Le Bell Canto by June LeBell

From Santa Fe to San Angelo

Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:00 am

by June LeBell

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Flew yesterday from cool, breezy, sunny Santa Fe to torridly hot (how's 106?) San Angelo in West Texas to see Ed's family and catch up a bit.

They (whoever They are..) say it may be hot but it's dry. For me, that's not so good. Everything cracks. I'll take 88 with Sarasota humidity, anytime.

San Angelo, which had a population of about 20,000 while Ed was growing up, now is up to a metropolis of 94,000 and is, except for the terrible drought they've had for a couple of years, quite beautiful.

But right now I want to tie up loose ends in Santa Fe . Remember I mentioned that Curtis luncheon? It was held in the absolutely glorious home of Plato and Dorothy Karayanis, both voice majors when they attended Curtis in the 50s. Dorothy had an exciting career as a mezzo and Plato went on to become General Director of the Dallas Opera and Ed's known them, through work and friendship, for many years.

Their home is what I always imagined Santa Fe to be - but even more so. Spacious, with sunlight streaming in from everywhere, it sits on a hill overlooking a vista you only see in magazines: valley, mountains, scrub desert seem to go on for miles.

The guests at the lunch were almost all graduates of Curtis and, because of the chamber music and opera taking place in Santa Fe, were among the most illustrious performers in the world.

You do know that Curtis is probably the most elite music conservatory in the country. Its student body numbers only about 150 (Juilliard is a giant by comparison) and everyone is on scholarship. The president of Juilliard once said to me, "We get the students Curtis rejects..."

The great reunion of the day, though, was Ed's meeting up with a college friend of his from more than 50 years ago at North Texas University (which now, by the way, has the largest music school in the country!) In other words, between the terrific spread Dorothy and Plato gave us and the inspiring, fun conversation, we had a great time.

There are two more Santa Fe restaurants I want to tell you about, by the way. Luminaria, which is in a gorgeous hotel downtown, has one of the most romantic settings - - outdoor garden, church bells chiming - - and exceptional menus I've encountered.

And Geronimo, on Canyon Road, is not to be missed. I'll go into more detail about that at a later time but suffice it to say it's probably the best restaurant I've encountered in decades.
More about Geronimo and the final opera we saw: "King Roger," next time.

Now - - off to eat lunch in San Angelo.


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