Eastman Opera Theatre (EOT) presents Daniel Catán’s Spanish-language opera Florencia en el Amazonas (1996), inspired by Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez’s novel Love in the Time of Cholera. This opera will conclude the 2022-23 EOT season and takes place in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre from March 30-April 2. Alongside conductor Wilson Southerland, Octavio Cardenas makes his Eastman directorial debut. Florencia en el Amazonas will be sung in Spanish with English supertitles –– a first for EOT. Cardenas shares that one of his favorite things about the opera is its exquisite use of language. “It’s written in beautiful Spanish; the language and melodies are gorgeous for all of the characters.”
Florencia en el Amazonas charts a nautical voyage across the Amazon River for Florencia Grimaldi, a famous opera singer who contemplates the past and future enroute to her next performance in Brazil. The opera concerns what its Mexican-born composer described as “the journey to transcendent love…with all its intricacies, subtleties, wretchedness and glorious happiness,” with a cast of sympathetic and generally believable characters. García Márquez’s story employs magic realism, a narrative technique that is characterized by the matter-of-fact inclusion of fantastic or mythical elements into seemingly realistic fiction. Catán’s setting of this intriguing story paints the characters in richly varied music of ravishing beauty, particularly for the protagonist, Florencia, a legendary but intensely private opera singer harboring a burning desire to find her long-lost lover Cristóbal.
“The passengers of El Dorado find out that life and love, just like the waters of a river, wait for no one and always move forward,” says Cardenas. “As they embark on a trip through the magical landscape of the Amazon, they discover the meaning of living in the moment – whether happy or sad – and soon realize that the things we yearn for may be closer than we think.” Those who are familiar with the style of a Puccini opera will find Florencia en el Amazonas has a recognizable feel, bearing “a little bit of Puccini color, with touches of modern style.”
Florencia en el Amazonas leans into the dichotomies of life – delight versus sorrow, magic versus reality – and the set design follows suit. A boat deck backed by an intricate steering wheel centers the action, surrounded by the mysterious and lush Amazon Forest, enabling magical interactions for the passengers that elevates the river into a nuanced character in the story.
Eastman Opera Theatre’s performances of Florencia en el Amazonas are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday 3/30, Friday 3/31, and Saturday 4/1, with a matinee at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday 4/2. This production is double-cast and runs for two hours including an intermission.
Tickets are $20.00 for general admission. Internally, students, faculty, and staff may present their URID to receive one free ticket. Tickets can be purchased at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 433 East Main St., or online at EastmanTheatre.org.
View our Concerts and Events Calendar for more information about this performance and other Eastman events.
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About Eastman Opera Theatre:
Eastman Opera Theatre offers a comprehensive program of training and performance opportunities for the modern singer-actor. Each year, productions feature a wide range of musical styles, unusual lyric forms, and both traditional and contemporary repertoire that prepare the motivated student for the professional lyric theater world of tomorrow.
Most productions have two complete principal casts (given an equal number of performances), are fully designed, performed in the original language, and depending on the venue, use full orchestral accompaniment. Studio productions, scenes programs, and outreach events are also offered to further enhance the variety of performance opportunities. Eastman Opera Theatre utilizes both undergraduate and graduate students in all roles for all productions.
Recent and past productions include Davis’ Lear on the 2nd Floor; Sondheim’s Into the Woods; Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea; Glass’ Hydrogen Jukebox and Les Enfants Terribles; Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza; Gordon’s The Tibetan Book of the Dead; Mozart’s Don Giovanni; and Puts’ Elizabeth Cree. EOT is committed to working with living composers and librettists. Recent production collaborators have included Anthony Davis, Adam Guettel, Jake Heggie, Gene Scheer, Ricky Ian Gordon, Kevin Puts, and Mark Campbell.
About Eastman School of Music:
The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training.
More than 900 students are enrolled in the Collegiate Division of the Eastman School of Music—about 500 undergraduates and 400 graduate students. They come from almost every state, and approximately 23 percent are from other countries. They are taught by a faculty comprised of more than 130 highly regarded performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators. They are Pulitzer Prize winners, Grammy winners, Emmy winners, Guggenheim fellows, ASCAP Award recipients, published authors, recording artists, and acclaimed musicians who have performed in the world’s greatest concert halls. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 900 concerts to the Rochester community. Additionally, more than 1,700 members of the Rochester community, from young children through senior citizens, are enrolled in the Eastman Community Music School.
About the University of Rochester:
The University of Rochester is one of the nation’s leading private research universities, one of only 62-member institutions in the Association of American Universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives undergraduates exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College, School of Arts and Sciences, and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are complemented by the Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the Memorial Art Gallery.