It starts with a departure. As the boat leaves the dock, fast-paced NYC operagoers bid farewell to the old gray concrete jungle; seated and warm in surrender, they are swallowed by a tsunami of color. Florencia en el Amazonas, by late Mexican composer Daniel Catán, is the first-ever Latin American Spanish opera to take the main stage at the Metropolitan Opera, and the Met’s first Spanish opera in nearly a century.
The set stuns with two towering rainforest walls, emerald along each side of a winding river under the bluest skies of the Amazon jungle. Right on time from the deck of the boat, the baritone voice of Riolobo sings, “¡Hace años que esperabamos este momento! (For years we have waited for this moment!)” The line rings true for characters and audience alike, one of a multitude of mirroring instances the show has produced, on and off the river stage. “It’s just the start,” Met general manager Peter Gelb wrote in his open letter in the 2023–24 season book. There, he declared the Met’s renewed commitment to presenting new music, faces, and stories that fully reflect its audiences and the city we live in.