The Mexican premiere of Daniel Catán's 'Salsipuedes'

The Mexican premiere of Daniel Catán's 'Salsipuedes'
Daniel Catán's third opera, Salsipuedes, A Tale of Love, War and Anchovies (2004), has its long-awaited Mexican premiere next month on July 15-16 2017 at the Centro Cultural Mexiquense Bicentenario in Texcoco, Mexico. This production is directed by Iván Ávila Dueñas, conducted by Rodrigo Macias, and features the Orquesta Sinfónica Mexiquense and an all-Mexican cast of singers.

Salsipuedes — with a libretto by Eliseo Alberto and Francisco Hinojosa — is an original story set on a fictional island in the Carribbean in 1943, a story of power and corruption. The island is governed by an insane dictator who decides to declare war on Nazi Germany. When the island’s one-boat navy gears up to take on the Nazis, the males of two newly married couples are mistakenly taken aboard the ship, to the consternation of their wives. The couples are finally reunited in Puerto Alegre, where they learn about love, trust, and fidelity. Once reconciled, the couples unearth a treacherous plot by the captain of the ship, resulting in tragedy, sacrifice, and new beginnings.

Often referred to as a comedy — Salsipuedes also has a dark underbelly. As Catán said: My characters are the men in the street who want to get on in their lives but get caught in the ridiculous plot of a corrupt politician. For me, comedy is a very serious matter, because it has to joke about things that are otherwise difficult to discuss, and it must also reflect contemporary issues. You have to draw a smile from the listener and at the same time deliver a very serious message.

The sound of Salsipuedes is heavily influenced by Caribbean rhythms and is also distinct for its orchestra, which is dominated by winds, brass, harp, piano, and percussion; it has only the low strings of cello and bass.

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