Santa Fe mourns its #1 donor

Santa Fe mourns its #1 donor


norman lebrecht

August 04, 2020

Edgar Foster Daniels, who died aged 88 last week, was heir to a newspaper fortune who became a Broadway and TV actor.

In 1983 he returned home and became the major donor behind Santa Fe Opera.

He was also served on the board of the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago, and supported productions at the Salzburg and Bayreuth festivals.



  • Enquiring Mind says:

    One of the “old school” rich who have an interest in cultural and support it financially. Thanks and RIP.

  • Greg Tiwidichitch says:

    Did he have plans for Santa Fe Opera when he passed??

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Perhaps a tad too soon to ask?

      Rest in peace.

      • Money Talks!! says:

        No, money is more important than opera.

        The “#1 Donor” headline says it all!

        Poor Liberals…sarc

        CHANTING IN UNISON: “No money, no peace”!

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Let’s hope he did, my fellow Greg.
      The Napa Valley Symphony sank without a trace as soon as its principal benefactor died. His wife wasn’t into music.

  • May Edgar Foster Daniels in rest in peace.

    In spite of its glories, the Santa Fe Opera is a remarkable anomaly for the USA and also part of a larger picture of how our arts funding system continues to fail.

    Since 1979, the top 1 percent of households in New Mexico has experienced a 55 percent growth in income, while the average income for all other households has fallen by 9 percent. Santa Fe has become a Mecca for the wealthy while most of the indigenous Hispanic and Native people who gave the city its remarkable culture can no longer afford to live there.

    In 2016, 20.4 percent of New Mexico residents lived below the poverty line, and the trend has been downward. The state generally ranks as the poorest in the USA. During the pandemic shutdown and summer vacation, the schools have had to continue their free meal programs to keep children from literally starving.

    After having lived in Europe for the last 40 years, and having experienced the wide demographic that can afford to attend the continent’s public opera houses and occupy good seats, Santa Fe with its orientation toward the wealthy and good seats so dearly priced come across to me as a grotesque social travesty. As in most of the USA, our rare opera offerings are often an occasion to flaunt wealth and class division.

    We should certain admire donors like Daniels, but we should not lose sight of what our arts funding system by and for the wealthy actually creates. Denial obviously isn’t working.

    • Enquiring Mind says:

      The Hispanic and Native Americans didn’t give it opera, did they? They didn’t put Santa Fe “on the map”, culturally that has brought in investment. If it wasn’t for “rich” people propping up the economy, there would be more than 20% below the poverty line.

      • With their beautiful architecture, art works, cuisine and life style, among many other things, they did put Santa Fe on the cultural map, hence its attractiveness to the wealthy.

      • The large increase in the wealthy in Santa Fe has not created much trickle down effect, but it has greatly increased the cost of living. The principle problem in both Santa Fe and Taos is a lack of affordable housing.

  • fflambeau says:

    So he inherited wealth and was an actor I never heard of. And his money got him on the boards of many groups. So what?