Florentine Opera presents world premiere: Don Davis's Rio de Sangre
Florentine's first-ever world premiere will open the organization's 77th season
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin—January 12, 2010—The Florentine Opera The Florentine Opera Company of Milwaukee, WI, will present its first-ever world premiere opera, Don Davis’s Río de Sangre, on October 22, 23 & 24, 2010 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Paula Suozzi, a fixture in the Milwaukee arts community, will direct the new work. Principal Conductor Joseph Rescigno will conduct the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in Davis’s vibrant, Latin-inspired score. The opera has seven lead roles, four supporting roles, and requires a 63-piece orchestra, a 10-piece on-stage merengue band and 35 choristers.
In a story conceived by Los Angeles author and librettist Kate Gale, Río de Sangre depicts war and love against the backdrop of the twenty-first century where all kinds of violence are possible, and the inevitable consequence of death, revenge and madness follow. The opera, which will be performed in Spanish with English translations projected above the stage, tells the story of the overthrow of a dictatorship in a fictional South American country. As plots, earthquakes and rumors give way to kidnapping, uprisings and treachery, the new leader realizes that the good of his country and the protection of his own family may be more than he can achieve.
Emmy Award-winning composer Don Davis, best known for his work on TV and film scores, explains: “It has been an obsession of mine, for some years now, to frame the cultural and political history of Latin America in a musical context, from the vicarious perspective of one who resides in North America. The passion and color of the South American heritage, and the triumphs and struggles of its people throughout its history of oppression and tragedy suggests music of monumental and epic drama. This is a challenging work, embracing both traditional and contemporary sensibilities, moving from the center to the periphery of consciousness, and from the intimate to the mythic. It is my attempt to find a universal voice amidst the suffering and exultation of the most human among us.”
The opera, which will open the Company’s 77th season, will also mark the first time that the Florentine has presented a work in Spanish, which has long been a goal of Florentine Opera General Director William Florescu. “I developed an interest in Río de Sangre for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its excellent English-to-Spanish translation by Alicia Partnoy,” he states. “This is the first world premiere in Florentine Opera history, and I am especially excited that we are able to present a work in Spanish.”
Principal Conductor Joseph Resigno adds, “Don Davis’s Río de Sangre is a highly dramatic opera. The characters’ development is embedded in the music as much as in the libretto. The five leading roles require top-notch musicians – singers of the highest order, which we have in this production, able to project in the widest possible range and to handle very complex rhythms. And they need powerful acting skills, which we also have in this production.”
Maestro Rescigno also notes, “In this age of operas based on movies, plays, novellas or news stories, we have here a rare bird: an original plot and libretto. Moreover, the music serves this story admirably from scene to scene, including crowd scenes as well as more intimate moments. There is even a nightclub scene which provides some hot Latin jazz, with the band on stage. This integration of music that is part of the story – playing outside the pit – is a time-honored tradition since the inception of what we call ‘grand opera.’ This is, in a sense, an homage to Mozart, Verdi, Richard Strauss, and other great composers for lyric theater. It is a tremendously challenging work for all involved, and I’m having a wonderful time preparing it.”
The Florentine Opera will announce the rest of their upcoming season in February 2010.