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Plácido Domingo says L.A. Opera's 'The Postman' is special delivery for Latinos

September 18, 2010 |  7:00 am

Historically, Spanish-language operas have been rare compared with those written in Italian, German or even French. Rarer still are Spanish-language operas by contemporary Latin American composers.

So when L.A. Opera held a press presentation last week for its upcoming production of "Il Postino" (The Postman) by Mexican-born composer Daniel Catán -- partly based on the 1994 Italian feature film of the same name -- L.A. Opera general director Plácido Domingo stressed the importance of presenting Spanish-language operas in a heavily Latino region such as Southern California.

Catan "It's very important to open an opera that's completely Latino," said the superstar Spanish tenor, who'll be playing the key role of Pablo Neruda, the real-life Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet.

"It's a city [Los Angeles] with an extraordinary quantity of Latinos," Domingo continued, speaking in Spanish in response to a reporter's question. "There are many generations here that are people whose grandparents were born in California. It's important that we sing in Spanish. It's a privilege, it's a great responsibility."

In the opera, as in the movie, Neruda befriends a young Italian postman named Mario while living in exile on a remote island. Inspired by the great artist's poetry, the postman romances a local beauty named Beatrice and becomes fatefully involved in the political conflict engulfing his town.

"Il Postino" will open L.A. Opera's new season Thursday and run through Oct. 16.

Click here to read The Times' story on "Il Postino."

-- Reed Johnson

Photo: Daniel Catán. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

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