brilliant orchestral work “La Mer”  with compelling multimedia visuals. In finale, John Rutter’s most magnificent and emotional composition “Mass for the Children” features The Santa Fe Symphony Chorus and The Symphony Children’s Ensemble the powerful voices of soprano Carelle Flores and baritone Michael Anthony McGee. Many thanks to Concert Sponsor Descartes Labs, with additional support by the Defenders of Wildlife.


“Morning Sun”


La Mer

“From dawn to noon on the sea”—De l’aube à midi sur la mer–très lent–animez peu à peu (si mineur)
“Play of the waves”— Jeux de vagues–allegro (dans un rythme très souple)–animé (do dièse mineur)
“Dialogue of the wind and the sea”—Dialogue du vent et de la mer–animé et tumultueux–cédez très légèrement (do dièse mineur)



“Protosymphonic Voice”


Mass of the Children

   Sanctus and Benedictus
   Agnus Dei

Tickets range from $22 to $80. All ticket sales are final—No refunds. No children under 6 years of age.


ABOUT WildEarth Guardians

WildEarth Guardians works to protect and restore the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers and health of the American West. With more than 150,000 e-activists and supporters, WildEarth Guardians works to engage and activate elected officials and agency decision makers to ensure that the natural world is respected and valued. Learn more at: wildearthguardians.org



This event was rescheduled from April 5, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New Mexico Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham have temporarily prohibiting mass gatherings in New Mexico through April 9, 2020, that bring together 100 or more people in a single room, such as auditoriums, theatres, etc. 


Concert Notes

La Mer
CALUDE DEBUSSY (1862–1918)

Debussy’s La Mer—“The Sea”—is one of the finest examples of impressionism in music. The composer depicts rich evocations of the ocean using a multitude of orchestral colors and creative and progressive harmonies. The piece has three movements, which Debussy actually refers to as symphony sketches. Each of these sketches paints a picture in sound of a different aspect of ocean life.

The opening movement, “From dawn to noon on the sea,” imitates the maritime moods one might experience during these hours, opening with mysterious sonorities and quickly brightening as the sea comes to life. “Play of the waves,” the second movement, is as quick and nimble as flowing water, the music like an ever-shifting mosaic of color. The finale, “Dialogue of the wind and the sea,” is animated and majestic, capturing the clash of the two elements before the sun shines through the clouds at the finale.

Debussy composed La Mer between 1903 and 1905, completing it in a hotel on the coast of the English Channel. The first performance was in Paris on October 15, 1905.

—Program Note by Dr. David Nelson

Mass of the Children
JOHN RUTTER (1945– )

Mass of the Children was written in response to an invitation to compose a new work for a concert during the American Choral Directors’ Association national convention in New York in February 2003. Rutter’s larger-scale choral works have been relatively few—the Gloria, the Requiem, and the Magnificat are the most often performed—but each one has a distinct character. Mass of the Children represents something new in the composer’s work insofar as it was conceived with an integral role for a children’s choir alongside an adult mixed choir, two soloists, and orchestra. The role of the children’s choir is to add a further dimension to the traditional Latin Mass sung by the adult choir, sometimes commenting, sometimes amplifying the meaning and mood.

The Mass text itself (a Missa Brevis, that is to say a mass without a Credo section) is mainly sung by the adult choir or the soloists. The children sometimes sing the Latin—for example at the Christe eleison, the opening of the Gloria and at the Benedictus—but elsewhere they and the two soloists sing specially chosen English texts which in some way reflect upon or illuminate the Latin. The work opens with two verses from Bishop Thomas Ken’s morning hymn for the Scholars of Winchester College, and it closes with the children singing his evening hymn with Tallis’ timeless melody, as the adults intone the traditional Dona nobis pacem, a prayer for peace. This creates a framework (from waking to sleeping) within which other texts and moods appear in kaleidoscopic succession, like events in a day or landmarks in a life.

—Program Note by John Rutter

Carele Flores Soprano

Increasingly noted for her exciting performances in opera and concert work, soprano Carelle Flores recently debuted with Opera Southwest as Maria in their newly commissioned opera Bless me Ultima, with the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra as Maria in West Side Story, and with The Dallas Opera as Madrigal Singer Manon Lescaut. In March 2020, Flores will make her debut with The Santa Fe Symphony as the soprano soloist for John Rutter’s Mass of the Children, and in summer 2020 she will return to the Music in the Mountains Festival as the soprano soloist for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, after having been featured as a soloist for their 2019 final gala concert. Notable previous engagements include Musetta in La Bohème and Barbarina in Le Nozze de Figaro at Palm Beach Opera, Musetta in La Bohème at Sarasota Opera, Mimi in La Bohème at Ashlawn Opera, Adele in Die Fledermaus with the Sarasota Opera, Lucia cover in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor with the Virginia Opera, Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto with Opera Carolina, and Mimi in La Bohème, Constanze in Abduction from the Seraglio, and Maria in West Side Story at Indiana University Opera.  Read more …

Michael Anthony McGee Baritone

Hailed by Opera News as possessing “a sturdy baritone and terrific swagger with equal portions of baritonal power and graceful subtlety,” Michael Anthony McGee is enjoying success on both the operatic and concert stages, in all styles from the Renaissance to Contemporary repertoire.  Mr. McGee has sung leading roles throughout the United States, including the title roles in both Verdi’s FALSTAFF and Puccini’s GIANNI SCHICCHI with the Seattle Opera, Alphonse LA FAVORITE and the title role in Borodin’s PRINCE IGOR with the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program, the American premiere of Tan Dun’s TEA: A MIRROR OF SOUL and Orest IPHIGÉNIE EN TAURIDE at the Santa Fe Opera, and Hermann Ortel DIE MEISTERSINGER at the Tanglewood Music Festival under the baton of Maestro James Levine. In his two years spent as a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap Opera Company, Mr. McGee added the roles of Don Geronio IL TURCO IN ITALIA, Snug A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and was featured in the title role of Sondheim’s SWEENEY TODD with the National Symphony Orchestra in the 7000-seat Filene Center. Read more …

The Symphony Chorus Carmen Flórez-Mansi, Choral Director

The Santa Fe Symphony Chorus has a considerable history of musical excellence in choral performance. The Chorus of Santa Fe was founded in 1979, five years before The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra. In 1986, that group joined The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra to form the present organization known as The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. As a result, The Symphony gained a choral component, and the choir acquired an orchestra to provide symphonic settings to choral music.

& Musicians

Principal Conductor

Guillermo Figueroa

Choral Director

Carmen Flórez-Mansi


The Santa Fe Symphony Chorus


Carelle Flores


Michael Anthony McGee

Meet The Composers

Maestro Guillermo Figueroa

Principal Conductor
One of the most versatile and respected musical artists of his generation—renowned as conductor, violinist, violist, and concertmaster—Guillermo Figueroa is the Principal Conductor of The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. He also serves as the Music Director of the Music in the Mountains Festival in Colorado, Music Director of the Lynn Philharmonia in Florida, and is the founder of the highly acclaimed Figueroa Music and Arts Project in Albuquerque. Additionally, he was the Music Director of both the New Mexico Symphony and the Puerto Rico Symphony. With this last orchestra, he performed to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall in 2003, the Kennedy Center in 2004, and Spain in 2005

Carmen Flórez-Mansi

Carmen Flórez-Mansi, a native of New Mexico, currently serves as the Pastoral Associate for Music at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Since 1989, she has performed as a vocal artist, choral conductor, vocal instructor, and liturgy specialist throughout the Southwest, including solo appearances with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale and The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. Mrs. Flórez-Mansi is also the Director of the Choral Arts Society at St. Michael’s High School, which she founded in 2014. Under her direction, this advanced 42-member chorus won the New Mexico Music Educators 2017 State 4A Choral Championship which took place at Cleveland High School in Albuquerque. In just their third year, this was the Choral Arts Society’s first year competing in state finals.

Choral Director