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Il Postino launches “Hispanic Opera Initiative” in Philly
Center City Opera Theater to develop new Spanish-language works
Philadelphia, Pa. - (May 8, 2012) - Center City Opera Theater will perform the East Coast Premiere of Mexican-born composer Daniel Catán’s opera Il Postino, May 17, 19, and 20 at the Prince Music Theater. Il Postino inspired Center City Opera Theater, a company committed to the development of new opera works, to bring the tradition of Hispanic culture to the forefront of opera development in Philadelphia.
CCOT’s Hispanic Opera Initiative celebrates the vibrancy and cultural richness of the Hispanic community which, despite this richness, is very rarely represented in the opera repertoire. This initiative is an ongoing effort to engage the growing Philadelphia Hispanic community in modern opera as well as introduce the broader community to the exciting world of Spanish-language opera. In addition to presenting all of Daniel Catán’s operas over its next five seasons, including Il Postino, Center City Opera Theater plans to commission a brand new opera from within Philadelphia’s Hispanic community.
CCOT's Creative Development Projects facilitates new opera works from initial conception all the way to fully-staged world premiere. Through the Hispanic Opera Initiative, General & Artistic Director Andrew Kurtz will add Hispanic composers and librettists to the list of works-in-development, and present a world premiere Spanish-language opera in Philadelphia within the next several years.
Il Postino composer Daniel Catán shocked the opera world with his untimely death in April 2011, when he was found unconscious during the University of Houston’s production of Il Postino. Mexican-born Catán is primarily responsible for the adoption of the Spanish language in contemporary opera works; his opera Florencia en el Amazonas was the first Spanish-language opera ever commissioned by a major United States opera company.
“Il Postino is a remarkable opera, with beautiful lyrical music, reminiscent of Puccini, and tells a tale of poetry and love,” says Andrew Kurtz. “Catán’s contributions to the opera world can’t be overstated, as he staked out a claim to contemporary opera with a distinct Latino voice.”
CCOT will announce the Daniel Catán Prize, to be bestowed on a rising Hispanic star in the opera profession. Daniel Catán's widow, Andrea Puente, will attend the East Coast Premiere of Il Postino in Philadelphia, where she and Maestro Kurtz will announce the creation of the prize.
Il Postino, based on the Academy-award-winning film, is a fictional story of poet Pablo Neruda, played by Met Opera tenor Hugo Vera in CCOT’s production (cast list below). The opera is about Neruda’s mentoring relationship with a young aspiring poet (and postman) while in exile on a small island community. Il Postino received strong praise from its premiere with the LA Opera in September 2010, with Placido Domingo as Neruda.
“To have lost a composer of his stature at the very height of his powers is a devastating loss to the world of classical music,” said Placido Domingo in a statement following Catán’s death. Domingo regards the world premiere of Il Postino as one of the most important moments of LA Opera’s history.
CCOT has commissioned a new chamber orchestra reduction by Stefan Kozinski, authorized by the composer, as part of its mission to make new work more accessible to all communities. This smaller orchestra will provide regional companies with more limited performance space or budgets to produce Il Postino. This reduction is made possible in part by a generous grant by the National Endowment for the Arts.
For more information and tickets to Il Postino visit OperaTheater.org.
Press Contact: Eric Brower, firstname.lastname@example.org, 610-547-3476