The University of Houston Moores Opera Center has lost close friend and collaborator Daniel Catán.
Catán, one of the leading composers of contemporary opera, had been on campus recently working with students and observing rehearsals for his latest work "Il Postino."
Following its successful premiere in Los Angeles starring Placido Domingo, "Il Postino" recently made its second American appearance thanks to UH's Moores Opera Center. The opera concludes a weekend run at 7:30 p.m., April 11 in the Moores Opera House. The performance will be dedicated to the memory of Catán, who passed away unexpectedly over the weekend.
Catán first became acquainted with the Moores Opera Center in 1996. At the time, Houston Grand Opera (HGO) was producing Catán's "Florencia En El Amazonas." After meeting Ross and Joseph Evans, UH professor of voice, he learned more about the university and the Moores Opera Center. The relationship strengthened when Evans starred in HGO's premiere of Catán's "Salsipuedes" in 2004.
In 2009, Ross invited Catán to the UH production of "Florencia En El Amazonas." Catán attended the performance and worked with students during rehearsals.
"I was struck by the enthusiasm and professionalism of the Moores Opera Center," Catan said. "The ‘Florencia' rehearsal period was very exciting, and the final result very professional indeed. Since then, I've been a fan of the extraordinary group of musicians and technical staff that makes this possible."
The collaboration planted the seeds for Moores Opera Center's "Daniel Catán Project." Through this project, the center brings the composer's works to campus every other year. Catán himself suggested "Il Postino" should be featured as the project's next opera.
"As a composer, I have had great admiration for Daniel's style - for his compositional choices and his innate talent for writing for singers," said David Ashley White, director of the Moores School of Music. "His lyricism was outstanding and was so natural. To my ears, "Il Postino" was his best work, and as it now turns out, it will be a fitting tribute to him and his immense expressive abilities."