Opera Colorado’s New Production is ‘Ambitious’ and ‘Exotic’
by Christie Connolley
Opera Colorado’s production of Florencia en el Amazonas has been well received! Well, at least according to Ray Mark Rinaldi of the Denver Post. Check out the Operagasm Review Rundown!
Someone got 100% in Music History: “Composer Daniel Catán’s work first appeared in 1996, but has little of the experimental flavor you might associate with the late 20th century. Instead, it is lush and melodic, with a score that surges and swells and a story that — in knowing, operatic tradition — sacrifices credulity to gain space for a few well-rendered arias. The work is sometimes compared to the efforts of both Giacomo Puccini and Erich Korngold, and while that seems generous, it’s a good way to describe a piece that manages to be touching, amusing and highly manipulative within a tight two hours.”
The star of the show?: “The whole evening is set on one small steam-powered riverboat as it carries a pack of troubled lovers down the Amazon River in the early 1900s. But the designers open it up, mostly with the help of giant moving images behind the singers. Waves ripple, clouds pass, a bird flies off, giant daisies bloom. The backdrop has a streaming, digital feel that makes it part screensaver, part James Cameron movie. It’s rare to credit the good work of an opera’s production team before the singers, but it’s now or never: Sets by Phillip Lienau, projections by Aaron Rhyne, lighting by James D. Sale, all working under the no-dreams-barred direction of José Maria Condemi.”
Here he comes to save the day!: “Colorado native Keith Miller, whose steady bass-baritone anchors the evening. His character, the mystical Riolobo, narrates the action, but also has the good fortune of appearing in mock flight, towering over the set as a storm rages at the end of Act 1. His prayer saves the ship and the opera, as well, transforming this tale into something richer and more spiritual.”