florencia, amazonas, daniel, catan, opera, classical, music
"The lush ebb and flow of Catán’s score and vocal lines is led with precision and atmospheric coloration."
-Los Angeles Daily News
Florencia en el Amazonas by Daniel Catán
Performed by Orquesta Sinfónica Mexiquense
The steamboat El Dorado is set to sail down the Amazon River from Leticia to the opera house in Manaus where the legendary opera singer Florencia Grimaldi is to perform. Florencia arrives on the dock unrecognized to make the river journey. Her motive for the trip is to sing at the opera house and search for her long-lost love, Cristóbal.
On the ship is the captain, his nephew Arcadio and the shipmate Riolobo. The passengers, unaware of Florencia's presence, include Rosalba, Paula and Álvaro. Rosalba, a young journalist, is planning to write a biography of Florencia.
At dawn as the ship departs, Florencia reflects on her history and motives for making the trip.
During their time on the Amazon River, Rosalba meets Arcadio.
The two of them grow closer as Arcadio falls in love.
Paula and Álvaro, hoping to rekindle their marriage and watch Florencia perform, dine on the deck and play cards. They exchange only bitter words.
After the game, a storm develops. Álvaro is thrown overboard and the captain is knocked unconscious.
The shipmate Riolobo disappears during the storm. He calls upon the river spirits and becomes an intermediary between reality and the mystical world.
Arcadio takes control of the ship as it runs ashore.
After the storm passes, Florencia awakens, wondering whether she is alive or dead. Arcadio and Rosalba rejoice to have survived the storm. Paula sees Álvaro's body and laments his death, recognizing her love for her husband.
Suddenly Álvaro awakens and the passengers resume their journey to Manaus.
Unknowingly, Rosalba begins arguing with Florencia over the source of the singer's talents.
Florencia responds so persuasively that the writer realizes the woman standing before her is the diva herself.
As Florencia realizes she may never find Cristóbal, her spirit drifts towards his in a mystical transformation.
As the passengers anticipate the end of their journey, the ship's arrival in Manaus is announced. But a message comes that cholera has spread in Manaus and no one may disembark.
"Nothing is more overwhelming than daybreak in the jungle—the calls of birds and insects slowly weaving the most fantastic tapestry of sound, the resplendent freshness of the greenery, the astonishing shapes and colors of some flowers, the size of the sun. These elements acted so powerfully in my imagination..."
Florencia, Riolobo, Rosalba, Paula, Álvaro, Arcadio and Captain
2 hours, 20 minutes
2S, Mz, T, 2Bar, B; SATB Chorus 2(pic).22+bcl.2(cbn)/3221/timp.4perc/hp.pf/str (18.104.22.168.3)
"I thought of the marimba, its luscious wooden sounds and the way they would combine with flutes, clarinets and harp. The sonorities of these instruments seemed to me to capture the sound of the river, the way it changes its timbre as it flows, transforming everything in its path."