San Jose's 1st Spanish language opera production debuts this weekend

Lauren Martinez Image
Saturday, April 20, 2024
SJ's 1st Spanish language opera production debuts this weekend
Opera San Jose's first Spanish language opera production "Florencia en el Amazonas" debuts this weekend.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Inside the California Theater, Opera San Jose is presenting its first Spanish language opera performance.

Florencia en el Amazonas by Daniel Catán is a story rich for the eyes and ears.

Ricardo Jose Rivera is from Puerto Rico. His singing career started in choir when he was 9-years-old.

Rivera said what started as a hobby of singing turned into a professional career that's taken him from Chicago, to Houston and now the Bay Area. This will be the first time the singer is performing an opera piece by a Latin American composer.

"It feels like home in a way. It's not foreign," Rivera said.

Opera is sung in several languages - Rivera said this production could be an art form Latinos of all backgrounds can connect with.

"It's a great opportunity to bring in all of these people that may not identify or feel familiarize with Italian or Germanic or French opera," River said.

General director Shawna Lucey says one of the motivating factors of programming Florencia in San Jose was knowing more than a third of the city's population is Latinx.

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"We want all of our San Joseans to know that the opera belongs to them and they belong to the opera," Lucey said.

For the past two years, Lucey said Opera San Jose has offered subtitles in English and Spanish.

Lucey said the company aims to present things on stage that speak to the universal human experience.

"We really want everyone in our community to come and enjoy the power opera," Lucey said.

Florencia can be meaningful for the audience and cast.

"There's a phrase, as many languages as you speak that's how many people you are. And when you are expressing yourself in your native tongue, of course there are all of these nuances that are just inherent to who you are as a person," Lucey said.

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Florencia en el Amazonas makes it's debut Saturday and runs until May 5.

We asked Rivera describe the production in Spanish.

"Amor en las Amozonas," Rivera said.

Love in the Amazons.

And you can feel the energy and excitement the cast and crew have for everyone in the community to enjoy.

"It's full of magical realism and it is transformative. We have incredible set design, and costume design and lighting and it really will grab you right by the heart and take you on a journey that is not to be missed," Lucey said.

For more information on Opera San Jose, click here.

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