The Mystical Power of Love

Do you believe that love can take you on a journey that changes you forever? Pittsburgh Opera continues its 2019-2020 season with Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas. This opera tells the story of Florencia Grimaldi, a famous opera singer returning to her home country of Brazil to offer a performance and hopefully reunite with her lover, Cristóbal, a butterfly hunter who has disappeared in the Amazon jungle. As she journeys on a riverboat to Manaus, Brazil she encounters her fellow passengers: Rosalba, an aspiring journalist who discovers love on this journey; Paula and Alvaro, a bickering, married couple trying to rekindle their love; Arcadio, the captain’s nephew who captures Rosalba’s heart; and Riolobo, the mysterious character who may float in between this world and the spirit world.

Florencia en el Amazonas is loosely based on the novel, Love in the Time of Cholera, by Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez. The elements of magical realism found in his works also influence this opera’s music and imagery. I am excited to see this production as it will be the first opera in Spanish ever presented by Pittsburgh Opera. Alexandra Loutsion, an alum of Pittsburgh Opera’s Resident Artist program, returns to sing the title role.

Explore more about Florencia en el Amazonas through the CD and book recommendations on this list. Maybe I will see you at the opera!

Florencia en el Amazonas

Libretto by Marcela Fuentes-Berain.

Patrick Summers leads the cast from the 2002 Houston Grand Opera production on this recording. Patricia Schuman sings the title role and Mark S. Doss the mystical role of Riolobo.

Conversations with Gabriel García Márquez

This collection of interviews spans over 40 years of García Márquez’s career. The various interviewers capture the author’s views on politics, literature, his own life and his writing style. Several interviews were conducted by Latin Americans and/or Colombians. A fascinating compilation.

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Translated from the Spanish by Gregory Rabassa.

Though Florencia en el Amazonas is loosely inspired by García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a landmark work of magic realism that influenced this opera’s imagery. Marcela Fuentes-Berain, the librettist for Florencia en el Amazonas, was a course assistant and close collaborator of García Márquez for more than a decade at the International School of Film and Television of San Antonio de los Baños.