Daniel Catán | Upcoming and Recent Opera Productions

Daniel Catán | Upcoming and Recent Opera Productions
Image: Il Postino; credit: Zach Mendez

The 19/20 and 20/21 seasons are abundant with both new and existing productions of operas by Daniel Catán. Commencing this weekend is Opera Santa Barbara's new production of Il Postino March 7 – 8, followed by performances on the horizon of La Hija de Rappaccini (Rappaccini's Daughter) in a new production, and the Swiss Premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas in 2021.

Daniel Catán was known particularly for his operas, which he composed in a neo-Romantic style that was compared variously to Puccini, Ravel, and Debussy. His composing lends itself particularly well to the human voice and features prominently in the majority of his works. Catán's opera Florencia en el Amazonas has the distinction of being the first opera in Spanish commissioned by a major American company and has had over 20 international stagings since the 1996 premiere at Houston Grand Opera.

In my work, I am proud to say, one can detect the enormous debt I owe to composers from Monteverdi to Alban Berg. But perhaps the greatest of my debts is having learnt that the originality of an opera need not involve the rejection of our tradition (which would be like blindly embracing the condition of an orphan), but rather the profound assimilation of it, so as to achieve the closest union between a text and its music.
— Daniel Catán

Catán's sudden death in April 2011 shocked the opera world, but his legacy lives on through his revered catalog of works.

Upcoming and Recent Productions

Il Postino
Libretto by the composer, based on the novel by Antonio Skármeta, and the film by Michael Radford.

Opera Santa Barbara, March 7 – 8, 2020
Crystal Manich, stage director
Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA

Opera Southwest, February 2 – 9, 2020
Crystal Manich, stage director
NHCC Journal Theatre, Albuquerque, NM

Virginia Opera, November 8 – 24, 2019
Crystal Manich, stage director
Norfolk, Fairfax, & Richmond, VA

The Spanish libretto supplies comedy and drama and Catán's lush, lyrical score shades of the likes of Puccini, Debussy and Villa-Lobos throughout — all the ingredients for beautiful music and captivating vocals, of which there were many.
The Virginia Gazette, Il Postino at Virginia Opera

The music is modern but not discordant, with several opportunities for beautiful duets and quartets…the music enhances the plot and the characters. It is a very integrated opera. All the performers are actors, as well as singers who move well. Even the chorus members are focused at all times.
Talkin' Broadway, Il Postino at Opera Southwest

Florencia en el Amazonas
Libretto by Marcela Fuentes-Berain

Theater St. Gallen,  May 8, 2021 *Swiss Premiere
Krystian Lada, stage director
Theater St Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland

Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra, April 26, 2020
Orchestral excerpts in concert
Rei Hotoda, conductor
William Saroyan Theatre, Fresno, CA

Pittsburgh Opera, November 9 – 17, 2019
Stephanie Havey, stage director (revival of Jose Maria Condemi's original production)
Benedum Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Catán's music is lush and melodic with beautiful arias for all the characters; his music is said to be Puccini-like in that regard. Conductor Antony Walker, a sure hand in the pit, and the Pittsburgh Opera never sounded better to me.
Opera Gene, Florencia en el Amazonas at Pittsburgh Opera

La Hija de Rappaccini (Rappaccini's Daughter)
Libretto by Juan Tovar, based on the play by Octavio Paz and the short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Sociedad Artística Sinaloense (SAS) in co-production with San Diego Opera
San Diego Opera, May 2021
Jardín Botánico Culiacán, Culiacán, Mexico, November 26 – 27, 2020
Lorena Maza, stage director

Formore information please contact Peggy Monastra: peggy.monastra@schirmer.com or Marcos Cuevas: marcos.cuevas@schirmer.com

Image: Il Postino; credit: Zach Mendez (Opera Santa Barbara)

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