Saturday, April 7, 2012

FLORENCIA En El Amazonas

Pamela Armstrong as Florencia (above)

Keith Miller as Riolobo (right)

The recent success of Opera Colorado’s production of Daniel Catan’s “Florencia en el Amazonas” speaks (sings?) volumes for the need for new operatic works entering the repertoire. American audiences sometimes get stuck in the canon(s) of Verdi and Puccini and fear putting a toe in other operatic waters. Even so much as that of the American opera! Here the audience is swept away by a blissfully romantic score and a story that is romantic with touches of magic realism. The cinematic reality of the river and the storm on this journey in search of lost love provides a suitable feast for the eye to enhance the auditory feast provided by this talented cast and the Opera Colorado Orchestra. Led by maestro Ramon Tebar, the effect was one of a balanced and ordered unification of the vocals onstage and the orchestra in the pit. Led by the superb opera Diva, Pamela Armstrong as Florencia Grimaldi, and buoyed by the new star Keith Miller(one time starting fullback for the University of Colorado) as Rio Lobo, this is one of the most memorable operatic experiences in recent memory. Philip Lienau’s set design and Aaron Rhyne’s projection design get high marks as well. One must, however, mention the sad descent of production values at opera’s end. The descent of some sadly unappealing flowers and what must have been intended to be lily pads were not fit to be seen after the glorious work that came before. Small criticism for a magnificent work!

Be sure to get your tickets early for “Il Trovatore,” which plays April 28, May 1,4 and 6 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Tickets are available online at or by calling 303.468.2030.

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