Last night the Met presented its first performance of the late Daniel Catán’s opera Florencia en el Amazonas. It takes place on a boat traveling down the Amazon to Manaus. Florencia is a legendary opera singer who’s lost her lover. I will have to wait for the telecast to comment on its staging so my comments are limited to the music.
Catán’s score is lush, with no hard edges. It manages to be both tuneful and yet contains not a single memorable melody. While unfailingly pleasant it recycles much of the material repeatedly over its brief span. It’s a work that makes no demands on its audience and likely makes them wonder why they spent $360, more or less, for a comfortable interlude in the theater.
The Met has painted itself into a woke corner; it’s about to change its name to The House of Insomnia. It will need the permission of the state of New York to make the name change. New York will have to momentarily pause from punishing Donald Trump for paying back his loans to certify the altered nomenclature. Why the Met on an amphetamine high chose to mount a work with the core of belly lox that was both spongey and soporific is hard to fathom. The opera does have a fine part for its title character. Ailyn Pérez gave an outstanding performance as the legendary soprano who transforms into a butterfly at the show’s curtain.
The remainder of the cast were all up to the Met’s high standard and as per usual Yannick Nézet-Séguin and his pipers performed with elan and precision. Worth a trip to the movie theater, but a little too overstuffed for a full fare ticket. If it puts you to sleep you’ll have pleasant dreams. More on this show next month when the Met presents it in HD.