Come Aboard a Magical Mystery River Cruise
Colombia, early 1900s. Florencia Grimaldi, a famous opera singer, embarks anonymously on a voyage down the Amazon river, hoping to be reunited with the lover she left behind. On the boat with her are a young journalist; a couple feeling the strain of their long marriage; the boat's captain; the captain's nephew, who falls in love with the journalist; and a man who is a rather mystical presence.
Inspired by the writings of Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Catán's gorgeously lyrical opera was the first Spanish-language opera to be commissioned by a major U.S. opera company, and has been performed worldwide since its 1996 premiere in Houston.
Join Madison Opera on this truly enchanting journey.
Learn more about our cast!
* Madison Opera debut
Conductor: John DeMain
Director: Kristine McIntyre
Sung in Spanish with projected English translations
Friday, April 27, 2018 | 8pm
Sunday, April 29, 2018 | 2:30pm
Performances last approx. 2 hours 15 minutes; including 1 intermission
Opera Novice: From Zarzuela to Florencia: A History of Opera in Spanish | April 6, 2018
Opera Up Close: Florencia en el Amazonas preview | April 22, 2018
Opera Talks: Pre-Opera Talk and Post-Opera Q&A session
The Story of the Opera
Riolobo, a character who can assume various forms, announces that the El Dorado is setting off down the Amazon for the opera house in Manaus, where the legendary diva Florencia Grimaldi, who has not set foot in her native South America for 20 years, will give a concert. Florencia arrives on the dock incognito to make the river journey. Her motive for this trip is to search for her long-lost lover, Cristóbal Ribeiro da Silva. Twenty years ago, they parted on the river when he went in search of the world's rarest butterfly, the Emerald Muse, and Florencia set out to pursue her life as an opera singer in Europe. Among the other travelers are the ship's Captain, his nephew Arcadio, the young journalist Rosalba, who is working on a biography of the famous singer, and Paula and Alvaro, a middle-aged couple journeying to hear Grimaldi in hopes of rekindling their marriage.
As the ship leaves behind the busy port at dawn, Florencia reflects on her history and her motives for making the trip. Arcadio and Rosalba grow closer as they exchange confidences. Alvaro and Paula attempt to dine on deck, but exchange only bitter words. Later a card game takes place between the two couples that underlines their differences. Florencia passes a sleepless night and then learns from the Captain that the butterfly hunter has not been seen for many years. Suddenly a storm of pink rain develops. Riolobo calls upon the gods of the river; the injured Captain calls for help. Alvaro falls overboard as Arcadio takes the helm, and the ship runs aground.Act II
In the quiet after the storm, Florencia awakens, wondering whether she is alive or dead. Arcadio and Rosalba rejoice to find they have survived the storm. Paula sees Alvaro's body and laments his death. Suddenly he awakens ,and the passengers resume their journey to Manaus. Florencia and Rosalba argue over the source of the opera singer's talents. Florencia argues so persuasively that the writer realizes the woman standing before her is the diva herself. It is the first of other epiphanies.
The passengers anticipate the end of their journey as the ship's arrival in Manaus is announced. But suddenly a message comes that cholera has spread in Manaus and no one may disembark. As Florencia collapses, realizing she may never find Cristóbal, her spirit drifts towards his in a mystical transformation.
~Courtesy of LA Opera