Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Barihunks featured in simultaneous productions of Florencia en el Amazonas

Nmon Ford and Steven LaBrie
Two production of Daniel Catán's exotic opera Florencia en el Amazonas are happening almost simultaneously in two very different parts of the United States. Both productions will feature barihunks, with the Madison Opera featuring Nmon Ford and Florida Grand Opera starring Steven LaBrie as Riolobo.

Florida Grand Opera will present five performances between April 28-May 5. Tickets and additional cast information is available online. The Madison Opera will present two performances on April 27 and 29, with tickets and additional cast information available online.

The role of Riolobo has become a popular barihunk vehicle, with such notables as Nathan Gunn, Gabriel Preisser, Shannon De Vine, Luis Alejandro Orozco, Norman Garrett, José Carbó, Joseph Lattanzi and Keith Miller all taking on the role of the ship's mate, who is the focus of the magical realism of the piece. 

Andrew Garland sings Riolobo's Invocation from Florencia:

The two-act opera Florencia en al Amazonas is set on the steamboat El Dorado in 1910, where the famous opera singer Florencia is traveling down the Amazon to perform in Manaus. Florencia desires to encounter her lost love, a butterfly hunter who entered the jungle and never returned. The dramas aboard the steamboat weave love, conflict, loss, a violent storm, and ultimately a cholera epidemic that keeps the passengers quarantined and Florencia’s dream apparently dashed.

In 1996, Florencia en al Amazonas was the first Spanish-language opera to be commissioned by a major American opera house. It premiered at the Houston Grand Opera, and was subsequently performed at the Los Angeles Opera and the Seattle Opera. Daniel Catán died in 2011 at age 62, shortly after the premiere of his last opera, Il Postino, based on the popular Italian film. At the time of his death, he was at work on a new piece, Meet John Doe, inspired by Frank Capra’s classic film of the same title.

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