Opera Southwest

A Part of the WFMT Radio Network Opera Series

For cast lists, please visit the Opera Series Overview.

Opera Southwest has built a reputation among opera aficionados as an under-the-radar destination for exceptional performances of rarely performed operas. Two Opera Southwest productions feature in the 2023 WFMT Opera Series – Rossini’s Le comte Ory, and Héctor Armienta’s Zorro. Music Director, conductor, and composer Anthony Barrese leads the group.

Premiered in 1828 in Paris, Giaochino Rossini’s Le Comte Ory is one of the Pesaro master’s greatest comedies. Carefree, silly, and brimming with melody, this production is sure to delight listeners. The eponymous Count Ory is a wily fraud and womanizer. While all the men in town are called away to war, Ory seizes the opportunity to pursue the now unguarded women of the village. But they’ve all taken a vow of chastity – even the Countess Adèle, who has the misfortune to have caught the Count’s eye. With increasingly silly ploys and schemes, including disguising himself as a nun, the Count attempts to seduce the Countess. All is for naught, and just as a case of mistaken identity comes to a hilarious climax, the rascal is left frustrated. Starring a veritable who’s who of Opera Southwest’s favorite singers, this will be the eleventh Rossini opera presented by Opera Southwest and conductor Anthony Barrese.

Based on and inspired by the masked vigilante of pulp fiction fame, Zorro is a swashbuckling adventure opera. Set in Los Angeles when it was still a colony of Spain, this re-telling of the Zorro legend naturally follows Diego de la Vega, esteemed swordsman and Spanish nobleman, as he fights for the poor and enslaved. Filled with all the romance, swordplay and humor that is a trademark of the Zorro universe.

Opera Southwest (OSW) is Albuquerque’s opera company and its mission is to produce quality, professional, enjoyable and accessible opera in an intimate setting for audiences of all ages. The company was founded in 1972 as Albuquerque Opera Theatre by Dr. Edward T. Peter, Maestro Kurt Frederick and others. The 2020-2021 season is Opera Southwest’s 48th year of producing world-class opera in Albuquerque.


About the Host

Known for her “powerful, crystal-clear voice,” Kathlene Ritch (Lohengrin) has sung with such noted ensembles as the New York Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, and the Vienna Philharmonic. She made her solo debut at Lincoln Center with the American Symphony Orchestra in Listz’s Dante’s Inferno. With that same ensemble, she recorded a live concert version of Die ägyptische Helena as Hermione opposite Deborah Voigt’s Helen. Kathlene’s true passion, musical theater, has been a lifelong pursuit. Two of her career highlights were performing Sweeney Todd at Lincoln Center, and Carousel at Carnegie Hall. Kathlene lives in Santa Fe where she sings with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, is the accompanist for the Santa Fe High School choral and musical theater programs, as well as cantor and children’s choir director at the Church of the Holy Faith. She still travels around the country singing with the Grammy-winning ensemble, Conspirare, most recently as a soloist in the oratorio Considering Matthew Shepard, which was the subject of a PBS documentary in 2018.

Kathlene is also an on-air announcer for Classical 95.5 KHFM Santa Fe/Albuquerque. She is the host of all live Broadcasts of Opera Southwest on KHFM, for which she has won a “Golden Mike” award from the New Mexico Broadcasters Association.


This program is a part of the WFMT Radio Network Opera Series, a series designed to complement the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts to fill out the year with great Opera content. The series begins in June and lasts until December.




Category: Operas
Duration: 2-hour / Varies by Opera
Frequency: Flexible
Availability: 10/28/2023 - 11/10/2023

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  • Host: Kathlene Ritch, 95.5 KHFM Classical Public Radio
  • Producer: Brent Stevens, 95.5 KHFM Classical Public Radio
  • Engineer: Brent Stevens, 95.5 KHFM Classical Public Radio