You don't have to be a bass-baritone or a soprano to participate in the Santa Fe Opera's summer production of The Last Savage—all you need is a camera. The Opera is summoning filmmakers the nation over to produce short films set to two of The Last Savage's arias, in its Search for The Last Savage filmmaking contest.
The video contest was created in part to bring attention to the The Last Savage, a somewhat lesser-known work of composer Gian Carlo Menotti, according to SFO Press Associate Dolores McElroy.
"It's funny and it's topical and the composer's 100th birthday is this year," McElroy says. "We recognize the importance of new media and getting people involved in creative and different ways."
The Last Savage tells the story of Kitty, an anthropologist who concludes that she must capture the last savage man before she can wed the Indian prince her millionaire father wishes her to. Her father pays a commoner named Abdul to pose as a savage man of the jungle and allow himself to be captured by Kitty, but he didn't anticipate Kitty and Abdul falling in love.
The relatively contemporary opera—both created and set in the 1960s—is rarely performed, but that did not deter SFO. In fact, it served as impetus to put it on.
"That's really part of what the Santa Fe Opera does," McElroy says. "We do things that don't get wide production elsewhere and try to give lesser-known works of renowned composers excellent staging."
SFO seeks two short films set to the two arias from The Last Savage available for download on SFO's website. Video entries can be uploaded on the same website through May 23.
Videos must use one of the two arias for the soundtrack, fit the exact length of the aria and must not add additional sound.
Visually, SFO is open to film projects ranging from literal narratives to the experimental and abstract.
Finalists will be selected by a SFO jury and posted on its website. The winner will be selected by public vote beginning May 30.
The Grand Prize Winner receives a $1,000 cash prize, a two-night stay at Encantado Resort and Spa (plus a trip to Santa Fe if they are not local) and two tickets to the Aug. 5 performance of The Last Savage. Several runners-up receive cash prizes of $500 or $100. The winning films will be screened at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on July 17.
The Santa Fe Opera's first production of The Last Savage is on July 23, after which it runs once per week through Aug. 25.
Search for the Last Savage
Video submissions through May 23
Winners announced June 13