FGO Presents Regional Premiere of Harrowing Work About Political Persecution in Cuba.
February 15, 2017
With those words, Reinaldo Arenas began one of the most compelling memoirs of the late twentieth century, Before Night Falls. The book met with widespread critical acclaim when it was published in 1992. It was an Editors' Choice selection of The New York Times Book Review, and The Miami Herald praised it as "a deathbed ode to eroticism ... part autobiography, part street-level sociology, part political statement."
In 2000, Before Night Falls was adapted into an award-winning motion picture, directed by artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel and starring Javier Bardem, Johnny Depp and Hector Babenco. In 2010, composer Jorge Martín's opera adaptation of the book had its world premiere at Fort Worth Opera.
Now, as part of its mission to breathe new life into its repertoire, Florida Grand Opera presents the Miami premiere of this remarkable and disturbing opera. Before Night Falls is part of FGO's "Made for Miami" series, which presents operas that connect directly with South Florida's rich and diverse communities.
Before Night Falls is an intensely dramatic bio-opera that depicts Reinaldo Arenas's struggles with his miserable and impoverished Cuban childhood, his persecution under the brutal Castro regime where he was branded a dissident, his desperate flight to the U.S. in the headline-making 1980 Mariel Boatlift, and his final decade in New York, when he contracted AIDS and eventually committed suicide.
Jorge Martín says that he saw the operatic possibilities in Arenas's book largely because of "Arenas himself. He's bigger than life, and very human. I also felt it had all the components that would make a good opera—a compelling lead character, good choral scenes, and the possibility of wonderful, dramatic scenes about the struggle for freedom and self-expression."
"I want audiences at Florida Grand Opera to come away with a powerful night in the theater," says Jorge Martín. "And I'm so happy to present this story to my fellow Cubans in Miami. This is our own story—the story of one of the great Cuban figures of literature. His life was shaped, like so many Cubans who live in Miami, by our reactions to Castro. It's the story of the Cubans in exile."
National Review wrote of Before Night Falls, "There are real, unabashed melodies and tunes ... The opera is a worthy work of art." Gay City News called it "surely one of the most admirable American operas of recent years," and Opera News found that it "bursts with restless passion."
"We are very excited to introduce Miami audiences to this extraordinary work," says Florida Grand Opera General Director and CEO Susan T. Danis. "This is an opera that speaks directly to members of our Cuban community, to the experience many of them had in finding their way to the U.S. With the current worldwide refugee crisis being in the news at the moment, FGO's production of Before Night Falls could hardly be timelier."
Audiences have only five (5) chances to experience Before Night Falls, at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
Before Night Falls will be sung in Spanish and English, with projected titles in both languages.
SCHEDULE | Before Night Falls
Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County's Ziff Ballet Opera House
Saturday, March 18, 2017......................7 p.m.
Sunday, March 19, 2017......................2 p.m.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017......................8 p.m.
Friday, March 24, 2017......................8 p.m.
Saturday, March 25, 2017......................8 p.m.