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River of Magic

Gabriel Garcia Marquez didn't create the character of Florencia Grimaldi, but he did open the door to the world of magical realism through which she emerged, as the heroine of Daniel Catan's Florencia en al Amazonas. Inspired by Marquez's work, the opera unfolds during a riverboat journey through the verdant, mysterious Amazon, where storms and river spirits evoke a mystical power that transfigures both reality and time.

A love story at heart, Florencia is celebrated as the first Spanish-language opera commissioned by major companies in the United States, including Opera Colorado, which is mounting four performances at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The production features original elements that heighten the magic, including video projections and a set that orients the audience as passengers on the boat.

"For many years, we have relied on the great standard classics, so it is an exciting risk that we're moving into unfamiliar territory with this contemporary opera," says Opera Colorado's Rex Fuller. "The music is lush and romantic, and not what one might expect when one hears the words 'contemporary opera.'"

The show debuts tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Ellie, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Tickets, which range from $20 to $150, are available at 800-982-ARTS or
Sat., March 24, 7:30 p.m.; Tue., March 27, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., March 30, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., April 1, 2 p.m., 2012


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