It has been 10 years since the Washington National Opera last performed an opera in Spanish. This year, however, it opened the fall season with “Florencia in the Amazon.” The romantic drama draws on the writings of the late Latin American and Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his themes of magic realism.
The story follows a famous opera diva, Florencia Grimaldi, who returns to her native Brazil after twenty years to perform at the opera house in Manaus. Traveling in disguise up the Amazon River with her fellow passengers, the ship they set sail on is called “The Eldorado,” named after the Amazon’s legendary City of Gold that many explorers searched for but never found.
When the boat is blown off course by a storm, it becomes a metaphor for the transformation the characters on the ship undergo during the show. For Florencia, this means grappling with the intense feelings she still harbors for a past love she left behind in Brazil and secretly hopes to reunite with on this voyage.
Florencia is played by U.S. soprano Christine Goerke. The award-winning soprano has gained an international reputation for performing some of the most difficult roles in the soprano repertoire.
Goerke sat down with CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes to discuss the story line of Florencia, the challenges of singing in Spanish, and the quest to recover lost love. Florencia in the Amazon opened at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The collaboration between the Washington National Opera and The Kennedy Center aims to elevate the art form of opera to a more visible level. Upcoming productions of the Washington National Opera include “La Bohème,” “The Little Prince,” and “Cinderella.”