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Florencia en el Amazonas

From the composer of Il Postino


"Do not miss the return of Daniel Catan's masterpiece..." - Plácido Domingo

"Lush, evocative music makes you feel you are somewhere you know" - Washington Post

Florencia en el Amazonas director Francesca Zambello tells us why the cast of Florencia is one of the best ever assembled for the opera, collaborating with Daniel Catán and Gabriel García Márquez, and her own real-life adventure on the Amazon River.

View the full conversation here.

A steamboat passage through the fabled rainforest becomes a mystical voyage of discovery, each passenger harboring secret hopes of what the trip will bring. Among them, a famous prima donna hopes to recapture the great love of her life. Reality and fantasy intertwine as the dangerous splendors of the Amazon test the travelers’ preconceptions of their hopes and dreams.

The sensational Chilean soprano Verónica Villarroel returns as Florencia, joined by one of the finest casts ever assembled for this production, including fast-rising soprano Lisette Oropesa. A ravishingly beautiful score by Daniel Catán, the beloved composer of Il Postino, shimmers with passionate melodies and sumptuous orchestrations reminiscent of Puccini and Debussy. Inspired by the writings of Gabriel García Márquez, Florencia en el Amazonas paints an intoxicating portrait of the transformative nature of love.


There are currently no upcoming performances.

Revival of a co-production of LA Opera with Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera de Colombia, and the Opera de Bellas Artes & Festival Internacional Cervantino.

Underwriting support from the Jane and Peter Hemmings Production Fund, a gift from the Flora L. Thornton Trust.

Original production supported by Edward E. and Alicia Garcia Clark, an Anonymous Donor, AT&T, and Drs. Dennis and Susan Carlyle.


The action takes place at the port of Leticia, Colombia and then on the riverboat El Dorado.

Act I
Riolobo, a character who can assume various forms, announces that the El Dorado is setting off down the Amazon for the opera house in Manaus where the legendary diva Florencia Grimaldi, who has not set foot in her native South America for 20 years, will give a concert. Florencia arrives on the dock incognito to make the river journey. Her motive for this trip is to search for her long-lost lover, Cristóbal Ribeiro da Silva. Twenty years ago, they parted on the river when he went in search of the world's rarest butterfly, the Emerald Muse, and Florencia set out to pursue her life as an opera diva in Europe. Among the other travelers are the ship's Captain, his nephew Arcadio, the young journalist Rosalba, who is working on a biography about the famous singer, and Paula and Alvaro, a middle-aged couple journeying to hear Grimaldi in hopes of rekindling their marriage.

At dawn as the ship leaves behind the busy port, Florencia reflects on her history and her motives for making the trip. Arcadio and Rosalba grow closer as they exchange confidences. Alvaro and Paula attempt to dine on deck, but exchange only bitter words. Later a card game takes place between the two couples that underlines their differences. Florencia passes a sleepless night and then learns from the Captain that the butterfly hunter has not been seen for many years. Suddenly a storm of pink rain develops. Riolobo calls upon the gods of the river; the injured Captain calls for help. Alvaro falls overboard as Arcadio takes the helm, and the ship runs aground.

Act II
In the quiet after the storm Florencia awakens, wondering whether she is alive or dead. Arcadio and Rosalba rejoice to find they have survived the storm. Paula sees Alvaro's body and laments his death. Suddenly, he awakens and the passengers resume their journey to Manaus. Florencia and Rosalba argue over the source of the opera singer's talents. Florencia argues so persuasively that the writer realizes the woman standing before her is the diva herself. It is the first of other epiphanies.

The passengers anticipate the end of their journey as the ship's arrival in Manaus is announced. But suddenly a message comes that cholera has spread in Manaus and no one may disembark. As Florencia collapses, realizing she may never find Cristóbal, her spirit drifts towards his in a mystical transformation.


Two hours and 5 minutes, including one intermission.
Evening performances: 7:30-9:35pm (approximately)
Matinee performances: 2:00-4:05pm (approximately)

News & Reviews


Pre-Performance Talks

Get the full story by joining other opera-goers at our complimentary pre-opera talks in the Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. One hour before each performance begins, Brian Lauritzen of Classical KUSC will introduce audiences to Florencia en el Amazonas and the music of Daniel Catán. These talks are free of charge to all ticketholders, and no reservations are required.