LA Opera presents El Gato Montés: The Wildcat

Plácido Domingo debuts 151st role

(Los Angeles) April 24, 2019 — Plácido Domingo, LA Opera's Eli and Edythe Broad General Director, has announced final details about the company's upcoming presentation of Manuel Penella's El Gato Montés: The Wildcat, an opera brimming with the exuberance of zarzuela, the popular Spanish form of musical theater.

The production will feature:

  • Plácido Domingo in his first performances of the title role
  • Stunning choreography by flamenco greats Cristina Hoyos and Jesús Ortega
  • The first LAO performances of the work since 1994

Mr. Domingo will make his first appearances performing the title role—an outlaw known as "The Wildcat." This will be his 151st career role. "This music truly takes me back to my childhood," said Mr. Domingo, who grew up behind the scenes of his parents’ zarzuela company, which had El Gato Montés in its repertoire. "When I saw this strikingly beautiful production at Madrid’s Teatro de la Zarzuela, where it was an enormous hit, I knew at once that I wanted to bring it here to Los Angeles." 

Conducted by Jordi Bernàcer, El Gato Montés will be performed from May 4 through May 19 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90012).

About the Opera
It's a uniquely Spanish story, filled with drama, passion and exciting choreography. Juanillo (aka "The "Wildcat") is an outlaw who hopes to reunite with the woman he loves—and has killed for—only to find that a handsome bullfighter has captured her heart. El Gato Montés is considered one of the great masterpieces of the Spanish lyric theater, and its famous pasodoble has become the anthem of the bullring throughout the Spanish-speaking world.It's also a work that's also close to Plácido Domingo's heart, having known the music from his earliest childhood. He sang the tenor role of bullfighter Rafael Ruiz when LA Opera first presented El Gato Montés in 1994 and he frequently sings excerpts from the work in concerts around the world.

LA Opera's 1994 production of El Gato Montés marked the first time that the work had been performed in Spanish in the United States. The work's U.S. premiere—performed in English as The Wildcat—was at the Park Theatre in New York City in 1921, with composer Penella conducting.

The Performers
El Gato Montés features a trio of LA Opera audience favorites in the leading roles. Plácido Domingo sings the baritone role of Juanillo, "The Wildcat," the bandit with a dark past. Soprano Ana María Martínez appears as Soleá, the beautiful woman for whom Juanillo has killed. Tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz is the dashing matador Rafael Ruiz, the man standing in the way of Juanillo's hope to reclaim Soleá's love.

The cast also includes mezzo-soprano Nancy Fabiola Herrera as the Fortune Teller, bass Rubén Amoretti as Padre Antón and contralto Sharmay Musacchio as Frasquita. Three members of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program are also featured: baritone Juan Carlos Heredia as Hormigón, baritone Michael J. Hawk as Caireles and mezzo-soprano Niru Liu as the Young Shepherd. An alumnus of the program, baritone Daniel Armstrong, performs the role of Pezuño.

The Creative Team
Spanish conductor Jordi Bernàcer leads a production directed by Jorge Torres. The scenery and the lighting are designed by Francisco Leal and the costumes are designed by Pedro Moreno. The choreography is by Cristina Hoyos and Jesús Ortega. Grant Gershon is the director of the LA Opera Chorus, and the production will also feature members of the Los Angeles Children's Chorus, led by its artistic director, Fernando Malvar-Ruiz.

Performance Dates and Times
There will be six performances of El Gato Montés presented by LA Opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012):

  • Saturday, May 4, 2019, at 7:30pm
  • Sunday, May 5, 2019, at 2pm (Domingo Awards)
  • Wednesday, May 8, 2019, at 7:30pm
  • Saturday, May 11, 2019, at 7:30pm
  • Thursday, May 16, 2019, at 7:30pm
  • Sunday, May 19, 2019, at 2pm (Domingo Family Day)

Tickets are on sale now. Tickets begin at $19 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 213.972.8001, or in person at the LA Opera box office at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90012). For disability access, call 213.972.0777 or email

May 5: The Domingo Awards
The annual Plácido Domingo Awards dinner, recognizing Latino artists and community leaders, will take place immediately following the matinee performance of El Gato Montés on Sunday, May 5. This year's event will celebrate Plácido Domingo’s special history with the music of Mexico and with Spanish zarzuela.

The 2019 Domingo Awards recipients, selected for their incredible talent, leadership and dedication to the Los Angeles arts community, are:

  • Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis
  • Renowned Mexican tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz
  • Richard Mata and Esperanza Juarez, founders of The Mariachi Conservatory in Boyle Heights

Ticket sales for this event benefit Hispanics for LA Opera and HLAO’s mission to introduce Los Angeles’ most underserved communities to the power and beauty of opera. For tickets and additional information about the Domingo Awards, please contact Rachael McNamara at or 213.972.8057.

May 19: Domingo Family Day
A huge proponent of families attending opera together, Plácido Domingo created Domingo Family Days. These family-friendly performances feature special activities for the whole family to enjoy, ranging from meeting the cast, cookie decorating or special games, all designed around the opera's theme. For El Gato Montés, the Domingo Family Day will be the matinee performance on May 19. Tickets for children (ages 9 through 17) are always half-price. For more information, visit

For additional information about LA Opera's presentation of El Gato Montés, visit

To download artist headshots and production photographs (as they become available), visit the Press Image Gallery.

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Production made possible with generous support from
Barbara Augusta Teichert
The Alfred and Claude Mann Fund, in honor of Plácido Domingo
Marie Song

Special support from
Edward E. and Alicia G. Clark
National Endowment for the Arts

LA Opera is a non-profit organization dedicated
to serving the greater Los Angeles community.

Yamaha is the Official Piano of LA Opera.

LA Opera Media Contact
Vanessa Flores Waite, Director of Communications / 213.972.7554