• Daniel Catán
  • Salsipuedes, A Tale of Love, War and Anchovies (2004)

  • Associated Music Publishers Inc (World)
  • 3(pic).2.5(bcl).2/3.4Ctpt.2+btbn.1/timp.perc/pf.hp/4vc.4db; onstage 4perc
  • SAT Chorus (24 voices total)
  • 3S, Mz, 4T, Bar, B-bar, B, Spkr
  • libretto by Eliseo Alberto and Francisco Hinojosa; English trans: Shane Gasbarra and Daniel Catán
  • German, Spanish

Programme Note

Composer note
My new opera uses the rhythms [of] the Caribbean. The Caribbean, it's worth recalling, was the great melting pot of three fantastic music cultures. On the one hand there was the European culture brought by so many immigrants from the Continent; there was the very rich legacy from the Middle East brought by the Spanish in particular; and finally, there was the African stream. These elements combined to produce a remarkable result that has barely been explored. I consider the comic opera a very delicate genre. A comedy in this century cannot be the same as it was in the 17th or 18th century. 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. That is what makes it so very challenging.

— Daniel Catán

Cast List
CHUCHO, Clarinetist and singer for Los Delfines. Newly married to Magali. A pragmatic and slightly skeptical man: Baritone
MAGALI, Chucho's wife and Lucero's sister. A tender, easily-startled young woman: Mezzo-Soprano
THE COLONEL, Veteran of a thousand battles. Ulises' father. A slightly decrepit old man. A good father: Bass-Baritone
GENERAL GARCIA, President of the country. A real tin-pot dictator. A petty thief in the presidential palace: Tenor
SERGEANT GUZMAN, Personal assistant to General Garcia. A consummate traitor, who conceals his personal ambitions beneath the mask of a weak and obsequious man: Spoken part
EL CHINO, Exotic character. Sells lottery tickets. Fortune teller: Character Tenor
CAPTAIN MAGALLANES, Captain of EI Invencible. An old sea wolf. A close accomplice of General Garcia in his covert operations. Despite everything, a good man, who will know how to die with dignity: Bass
LIEUTENANT, The frigate's second-in-command: Tenor
LA CHINA AND ORQUIDEA, The port's painted ladies. Being quite young, they still have a lot of innocence: Sopranos
MADAME COLETTE, Hostess of a prosperous establishment, played by a baritone (same singer as El Coronel): Bass-Baritone
CHORUS - sopranos, mezzos and tenors (no basses)

The opera is set on the fictional island of Salsipuedes in 1943. 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.




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