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Daniel Catán

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Il Postino (2010)
Commissioned by the Los Angeles Opera
Text Writer
Libretto by the composer, based on the novel by Antonio Skármeta, and the film by Michael Radford.
Publisher
G Schirmer Inc
Category
Opera and Music Theatre
Sub Category
Grand Opera
Year Composed
2010
Duration
2 Hours 5 Minutes
Chorus
TB
Language
Spanish
Solo Instrument(s)
2S, Mz, 4T, Bar, B-bar, 5T, 2Bar, 2B, 1 silent role (boy)


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   Libretto

Programme Note
Daniel Catán Il Postino (2010)
Los Angeles Opera
Text:

Libretto by the composer, based on the novel by Antonio Skármeta,
and the film by Michael Radford.

Cast List:

   MARIO RUOPPOLO: Tenor
   MARIO'S FATHER: Character Tenor
   PABLO NERUDA: Tenor
   MATILDE NERUDA: Soprano
   GIORGIO: Bass-baritone
   BEATRICE: Soprano
   DI COSIMO: Baritone
   PRIEST: Character Tenor
   DONNA ROSA: Mezzo-soprano
   PABLITO (son of Mario and Beatrice): Silent
   4 THUGS: 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones
   5 PATRONS: 3 Tenors, 2 Basses
   Chorus: TB

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Synopsis:

The action takes place on a small Italian island in the 1950's. Mario Ruoppolo is a gentle young man in an insular Italian fishing village where time moves slowly. Since Mario's seasickness doesn't allow him to fish, he takes the job of postman, delivering mail on a bicycle to only a single customer, the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Neruda has been exiled to Italy because of his communist views. After a while, the two become good friends.

In the meantime, Mario meets and becomes smitten with a beautiful young lady, Beatrice Russo, in the village's only cafe. Mario has no idea how to pursue the longings of his heart. With the help of Neruda, Mario is able to better communicate his love to Beatrice through the use of poetic metaphors. Soon Mario is composing poetry of his own, with hopes of not only attracting Beatrice's attention, but of winning her heart.

Mario and Beatrice are later married, and at the same time Neruda and his wife Matilde learn that they are allowed to return to Chile. Some months after Neruda's departure and subsequent lack of contact, Mario makes a nostalgic recording of island sounds for Neruda, including the heartbeat of his unborn son. Several years later, Neruda comes back to the island and finds Beatrice and her son in the same old cafe. She tells him that Mario was killed just before the birth of their son, at a communist rally in Naples. He was selected to read his poetry (dedicated to Neruda) for the crowd, but police stormed the rally before he could reach the stage. Beatrice gives Neruda a letter that Mario left for him.

World Premiere:

September 25, 29; October 2, 5, 9, 16, 2010
Los Angeles Opera
Grant Gershon, conductor
Ron Daniels, stage director
Riccardo Hernandez, set design
Jennifer Tipton, lighting design
Philip Bussman, projections

Premiere cast:

Pablo Neruda: Plácido Domingo
Mario Ruoppolo, the Postman: Charles Castronovo
Beatrice: Amanda Squitieri
Matilda Neruda: Cristina Gallardo-Domas
Donna Rosa: Nancy Fabiola Herrera

European premiere:
December 2010
Theater an der Wien, Vienna, Austria

Subsequent performances:
June 2011
Chatelet Theatre, Paris, France




Performances
Date
Title
  • 09 MAY 2014
    New York, NY
    Mannes College New School for Music
    Joseph Colaneri, conductor

    Other Dates:
    10 May - New York, NY
  • 17 JUL 2013
    Il Postino Country Premiere
    Teatro Real
    Orquesta Sinfonica de Madrid
    Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor

    Other Dates:
    20,23,25,28 July - Teatro Real
  • 17 JUL 2013
    Madrid, Spain
    The Teatro Real
    Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor

    Other Dates:
    18-28 July - Madrid, Spain
  • 09 JUN 2012
    Il Postino Country Premiere
    Santiago, Chile
    Corporación Cultural/Teatro Municipal de Santiago
    Grant Gershon, conductor

    Other Dates:
    10,13,14,12 June - Santiago, Chile
  • 09 JUN 2012
    Santiago, Chile
    Teatro Municipal de Santiago
    Grant Gershon, conductor

    Other Dates:
    10-14 June - Santiago, Chile
  • 17 MAY 2012
    Holland, PA
    Center City Opera Theater

    Other Dates:
    18-20 May - Holland, PA
  • 01 NOV 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    Center City Opera Theater
    Leland Kimball, stage director; Andrew Kurtz, conductor
  • 27 OCT 2011
    Festival Cervantino
    Guanajuato, Mexico

    Other Dates:
    29 October - Guanajuato, Mexico
  • 13 OCT 2011
    México, DF, Mexico
    Eje Siete Vialidad Del Arte SC
    Israel Gursky, conductor

    Other Dates:
    16,27,29 October - México, DF, Mexico
  • 13 OCT 2011
    Il Postino Country Premiere
    Mexico City, Mexico
    Opera de Bellas Artes
  • 24 SEP 2011
    México, DF, Mexico
    Eje Siete Vialidad Del Arte SC
    Barbara Schubert, conductor
  • 08 APR 2011
    Houston, TX
    University of Houston
    Brett Mitchell, conductor

    Other Dates:
    11,10,9 April - Houston, TX
  • 09 DEC 2010
    Germany
    Theater an der Wien

    Other Dates:
    11,14,18,21 December - Germany
  • 09 DEC 2010
    Il Postino Country Premiere
    Vienna, Austria
    Theater an der Wien; Wiener Symphoniker
    Placido Domingo as Neruda; Ron Daniels, stage director; Jesús López-Cobos, conductor

    Other Dates:
    14,11,18 December - Vienna, Austria
  • 02 OCT 2010
    Il Postino World Premiere
    Los Angeles, CA
    Los Angeles Opera

    Other Dates:
    5,9,16 October - Los Angeles, CA
  • 25 SEP 2009
    Il Postino World Premiere
    Los Angeles, CA
    Los Angeles Opera

    Other Dates:
    29 September - Los Angeles, CA

Reviews
...dramatically engaging and musically satisfying. Catán's three-act work captures the best aspects of the film and smoothly integrates the incidents into operatic form. ...very much an unapologetically melodic piece. What works about Il Postino is the way these breezy melodies never sound retrograde - the swelling strings and twittering woodwinds match the romantic temperament of the setting and the characters. ...a highly singable and enjoyable show.
Opera,1/1/2011
LOS ANGELES – “Il Postino” is a contemporary opera that doesn’t behave like a contemporary opera. Set in recent times, its story engages the emotions much the way the popular operas of the distant past do. Its score, by Mexican-born composer Daniel Catán, entices the ear without pandering. It may be just what the doctor ordered for an opera company trying to survive a rough economy without sacrificing its spirit of adventure. Of course, Los Angeles Opera had one big advantage as it presented the work’s world premiere on Sept. 23 -- the services of its General Director Plácido Domingo in the lead role of the revered Chilean poet/activist Pablo Neruda. But get this: when curtain call time arrived in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the loudest cheers from the season’s opening-night-gala crowd went to the composer.
Richard S. Ginell, MusicalAmerica.com,9/27/2010
the language spoken by Catán's lovely score is universal: the safely melodious terrain of international opera. It has lyrical vocal writing, lush orchestral interludes, hints of Verdi and Puccini. There's love. There's death. Add the plot of a popular (and Oscar-winning) film and throw Plácido Domingo into the mix for good measure, and you've got something with considerable crowd appeal, which brought the opening night audience to its feet.
Anne Midgette, The Washington Post,9/25/2010
The piece... is undeniably beautiful, and it packs an emotional punch.
Joshua Kosman, The San Francisco Chronicle,9/25/2010
Given its world premiere Thursday on the opening night of the Los Angeles Opera's 25th anniversary season, "Il Postino" delivers in a way few modern operas do.
Ronald Blum, The San Francisco Examiner,9/24/2010
Catán’s fourth opera is not intended to surprise. No doubt most of the audience will know his opera’s source and feel comfortable with the tonal, Puccini-infused lyricism of his score. The composer from Mexico who lives and teaches in Southern California and who wrote his own libretto, follows the 1994 film closely if not slavishly. Unlike the novel, which takes place in Chile in the early ‘70s at the end of Neruda’s life, the movie moves the story to a fictitious Italian island 20 years earlier, during the Chilean poet’s exile. Catán, however, restores a small taste of the politics, sex and Skármeta’s wonderful dry humor, as well as Neruda’s poetry, that the banal film left out.
Mark Swed, The Los Angeles Times,9/24/2010
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