In l987 I fell in love with a Californian and moved to the United States. We started living together and soon I realized I had no room of my own to write. It was impossible to tackle the long project of a novel, so I tried my hand at short stories, which I could write waiting for my lover in coffee shops and parks. I came up with 23 stories. Given my state of mind (or state of heart) at the time, they were all love stories. Most of them were timeless and located in unnamed places in South America.
One of the stories was called “Revenge” and it was the tragedy of a young woman called Dulce Rosa who spent years planning how to punish the man who had raped her and killed her family. It doesn’t sound like a love theme, does it? Trust me, it is. The story came to me whole, like a gift. I wrote it down in a sort of trance, in one sitting. It was published in a collection with the title Stories of Eva Luna. I did the required book tours and promptly forgot about it, never imagining that, more than 20 years later, Dulce Rosa would come back in a new form thanks to a couple of visionary artists. And what a delightful form it is indeed!
When Richard Sparks and Lee Holdridge first contacted me about transforming my story into an opera, I loved the idea but was quite skeptical regarding its feasibility. An opera is a very ambitious endeavor; in fact, it is so ambitious that it would be an endangered form of art without a handful of passionate lovers of the genre and idealists like Richard and Lee. I reread my story and realized that it lends itself well for the stage, so I accepted their proposal. However, I had little hope that it would ever see the limelight. They left and once again I forgot about Dulce Rosa. But they didn’t. For years they worked on the script, the lyrics and the music, they assembled a formidable team of musicians and singers, and they got Plácido Domingo to conduct. Deep thanks to Plácido Domingo, LA Opera and the Broad Stage for making these performances possible. Although some changes were necessary for the stage, they respected the essence of the story, and I believe that they also enhanced it. For example, they added new characters who were needed to make the plot clearer and they changed the ending. Richard explained to me that an open ending, like the one in the book, would not work in an opera, and I did not object because he has a lifetime of experience in this matters.
By the end of 2012 Richard and Lee came to my house in Marin County to show me on their PCs the result of all those years of dreaming and creating. I was able to hear the beautiful music composed by Lee, discuss the libretto written by Richard, hear most of the singers rehearsing, and see, in amazement, the fantastic sets that Yael Pardess and Jenny Okun imagined for this opera. I was very impressed. All that talent and effort invested in bringing my story to life! By the end of that unforgettable day I was on the verge of tears. Since then I have not been able to get the music and some of the scenes out of my head; they haunt me, as I hope they will haunt everyone who sees it.