Opera & Musical Theater

Daniel Catán’s Journey On The Amazon

Previewing Houston Grand Opera’s production of Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas with Ana Maria Martinez and Andrea Puente-Catán.

“Everything in this story always returns to love. That’s the main message in all of its facets,” says Ana María Martínez when asked about the story of Daniel Catán‘s opera Florencia en el Amazonas.

Taking place on a riverboat coursing its way through the Amazon River in South America, the opera follows the lives of various passengers on the boat in a tale of magical realism that features Martínez in the role of legendary opera diva Florencia Grimaldi, who is returning home for a special concert with hopes of finding her long lost love Cristobal.

Martínez describes Catán’s music as “some of the most beautiful, lush writing that you will ever find for orchestra and for voice.”

And the late Catán’s widow, Andrea Puente-Catán, uses similar descriptors, also noting how it “involves you… it wraps you up in this environment of amazing timbres and sounds.”

Both Martínez and Puente-Catán remember the composer fondly, and Martínez recalls his persistence in getting her to sing the role she’s now performing with HGO:

“We became friends when I played the role of Rosalba in Florencia en el Amazonas in 2001. And he would call me about once a year after that, and he’d say, ‘You know, I hear, in your voice, Florencia. When are you gonna sing her? When are you gonna do that role?’ and I would say, ‘I can’t just yet.'”

“Full of joy,” “a young spirit,” “very warm… very curious.” All of these things describe Daniel Catán for these women, and you can hear more about their own musical backgrounds and a little more about the opera in my conversations with both below:

Ana María Martínez:

Andrea Puente-Catán:

Florencia en el Amazonas is currently running at Houston Grand Opera, with performances on Saturday, January 26th; Wednesday, January 30th; and Sunday, February 3rd. Go here for tickets and showtimes.