What You Need to Know About Catán's Florencia en el Amazonas

November 13 - November 28 at Lyric Opera of Chicago

CHICAGO, IL (10/20/2021) – Join Lyric Opera of Chicago on a journey down the Amazon with the company premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas, the first Spanish-language work to be presented as part of Lyric's mainstage opera season. Written by Daniel Catán and Marcela Fuentes-Berain, the opera tells the story of a glamorous opera diva on a life-changing journey by boat to her hometown of Manaus, Brazil, where she is to perform at the opera house and hopefully reconnect with her long-lost lover, a butterfly hunter. The romantic and spiritual entanglements of the boat's other passengers combine for an unforgettable story in which the perilous forces of love, magic, and nature collide.

  • The opera's lush music was composed by the late Daniel Catán, who has been hailed as Mexico's finest composer. Florencia was the first opera in Spanish to be commissioned by an opera company in the United States. Marcela Fuentes-Berain wrote the opera's libretto, suffusing it with the trademark magical realism of her mentor, Gabriel García Márquez.
  • Conductor Jordan de Souza makes his Lyric debut leading the Lyric Opera Orchestra in interpreting Catán's dreamlike score. He recently completed a four-year term at the Komische Oper Berlin, and next summer will conduct a new production of La bohème at England's prestigious Glyndebourne Festival.
  • Audience favorite Ana María Martínez returns to Lyric for her 11th mainstage role, following great success in roles as diverse as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, Tatiana in Eugene Onegin, and the title role in Rusalka. She portrays the passionate and hopeful Florencia, a performance that earned her tremendous acclaim at Houston Grand Opera in 2019. The soprano has a long history with this opera; in 2001, she sang the role of Rosalba in this production, also in Houston.
  • Alumni of Lyric's artist-training program—The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center—take on two key roles in the opera: tenor Mario Rojas sings the role of Arcadio, and baritone Levi Hernandez is Álvaro.
  • The stellar cast also includes soprano Gabriella Reyes in her Lyric debut as Rosalba, mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel as Paula, baritone Ethan Vincent in his Lyric debut as Riolobo, and bass Raymond Aceto as the Captain.
  • Acclaimed director Francesca Zambello (Lyric's recent productions of Luisa Miller, West Side Story, and Porgy and Bess), who collaborated with Catán and Fuentes-Berain in developing the opera, revisits her world-premiere production on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. She reunites with members of her original creative team and brings in new talents to present a fresh take on this contemporary classic, created especially for Chicago audiences.
  • Five chances to sail down the Amazon with Florencia: evening performances on November 13, 18, and 26, and matinees on November 21 and 28.
  • 2 hours and 5 minutes, including 1 intermission
  • Performed in Spanish with projected English texts

For updated information about Lyric's ongoing health and safety protocols visit lyricoepra.org/safety

About Lyric

About Lyric

Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to redefining what it means to experience great opera. The company is driven to deliver consistently excellent artistry through innovative, relevant, celebratory programming that engages and energizes new and traditional audiences.

Under the leadership of General Director, President & CEO Anthony Freud, Music Director Enrique Mazzola, and Special Project Advisor Renée Fleming, Lyric is dedicated to reflecting, and drawing strength from, the diversity of Chicago. Lyric offers, through innovation, collaboration, and evolving learning opportunities, ever-more exciting, accessible, and thought-provoking audience and community experiences. We also stand committed to training the artists of the future, through The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center; and to becoming increasingly diverse across our audiences, staff, programming, and artists—magnifying the welcoming pull of our art form, our company, and our city.

Through the timeless power of voice, the splendor of a great orchestra and chorus, theater, dance, design, and truly magnificent stagecraft, Lyric is devoted to immersing audiences in worlds both familiar and unexpected, creating shared experiences that resonate long after the curtain comes down.

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Lyric’s premiere of Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas is generously made possible by

Anonymous Donor

Marion A. Cameron-Gray

Additional support is provided by Lyric Opera of Chicago's Production Circle.

Original production from Houston Grand Opera.

An opera in two acts with music by Daniel Catán and libretto by Marcela Fuentes-Berain.

Photo: Cory Weaver/Los Angeles Opera