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Two-time Grammy Award–winning American soprano Christine Goerke stars as a famous opera singer who embarks upon an enchanted riverboat journey in late Mexican American composer Daniel Catán’s mesmerizing opera. Returning after 20 years to her South American homeland of Brazil, Florencia Grimaldi boards the El Dorado in disguise and heads up the Amazon to sing at an opera house in the capital. Along the way, she hopes to track down her long-lost lover, a butterfly hunter who has disappeared in the jungle. Beset by storms and a cholera outbreak, Florencia and her fellow travelers are carried deeper into the rain forest, while Ríolobo, a mystical river creature, guides them to life-changing revelations.

Inspired by the magical realism of Nobel Prize–winning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera), Florencia in the Amazon was the first-ever Spanish-language commission by major U.S. opera companies, and an instant audience smash when it premiered in 1996 under the direction of Francesca Zambello. WNO’s Artistic Director now brings this fantastical opera to Washington, eager to revisit the production with fresh insight as part of her commitment to present a major American work each season. Last seen as Chrysothemis in WNO’s Elektra in 2008, Christine Goerke brings her “big, gleaming sound” (The Chicago Tribune) to a dazzling score led by rising star conductor Carolyn Kuan in her WNO debut. As the Washington Post says: “Catán writes in a lush, post-Puccini melodic idiom, creating music that’s well suited to a story that reaches toward mythic timelessness.”

-From Washington National Opera’s website

Project Details

Florencia en el Amazonas

The Kennedy Center

2014