Rappaccini's Daughter
Composer: Daniel Catán
Composer Bio: Daniel Catán, Latin America's pre-eminent living composer, was born in Mexico City in 1949. A Sephardic Jew of Russian descent, he spent his first 14 years in Mexico, relocating to England to study philosophy and music. After several years at Sussex and Southampton, Catán moved to the United States, where he earned his Ph.D. at Princeton under the tutelage of Milton Babbitt. Having spent just as many years outside of Mexico as he had growing up there, he returned to Mexico City in 1977 to rediscover his Spanish-speaking roots, serving a term as Music Administrator at the Palace of Fine Arts. In 1994, San Diego Opera premiered his work Rappaccini's Daughter, launching an opera career in the United States that was sealed by the Houston premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas, the most popular new work the company has produced to date. In 1998 Catán won the Placido Domingo award from the Los Angeles Opera. Now a resident of Los Angeles, Catán is currently working on a new "comic" opera for the Houston Grand Opera, Las Bodas de Salsipuedes (Caribbean Wedding).

Although Catán studied under Babbitt, his own compositional voice is radically different, and his works incorporate the twelve-tone system only as occasional structural devices. Catán's music is composed for the heart and ear, and has been frequently labeled neo-Romantic or neo-Impressionist. Puccini, Strauss, Debussy, and Ravel are all names that frequently appear when people describe Catán's music; and though these are certainly apt comparisons, they should not detract from what is a very original and expressive voice. His melodies are rich and expansive, and often take some intriguing turns; drifting along like spun gold or rising into unforced and often blissful crescendos. His command of the orchestral palette is masterful, and his music fairly shimmers with delightful phrases and painterly surprises.

Primarily a composer of operas, his subject matter is frequently derived from "magical realism" and fantastical literature, and some of his sources have included Nathaniel Hawthorne, Octavio Paz, and Gabriel García Márquez.
Librettist: Juan Tovar
Other Artistic Personnel: Eduardo Diazmuñoz (Conductor)
Original Cast: Original Cast:
Encarnacion Vazquez (Beatriz)
Ignacio Clapes (Dr. Baglioni)
Jesús Suaste (Dr. Rappaccini)
Inmaculada Egido (Isabela)
Alfonso Orozco (Giovanni)

San Diego's Cast:
Oscar Samano (Dr. Rappaccini)
Fernando de la Mora (Giovanni)
Ellen Rabiner (Isabela)
Premiere Date: April 25, 1991
Producing Company: Teatro del Palacio de Bellas Artes
Description: The setting is Padua, Italy: The mysterious Dr. Giacomo Rappaccini is so pathologically possessive of his daughter that he makes her poisonous with a potion from his toxic garden. Flowers wither at her touch. This doesn't deter a medical student, Giovanni Guasconti, from falling in love with her. Concerned about Beatriz's toxicity, he arranges to get an antidote from his friend, the medical professor Dr. Baglioni. Giovanni goes to the garden to give Beatriz the antidote and realizes that he, too, has become toxic. Unselfishly, he hands the antidote to her. Her father warns Beatriz that she will die if she takes it, but she replies that it is better than being stuck in the garden for the rest of her life. Singing a final aria, she collapses at the foot of a tree, amid a shower of flowers.
Reviews: San Diego Daily Transcript, Gilda Mullette, 3-11-94; Gay and Lesbian Times, Don Kerne, 3-10-94; The Daily Californian, Pam Dixon, 3-10-94; The Orange County Register, Scott Duncan, 3-8-94; L.A. Times, Martin Bernheimer, 3-7-94; Excelsior (in Spanish), 3-4-94; Gay and Lesbian Times, Don Kerne, 3-3-94; The Orange County Register, Scott Duncan, 3-1-94; Opera Now, 3-94; The San Diego Union-Tribune (Currents), Valerie Scher and Preston Turegano 2-28-94; Excelsior (in Spanish), 2-25-94; San Diego Daily Transcript, Donna Lawrence, 2-25-94; La Prensa (San Diego), 2-18-94; San Diego Union-Tribune, Preston Turegano, 9-9-93
Length: 01:45
Total Acts: 2
Musical Style: Considerable influence from Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande; richly lyrical; soaring orchestral motifs; the vocal writing has been likened to Richard Strauss and Puccini; beautiful, evocative orchestral colors with delicate percussion; fluidly tonal;
Contact: Associated Music Publishers, Inc.
Address: 257 Park Avenue South, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10010
E-mail Address: pm@schirmer.com
Phone: 212-254-2100
Publisher Web Site: http://www.schirmer.com
Schedule of Performances Listings
Rappaccini's Daughter (Catán)
Wednesday, April 23, 1997 - Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater
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