Florencia in the Amazon opens September 20 at Washington National Opera
Washington National Opera (WNO) opens its 2014-2015 season with the company premiere of Daniel Catan and Marcela Fuentes-Berain’s Florencia in the Amazon, September 20-28 in the Kennedy Center Opera House. This modern romantic drama, the first Spanish-language work WNO has presented in a decade, is inspired by the magical realism of Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez. WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello revisits her world premiere production with members of her original creative team to present a fresh take on this contemporary classic. Conductor Carolyn Kuan leads the WNO Orchestra in her WNO debut.
Returning after 20 years to her South American homeland of Brazil, opera diva Florencia Grimaldi boards the El Dorado in disguise and heads up the Amazon to sing at an opera house in her hometown. Along the way, she hopes to track down her long-lost lover, a butterfly hunter who has disappeared into the jungle. Beset by storms and a cholera outbreak, Florencia and her fellow travelers are carried deeper into the rain forest, while the perilous forces of love, magic, and nature collide in a mesmerizing battle between truth and longing. Featuring a stunning final tableau, Florencia in the Amazon paints an intoxicating portrait of the transformative nature of love.
Returning to WNO following her electrifying portrayal of Chrysothemis in Elektra in 2008, two-time Grammy Award®-winning American soprano Christine Goerke sings the role of Florencia for the first time in this production. Goerke has won international acclaim for some of the most challenging roles in the soprano repertory, including the title roles in Elektra and Ariadne auf Naxos and the Dyer’s Wife in Die Frau ohne Schatten. Earlier this spring she performed scenes from Salome and Elektra with the National Symphony Orchestra, and this summer she has appeared at The Glimmerglass Festival in Ariadne and also served as the festival’s Artist in Residence; future engagements include her first fully staged performances of Bru?nnhilde in Die Walku?re at both Canadian Opera Company and Houston Grand Opera. American soprano Melody Moore, who has been celebrated for recent performances in The Glimmerglass Festival’s The Flying Dutchman and Houston Grand Opera’s The Passenger and Das Rheingold, sings the role of Florencia on September 24.
The cast also includes former Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Norman Garrett as the mystical river creature Ri?olobo; soprano Andrea Carroll, a Bethesda, Maryland native in her WNO debut as the inquiring journalist Rosalba; American tenor Patrick O’Halloran, a current member of WNO’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, as Rosalba’s love interest Arcadio; Spanish mezzo-soprano Nancy Fabiola Herrera in her WNO debut as Paula and American baritone Michael Todd Simpson (Gaylord Ravenal in WNO’s recent Show Boat) as her doomed lover A?lvaro; and American bass-baritone David Pittsinger (The Speaker in last season’s The Magic Flute) as The Captain of the El Dorado.
Conductor Carolyn Kuan, the Music Director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, leads the WNO Orchestra in her WNO debut. She recently conducted the Santa Fe Opera’s American premiere of composer Huang Ruo’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. Ms. Kuan is one of four women conductors appearing with WNO this season; the others are Anne Manson (American Opera Initiative 20- minute operas and the world premiere of Penny), Nicole Paiement (The Little Prince), and Speranza Scappucci (Cinderella).
WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello has reassembled members of her original creative team, including set designer Robert Israel and costume designer Catherine Zuber, along with new members including lighting designer Mark McCullough and projection designer S. Katy Tucker to create a fresh version of the original production. Also new to the production team is choreographer Eric Sean Fogel, who will direct the movement of five principal dancers- Durell Comedy, Alison Mixon, Christopher Pennix, Matthew Steffens, and Ricardo Zayas-in tracing the El Dorado’s journey down the Amazon.
“I am thrilled to introduce Washington audiences to this stunning work, an important addition to the operatic canon, and to re-envisage this production with my great collaborators,” said Ms. Zambello. “I am also proud to work again with our two great leading ladies-Christine Goerke and Melody Moore-with both of whom I have such strong and sustained professional relationships.”
Florencia in the Amazon opens on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 7 p.m. and runs for five performances; other dates are September 22, 24, 26, and 28. Visit WNO’s website for complete production details and casting information.
Washington National Opera’s 2014-2015 season also includes a brand-new production of Puccini’s classic La boheme, the company premiere of Rachel Portman’s family opera The Little Prince, an English-language production of Poulenc’s 20th-century drama Dialogues of the Carmelites, a revival of Wagner’s epic The Flying Dutchman, and an acclaimed new-to- Washington staging of Rossini’s Cinderella. A third season of the American Opera Initiative, including the world premiere of Penny by two alumni of the program, continues WNO’s efforts to commission new works and expand the American repertory. More information can be found in the 2014-2015 season press release.
Florencia in the Amazon Performance and Ticket Information
Saturday, September 20 at 7 p.m. • Monday, September 22 at 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 24 at 7:30 p.m. • Friday, September 26 at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, September 28 at 2 p.m.
Tickets start at $25 and are available online, in person at the Kennedy Center Box Office, and by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324. Subscription packages for the 2014-2015 season are also available and can be purchased online or by calling at (202) 416-8500.