This is a love letter and a reflection of not only the language but of the cultural heritage and idealism and spiritual understanding of nature. And the value in seeing that an opera can be empowering to anyone who identifies as Latin, Latino, Latinx, or even indigenous people. There’s a mentality and there’s a cultural way of how you behave or how you think, that is not always featured in museums, is not always featured in paintings, and is not always featured in operatic repertoire. And we’re finally here. - Ailyn Pérez
G. Schirmer & Associated Music Publishers are thrilled to see an abundance of Spanish-language operas filling stages around the United States this season. History is currently unfolding at The Metropolitan Opera with the premiere of Daniel Catán and Marcela Fuentes-Berain’s Florencia en el Amazonas, which opened November 16 and is running through December 14, 2023. This production marks the first time in almost a century that the Met is presenting an opera in Spanish. As conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin took the podium on opening night, a cry emanated from the audience: "¡Viva la ópera en español!”
"Writing opera in Spanish had to become, for me, much more than just using my country's symbols and its language," wrote Daniel Catán in 1997. "I needed to explore the very foundations of opera, the ground from which it emerges, that which it tries to capture, and the reasons for which we find it powerful and meaningful."
In 2010, shortly before his untimely passing, Catán delivered a prescient keynote address at the annual Opera America conference. "Opera has become attractive even to those that claimed to be 'allergic' to it," he said. His speech went on to exalt the expanding nature of opera in the United States, optimistically looked forward to the "Golden Age of opera" in America. The abudance of Spanish language operas being produced this season is one of many indicators that this Golden Age is upon us.
The Met production of Florencia stars Mexican-American soprano Ailyn Pérez as Florencia Grimaldi. This spellbinding new production by Mary Zimmerman brings the mysterious and seductive realm of the Amazon to the Met stage. The cast also features Gabriella Reyes, Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Mario Chang, Michael Chioldi, Greer Grimsley and Mattia Olivieri; set designs are by Riccardo Hernández, costumes by Ana Kuzmanic, and projections by S. Katy Tucker. The production will be broadcast Live in HD on December 9. Learn more about the inspiration and story behind Florencia on the most recent episode of Aria Code.
In October, Florencia at long last received it's first fully-staged presentation in Catán's hometown of Mexico City's Teatro de Bellas Artes. This new production directed by Enrique Singer featured Dhyana Arom in the title role and was and conducted by Iván López Reynoso.
"Catán’s language is vivid romanticism, with evocations of ballets by Stravinsky and helpings of Ravel. It is lyrical, colourful, with great vitality, each rhythm and phrasequesting for transformation, pregnant with the characters’ longing for love." (George Grella, Financial Times)
Following recent success at the San Diego and San Francisco Operas, Los Angeles Opera presents Gabriela Lena Frank and Nilo Cruz's El último sueño de Frida y Diego (The Last Dream of Frida and Diego) from November 18 to December 9, 2023. Resident Conductor Lina González-Granados leads a cast packed with international talent, including Daniela Mack, Alfredo Daza and Ana María Martínez. Frank and Cruz's tribute to one of the most pivotal romances in history was heralded as a "dreamy magic-realist masterpiece" by the LA Times.
In the coming season, El último sueño de Frida y Diego will return on stage at Opera Omaha in May, 2024. With Conductor Ilyich Rivas on the podium, the production stars Stephanie Sanchez as Frida Kahlo, Levi Hernandez as Diego Rivera, Laura León as Catarina, and César Aguilar as Leonardo.
Opera Orlando's upcoming production of Frida - a very different musical portrait of Frida Kahlo, composed in 1991 by Robert Xavier Rodríguez to a libretto by Hilary Blecher, Migdalia Cruz, and Josefina García - welcomes back Mexican soprano Cecilia Violetta López to sing the iconic title role. Venezuelan baritone Bernardo Bermudez makes his company debut as Frida Kahlo’s formidable husband Diego Rivera. Director John de los Santos also makes his company debut with this new production; maestro Jorge Parodi conducts.