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LA Opera Singers Share the Gift of Music with City of Hope

Hope for the Holidays

Celebrate the holidays on Thursday, December 11 at noon as LA Opera presents a free recital at the City of Hope at 1500 East Duarte Rd, Duarte CA 91010.

LA Opera artists will be performing music honoring the festive season. Light refreshments will be served as you enjoy your favorite holiday songs and American Songbook favorites.  The concert will be broadcast throughout the center, allowing the entire City of Hope community to enjoy the music of the holidays. Our City of Hope holiday concerts are a heartfelt tradition which inspired us to travel across LA County bringing holiday music to area hospitals and senior homes as we spread the holiday cheer to those most in need.

Please RSVP by December 8 to or 800.333.6002.


More great reviews for Florencia en el Amazonas

Florencia en el Amazonas

At the core of Florencia en el Amazonas are three simultaneous love stories – the young love of Rosalba and Arcadio, the possibility of love rekindled for mid-life lovers Paula and Alvaro, and most importantly, transformative love embodied by Florencia whose plaintive search for her long lost love, Cristobal, sets the scene for this magical voyage in the butterfly-filled Amazon. The lush and romantic music reminiscent of Puccini and masterfully interpreted by Grant Gershon and the LA Opera Orchestra continues to get rave reviews from audiences and press alike.

"...the outstanding conducting of Grant Gershon… unraveled new layers of wonder in Catán's orchestration...Thanks to the LA Opera Orchestra, this ol’ man Amazon really rolls along!” Los Angeles Times

Conductor Grant Gershon “deftly harnesses the talented orchestra to deliver the delicate subtleties of the score, including teasing, atmospheric woodwinds, native Latin American percussion, and triumphant French horns.” Frontiers Magazine

"A modern opera with mass appeal!" LA Daily News

“Beautiful music, a touching story, and a fabulous venue make Florencia en el Amazonas a compelling reason to plan a night at LA Opera.” AXS Entertainment Arts

You only have four more chances to see one of the most successful contemporary operas of modern times before it sails on to the next port, December 10, 14, 18, and 20. 


Domingo Family Program welcomes all ages to an exotic adventure with "Florencia en el Amazonas"

Scenes from Florencia en el AmazonasScenes from Florencia en el Amazonas

All aboard for an operatic adventure, as LA Opera's Domingo Family Program welcomes families to explore an exciting river journey along the Amazon River!

On Sunday, November 30, the matinee performance of Daniel Catán's Florencia en el Amazonas will feature themed activities for the whole family to enjoy while learning more about the opera and its fascinating Amazonian setting. The dynamic staging of the opera features a flying river spirit, intoxicating choreography, colorful projected animation and a 42-foot long steamship that rotates on the stage. Domingo Family Program activities are free with ticket purchases, with half-price tickets available for children from 9 to 17 when purchased with an adult ticket.   

"I love to see parents and grandparents with their children at the opera," said Plácido Domingo, the General Director of LA Opera. "It’s so important to introduce them early to the joy of the classical arts. From my own experience, I know that when families come to the opera together, it creates a special bond, with beautiful memories that last a lifetime."

Scenes from Florencia en el Amazonas
Scenes from Florencia en el Amazonas

Pre-show activities begin at 12:30pm in the Fifth Floor Salons of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (located at 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012). Teaching artist Peter Kors will lead enjoyable and inspiring acting workshops that explore themes from the opera and help youngsters understand the elements of theater. Exhibit interpreters from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles will showcase specimens of flora and fauna relating to the opera's setting on the Amazon River. The performance itself will begin at 2pm and will last until approximately 4:10pm.

After the performance, participants will have the opportunity to meet the cast at a special Domingo Family Program reception in the Fifth Floor Salons.

Booster seats are available to help small children get a better view of the performance. Booster seats can be picked up from the coat check stand located on the Grand Avenue side of the main lobby. You can also reserve booster seats in advance to have them waiting in your seating locations when you arrive. To reserve booster seats, simply email Garrett Collins with your seating location at

Tickets for the November 20 Domingo Family Program performance of Florencia en el Amazonas start at $18 for adults, and are now available for sale in person at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion box office or by phone at 213.972.8001. (No online orders.) Tickets can also be purchased for LA Opera's next Domingo Family Program performance: Rossini's rollicking comedy The Barber of Seville on March 8, 2015.

Scenes from Florencia en el Amazonas
Scenes from Florencia en el Amazonas

In the Spotlight: Verónica Villarroel


Veronica Villarroel as FlorenciaVerónica Villarroel as Florencia Grimaldi in Florencia en el Amazonas

Chilean soprano Verónica Villarroel, a longtime favorite with Los Angeles audiences, returns for her seventh role (more than any other leading soprano) at LA Opera. This season, she stars as the prima donna Florencia Grimaldi in Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas.

Your debut here was as Violetta in La Traviata in 1992. What do you remember most about that experience?
I always love singing La Traviata and I had done the same production with the same director the year before in Barcelona. But this was very meaningful to me because it was my first time in Los Angeles and I felt like it was my home. L.A. has been so important to me as an artist and near to my heart. I’ve had a wonderful relationship with the staff, the chorus, everybody—you have always welcomed me. I was impressed by the Latino community; that was when Hispanics for LA Opera was starting, and they have become very dear to me too. With every production I’ve done here, I’ve felt an extra happiness, which in this career is sometimes difficult to find. It’s often very competitive and very lonely. When you come to an opera house that treats you well—warm and welcoming—it makes such a difference.

La Traviata (1992)Verónica Villarroel in her 1992 LA Opera debut as Violetta in La Traviata.

Did you ever meet Daniel Catán, the composer of Florencia en el Amazonas?
I met him briefly twice, when I was singing in Mexico. He came to see me in my dressing room and he mentioned that he was writing this piece, Florencia. I have been talking with and becoming friends with his widow Andrea, who has been so helpful. We’ve talked about what Daniel thought of his trips to the Amazon, how his love is represented in this opera. It’s a very interesting piece. Some composers are interesting but not beautiful; Daniel’s music has everything. It’s modern but romantic at the same time. The vocal parts of this piece are very potent. They’re strong and they’re magical and subtle.

I had heard Il Postino, and I thought that the music was absolutely gorgeous, but I hadn’t heard Florencia when I was offered this role. Would I be able to do it?  Andrea gave me a CD, I got the piano-vocal score, and I went through the entire opera. I absolutely fell in love with it! I don’t think anybody can go through the music without feeling it very deeply.

Do you have much in common with Florencia?
It’s about a singer coming back to her home country after a long absence. I know what that’s like; I have been in this career now for more than 30 years. As we get older, every human being has that question mark, that mystery: “Why did I make that decision and not another? What would my life have been like if I had made a different choice?” Florencia has lived life, had a career, and is now going back to where she first discovered love. She’s coming back to find her other half, this soul of her life, the reason why she became a singer. The most beautiful part is at the end when she transforms, coming together with him in the forest, through this love. 

A scene from "Florencia en el Amazonas"Verónica Villarroel as Florencia, with David Pittsinger as the Captain of the El Dorado.

How does Florencia compare to your other roles?
A lot of my characters are strong women like her. It’s not an easy opera. You really have to work through the music to get strong, to build up your muscles and your stamina. The lines are voluptuous; the jumps from one note to another are sometimes very big. You have to give yourself entirely: your body, your technique, your soul. The music is very strong, very emotional. In that way, it’s close to Puccini because it’s easy to understand. You can almost smell the music.

It has been ten years since your last role here, Elettra in Idomeneo.
That was only my third Mozart role. At the beginning of rehearsals, I remember that Kent Nagano told me that I didn’t sound very Mozartian yet. But by the time we got to the performances, he said I did!

Idomeneo rehearsal (2004)Verónica Villarroel in a rehearsal with conductor Kent Nagano for Idomeneo in 2004.

I am truly honored to be back in Los Angeles. I feel very blessed. I didn’t know I’d be coming back to L.A. again at all, and when Florencia was offered to me, I became very emotional. Many years have passed between that Traviata in 1992 and Florencia in 2014. As you grow older, you transform, life around you changes and we must make peace with that. I think this experience will be fantastic. I want to keep it in my soul, my memory, my heart. I hope it goes well and that the public knows that we are doing it with a lot of love. We’re grateful, all of us, to give the public the chance to hear this wonderful music.