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The Opera House is the second-largest theater in the Center, with 2,362 seats. It was designed for ballet, opera, and musical theater. Over the years, the Opera House has welcomed dozens of the world's great dance and opera companies and has hosted some of the most important artistic events of the last quarter century. With its distinctive red and gold chandelier, a gift from Austria, the Opera House makes an elegant setting for the annual Kennedy Center Honors, the nation's highest award for lifetime achievement in the arts.

Now performing in the Opera House :

Image for Washington National Opera: <i>Florencia in the Amazon</i>

Washington National Opera: Florencia in the Amazon


Florencia in the Amazon (1996)            
Libretto by Marcela Fuentes-Berain, inspired by the writings of Gabriel García Márquez
Company premiere
WNO co-production with LA Opera; originally staged by Houston Grand Opera and Cincinnati Opera
"Visually stunning! Gasp-inducing aerial effects… shimmering, romantic score… This is an opera that works."--The Seattle Times
Two-time Grammy Award–winning American soprano Christine Goerke stars as a famous opera singer who embarks upon an enchanted riverboat journey in late Mexican American composer Daniel Catán's mesmerizing opera. Returning after 20 years to her South American homeland of Brazil, Florencia Grimaldi boards the El Dorado in disguise and heads up the Amazon to sing at an opera house in the capital. Along the way, she hopes to track down her long-lost lover, a butterfly hunter who has disappeared in the jungle. Beset by storms and a cholera outbreak, Florencia and her fellow travelers are carried deeper into the rain forest, while Ríolobo, a mystical river creature, guides them to life-changing revelations.
Inspired by the magical realism of Nobel Prize–winning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera), Florencia in the Amazon was the first-ever Spanish-language commission by major U.S. opera companies, and an instant audience smash when it premiered in 1996 under the direction of Francesca Zambello. WNO's Artistic Director now brings this fantastical opera to Washington, eager to revisit the production with fresh insight as part of her commitment to present a major American work each season. Last seen as Chrysothemis in WNO's Elektra in 2008, Christine Goerke brings her "big, gleaming sound" (The Chicago Tribune) to a dazzling score led by rising star conductor Carolyn Kuan in her WNO debut. As the Washington Post says: "Catán writes in a lush, post-Puccini melodic idiom, creating music that's well suited to a story that reaches toward mythic timelessness."
Florencia Grimaldi: Christine Goerke / Melody Moore* (Sep. 24)
Ríolobo: Norman Garrett^
Rosalba: Andrea Carroll*
Arcadio: Patrick O'Halloran**
Paula: Nancy Fabiola Herrera*
Álvaro: Michael Todd Simpson
Captain: David Pittsinger
Conductor: Carolyn Kuan*
Director: Francesca Zambello
Set Designer: Robert Israel
Costume Designer: Catherine Zuber
Lighting Designer: Mark McCullough
Projection Designer: S. Katy Tucker
Choreographer: Eric Sean Fogel

* WNO debut
** Current Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist
^ Former Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist

In Spanish with projected English titles. Titles may not be visible from the rear of the orchestra.

Performance Timing: Act I - 61 min.; Intermission - 20 min.; Act II - 48 min.

Musicologist Saul
Lilienstein leads the Friday, September 26 Opera Insight, starting 1 hour and 15 minutes before the performance and lasting 35–40 minutes. All other Opera Insights start 1 hour before the performance and last 20–25 minutes. Informative and entertaining, Opera Insights take you inside the composer's mind, behind the scenes of planning a production, and into the history and social context of each opera.
These lectures are free, but patrons must present a ticket from any performance of Florencia in the Amazon.

Following these performances:

Monday evening, September 22
Sunday matinee, September 28
Join WNO artists for a unique opportunity to ask questions about the production.
All discussions begin immediately after the performance and are free with your ticket.