I’ve been to so many different places in the past few weeks that I sometimes have to check my datebook to be sure of where I am. At the moment I seem to be in Tesuque, New Mexico (pop. 909), home of Tesuque Pueblo. Readers of Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop know it as the place to which Archbishop Latour retired to enjoy “that period of reflection which is the happiest conclusion to a life of action”:
This period of reflection the Archbishop spent on his little country estate, some four miles north of Santa Fé. Long before his retirement from the cares of the diocese, Father Latour bought those few acres in the red sand-hills near the Tesuque pueblo, and set out an orchard which would be bearing when the time came for him to rest.
Unlike the archbishop, I haven’t retired, nor do I expect to spend much time meditating in Tesuque. I’ve come to New Mexico to spend a few days at the Santa Fe Opera, attending performances of Adriana Mater, Billy Budd, Falstaff and The Marriage of Figaro and conferring with some of the people who’ll be involved in next year’s premiere of The Letter. I’m staying in the guest house of James McGrath Morris, editor of The Biographer’s Craft. Jamie and his wife Patty kindly offered their hospitality when they learned that I’d be in Santa Fe this summer, and I’m glad I took them up on it–I can’t imagine a prettier place. I took the Turquoise Trail from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, and I’m still a little dizzy from the beauty of the scenery I saw along the way.
My trip to Santa Fe is an interlude, a stopover between visits to theaters in California. On Saturday Mrs. T and I were in San Diego, where we saw The Merry Wives of Windsor and a rare revival of Samuel Taylor’s The Pleasure of His Company at the Old Globe and stayed at the Park Manor Suites, a slightly rundown but wonderfully nutty hotel built in 1926 and conveniently located across the street from Balboa Park, home of the Old Globe.
Mrs. T dropped me off at the San Diego airport yesterday morning, then drove to Laguna Beach to spend a few days visiting a cousin while I take care of opera-related business in Santa Fe. We’ll meet again on Friday at Shakespeare Santa Cruz to see Itamar Moses’ Bach in Leipzig, Lanford Wilson’s Burn This, and our second All’s Well That Ends Well of the season (Shakespeare & Company is also performing All’s Well in Lenox, Massachusetts).
From Santa Cruz we fly back to Manhattan, change clothes, and see Hair in Central Park. Then we’re off again, this time on a hectic two-week swing through Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, about which more as it unfolds.
(First of two parts)