Florencia en el Amazonas & John Wayne Cancer Institute Event

The late Daniel Catan was the first Mexican composer to have an opera produced in the U.S  We had the privilege of seeing Rappaccini’s Daughter in 1994; and his  last opera, Il Postino, whose premiere featured Placido Domigo in 2010.

Catan was influenced by such legendary composers as Ravel, Puccini and Debussy, and his masterpiece, Florencia En El Amazonas premiered in 1996  at our own L.A. Opera.  This lush, neo-romantic contemporary opera, was the first to feature a Spanish libretto, and Domingo formed a great friendship with the Sephardic Composer.  We had the pleasure to attend the current production at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, starring Chilean soprano, Veronica Villarroel as the internationally renowned diva, Florencia  Grimaldi. 

Patrick Wayne, Marilou Terpenning, Dan Hay and Anita Swift

The entire production takes place aboard the El Dorado, a magical riverboat cruising down the Amazon.  A myriad of tales unravel about the passengers aboard.  Featured are David Pittsinger as the Captain, and Lisette Oropesa, as Rosalba, whose duets with Arturo Chacon-Cruz (, the Captains young nephew) illustrate the romance, seduction, and beauty of Catan’s score.

Diva Veronia Villarroel with LA Opera President, Christopher Koelsch

You have until December 20th to visit the enchanting world of Florencia; and be moved by the exotic ebb and flow of this lush excursion down the fabled Amazon.  For ticket info, please contact 213-972-8001 or check out their website at laopera.org.

At another event, Dr. Marilou Terpenning received the Angel Award and Dan Hay, the Public Service Award at the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Event co-chairs Katie Lewis and MarisolZarco welcomed the 300 guests, and introduced the afternoon’s MC, actor, Gerard DiNome.

Ed & Alicia Clark (Benefactors) with Veronica Villarroel (Florencia) & Jose Carbo (Riolobo)

President Anita Swift (John Wayne’s Granddaughter) announced the organization has raised more than $18 million, since their  founding in 1981.  The entire Wayne clan is very actively involved in this cause, and Patrick Wayne (John’s handsome son) presented Hay with his award.  John Wayne films inspired Hay to spearhead major softball tournaments, raising over $65,000 the past few years.  The Duke himself would be very proud! 

Lisette Oropesa (Rosalba) with Andrea Catan (Widow of Daniel Catan)

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