Show artwork for El Gato Montes: The Wildcat

El Gato Montes: The Wildcat El Gato Montes: The Wildcat

Composed by Manuel Penella

Conducted by Jordi Bernàcer

May 419, 2019

Production new to LA Opera

The fiery Spanish masterpiece returns to our stage!

It has a love triangle, a bullfighter, a mountain dwelling bandit, and a beautiful woman (of course).  El Gato Montés ("The Wildcat") weaves a quintessentially Spanish tale with all the passion, beautiful music, and choreography you'd expect. Never heard of it? You're in for a treat because it's considered one of the greatest masterpieces of the Spanish lyrical theater. 

"Domingo roars... powerful. A striking, successful cultural hybrid.”

Los Angeles Times


Plácido Domingo
Ana María Martínez
Rafael Ruiz
Arturo Chacón-Cruz
Fortune Teller
Nancy Fabiola Herrera
Padre Anton
Rubén Amoretti
Juan Carlos Heredia
Hormigón (May 16)
E. Scott Levin
Sharmay Musacchio
Young Shepherd
Niru Liu
Daniel Armstrong
Michael J. Hawk

Creative Team

Jordi Bernàcer
Stage Director
Jorge Torres
Scenery / Lighting
Francisco Leal
Pedro Moreno
Chorus Director
Grant Gershon
Cristina Hoyos
Jesús Ortega

Read the synopsis

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For a synopsis in Spanish, click here.

Act One
An Andalusian farmstead
Everyone is waiting for the bullfighter Rafael Ruiz—known as “The Macareno*”—to return from a major triumph in Madrid. Among them are his beloved Soleá and his mother Frasquita, as well as Father Antón, the priest who christened him. Rafael and Soleá declare their love to loud general approval. During the celebrations, a fortune teller reads Rafael’s palm; she predicts that he will die in the bullring.

The festivities are interrupted when a bandit named Juanillo—known as "The Wildcat"—declares that Soleá loves him. He has killed a man for Soleá's sake and is now an outlaw. Soleá confesses to Father Antón that she does indeed love Juanillo; she is torn between him and Rafael, who has done so much for her. The next time Soleá's two rivals meet, Juanillo challenges Rafael to a duel. Soleá stops him, telling Juanillo that she will kill herself if he carries out this threat. The bandit threatens the bullfighter again, saying that Rafael might as well let a bull kill him next time he steps into the ring. If the animal doesn't do the job, Juanillo declares, he will.

*"The Macareno" has dual meanings. It refers to the Macarena neighborhood of Seville and also refers to Rafael’s good looks, meaning that his nickname could be translated as something like “The Macarena Dreamboat.”


Act Two
Scene One: Rafael’s house in Seville the following Sunday
The Macareno is dressing for the bullfight. He and Soleá express their tender vows of love. Hormigón, the picador, praises the bulls Rafael is about to face. Soleá shares with him her fears about the bandit’s threats and the fortune teller’s warning. Surrounded by his admirers, the Macareno leaves for the bullring, after bidding farewell to his mother and Soleá.

Scene Two: the horse yard of the Seville bullring, with its chapel
Rafael and Hormigón prepare for the bullfight. The matador is uneasy, but boasts that he will kill all six bulls plus the Wildcat if he must. The bullfight begins. Fearing that the presence of Soleá and Frasquita will be a distraction, Hormigón locks the two women inside the chapel. From there the women listen to the bullfight taking place. There is a loud scream from the crowd as Rafael is fatally gored. Soleá faints when she sees Rafael's body.

Act Three
Mourners pay tribute to Rafael. Juanillo carries Soleá off with him back to his mountain lair, and the townspeople follow to rescue her. Juanillo confronts Hormigón and the others, then pulls out a knife and asks one of them to kill him. No one moves. Guards are heard approaching to arrest Juanillo, who begs his comrade Pezuño to shoot him through the heart. As Pezuño does so, Soleá throws herself in front of Juanillo. The bullet kills both of them, and they fall to the ground in a final embrace.
—Synopsis courtesy of the Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid.


A production of Teatro de la Zarzuela (Madrid), Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escénicas y de la Musica

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

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

Artwork for El Gato Montes: The Wildcat
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