She broke the mold. She burned the script. She dared to live and live hard.
Hardly any woman of the 20th century defined “fierce” like Frida Kahlo. And hardly any work captures the spirit of Frida as completely as this opera’s intricate and proud portrait of the iconic Mexican artist’s life.
A sensation in MOT’s 2014-2015 season, the Detroit production of Frida is considered one of the most powerful presentations of this authentic, inspiring opera. Frida returns with the original cast including Catalina Cuervo as Frida and Ricardo Herrera as Diego Rivera, and performed at Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, the original home for MOT.
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Presented at Music Hall Center for the
Music by Robert Xavier Rodríguez
Lyrics and monologues by Migdalia Cruz
Book by Hilary Blecher
Directed by Jose Maria Condemi
Conducted by Suzanne Mallare Acton
Featuring Catalina Cuervo as Frida Kahlo
and Ricardo Herrera as Diego Rivera
“Emotional and dynamic.”
-The Detroit News
2 hours and 18 minutes, including one 20-minute intermission
Jose Maria Condemi’s directorial work, which has been presented by companies in North America and abroad, encompasses an eclectic range of styles and repertoire and has been consistently praised for its creatively theatrical and innovative approach.
Notable engagements include Carmen, Madama Butterfly, Faust, Tosca, Così fan tutte, Un ballo in maschera, The Elixir of Love for Families and the world premiere of The Secret Garden (San Francisco Opera), Ernani, Tristan und Isolde and Il barbiere di Siviglia for Families (Lyric Opera Chicago), Aida (Houston Grand Opera), Luisa Miller (Canadian Opera Company), Orphée et Eurydice, La bohème, Tosca and Il trovatore (Seattle Opera).
Condemi returns to director Frida again for the Michigan Opera Theatre. Other works include Tosca, Ainadamar, Don Giovanni, La Traviata, Il trovatore and Maria de Buenos Aires (Cincinnati Opera), A Streetcar Named Desire (Kentucky Opera), Don Giovanni (Portland Opera), Cosi fan tutte and Il barbiere di Siviglia (Atlanta Opera), Cendrillon (New Orleans Opera), Simon Boccanegra (Teatro Colon/Buenos Aires), Il trovatore (Austin Lyric Opera), Tosca and Maria de Buenos Aires (Florida Grand Opera), La traviata (Wolftrap Opera), Carmen (Lyric Opera of Kansas City), Falstaff, Die Zauberflöte, L'elisir d'amore, La rondine, Don Pasquale and La traviata (Opera San Jose), Susannah and Roméo et Juliette (Festival Opera) and the San Francisco Opera Western Opera Theater's national tours of Die Fledermaus and Don Giovanni.
As Associate Director, he has worked on The Ring Cycle and Les Troyens (San Francisco Opera), Così fan tutte (Lyric Opera Chicago) and Un ballo in maschera (Canadian Opera Company). Collaborations with contemporary composers include directing the world premieres of Hector Armienta's River of Women and The Weeping Woman and the workshop performance of San Francisco Opera’s newly commissioned piece Earthrise by 2000 Pulitzer Prize winner Lewis Spratlan. Current and upcoming directing engagements include new productions of Tosca (Cincinnati Opera) and La traviata (Opera Naples).
Suzanne Mallare Acton
Known for her “supple, distinctive musical direction," Suzanne continues to earn respect and admiration for her ability to draw out the highest musical standards from those under her direction. Acton has worked on over 150 productions of opera, operetta and musicals collaborating with world renowned artists such as Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Cleo Laine, John Dankworth, Ara Berberian, Pablo Elvira, and others.
As a conductor Suzanne has lead MOT in productions of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Carmen, La Traviata, Frida, A View from the Bridge, Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Die Fledermaus, Music Man, The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, West Side Story and A Little Night Music. She conducted a staged version of Carmina Burana with members of the Cirque du Soleil, and is credited with bringing TOO HOT TO HANDEL, the jazz/gospel version of Handel’s Messiah to Detroit, Chicago and Memphis.
In 2007, Suzanne founded the MOT Children’s Chorus, a program which provides exceptional choral and theatrical performance instruction in a professional environment to young singers in the metro-Detroit area. Every year, the children perform their own opera singing lead roles and chorus on the mainstage of the Detroit Opera House.
Revival Director & Choreographer
Marco Pelle, recipient of the 2016 Primi Dieci USA Award, under the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as one of the ten most influential Italians in the USA, began his dance training in his Italy, continued in Monaco at the Academie de Danse Classique Princesse Grace before moving to New York City to study under several merit scholarships with Merce Cunningham. He’s been one of New York Theatre Ballet’s resident choreographers since 2012. He created several works for the company, among which Solitude, Spaces and Endless Possibilities of Being, whose musics were all composed by his brother, Federico Pelle. In 2013 Mr. Pelle also collaborated with great ballerina Alessandra Ferri on her comeback show The Piano Upstairs presented at the Spoleto Festival, starring Mrs. Ferri and Mr. Boyd Gaine.
As an Opera choreographer he has worked extensively in the US and abroad. In Beijing, China, he has choreographed a total of four productions at the National Centre of the Performing Arts, including Aida, with costumes by Academy Awards winner Franca Squarciapino and sets designed by Academy Awards nominee Ezio Frigerio. In 2013 he choreographed Passage, starring Mr. Bolle and Mrs. Semionova, a short movie directed by Fabrizio Ferri, with music by Fabrizio Ferri which opened Venice Film Festival. Passage went on to become a viral video. In 2015, American Ballet Theater soloists, Luciana Paris and Sterling Baca, performed his work Libera! at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC. American Ballet Studio Company has performed Libera! extensively ever since. In 2017, Marco Pelle had his directorial debut with Florida Grand Opera, directing and choreographing Un Ballo in Maschera. After that, directed and choreographed contemporary operas like Frida and Song From The Uproar for Cincinnati Opera and Tosca for Michigan Opera Theatre. In January 2018, his new work, Carmen, for American Ballet Theater Studio Company debuted at the Frick Collection before engaging on a national tour. The same year, he became ballet choreographer of Pose, the Golden Globe nominated tv series created and directed by great American tv and movie director, Ryan Murphy. In 2019 he was the Artistic Director of the dance gala Alessandra Ferri: The Art of the Pas De Deux, featuring Alessandra Ferri, Marcelo Gomes and Herman Cornejo, among others. His new piece Shall I breathe?, with original lights by Brandon Stirling Baker, was danced by Sarasota Principal Dancers Kate Honea and Ricardo Graziano.
Known as the "Fiery Soprano", Colombian-American soprano Catalina Cuervo holds the distinction of having performed the most productions of Astor Piazzolla's Maria de Buenos Aires and Frida by Robert Xavier Rodríguez in the history of these operas and is considered one of the leading voices of Latin American Repertoire in the world.
Cuervo has performed for numerous prestigious companies including New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, The Atlanta Opera, Cincinnati Opera and Theatro Municipal de São Paulo.
Cuervo made her debut as Frida Kahlo in the revival of the opera Frida with Michigan Opera Theatre in 2015 and has since performed the role with Cincinnati Opera (2017), Florida Grand Opera (2019), Atlanta Opera (2019), Anchorage Opera (2020) and Portland Ópera (2021). Those productions ended with all sold-out shows and triumphant reviews, one even calling Frida the best opera of the 2015 season. Frida will be presented next at Michigan Opera Theatre and El Paso Opera.
Consequently, Catalina was named one of the five most successful Colombian Sopranos in the opera world by the Ministry of Culture of Colombia.
Catalina Cuervo has a prolific symphonic career as well. She recently debuted at Theatro Municipal de São Paulo, Brazil; singing Manuel de Falla’s El Amor Brujo and The Three Cornered Hat. She has also performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New Mexico Philharmonic, The Atlanta Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony and Filarmonica de Medellin, to name a few.
Besides opera, Catalina Cuervo is also one of the leading voices of Symphonic Rock/Metal Music in Colombia.
Ricardo Herrera, bass-baritone, performer, teacher, stage director. Ricardo has sung more than 50 operatic roles around the USA, Mexico, and Europe. He has sung with San Francisco Opera, Gotham Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, El Paso Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Caramoor Festival, Oldenburgisches Staatstheater, Atlanta Opera, among others.
Ricardo was honored the First Prize Award Winner of the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition in NYC and was also invited to participate in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia World Opera Contest. As a Merola Opera Center participant in San Francisco he performed the title role in the Western Opera Theater National Tour of Don Giovanni. Mr. Herrera received the Demodocus Award that entitled him to his Carnegie Hall debut as the bass soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony after participating in the premiere season of Opera Aegean in Greece under the Artistic Direction of Sherrill Milnes. He also received the Adler Fellowship with San Francisco Opera where he appeared in many San Francisco Opera productions including La Traviata, Eugene Onegin, The Mother of Us All and Billy Budd. He has presented masterclasses, concerts and recitals in Europe including a recital on music by Paul Bowles in Palma de Mallorca, Spain and L’enfance du Christ by Berlioz in the Cathedral of Monaco and a recital and masterclass in China at the University of the Arts in Nanjing.
After his debut with Michigan Opera Theater’s production of Frida in the role of Diego Rivera in 2015, he has sung this role with Cincinnati Opera and Florida Grand Opera and Atlanta Opera.
Mexican-Lebanese soprano Marlen Nahhas recently completed the Cafritz Young Artists program with Washington National Opera. Highlights of her time at WNO include The Magic Flute (Pamina), La traviata (Violetta) directed by Francesca Zambello, Tesori’s The Lion, The Unicorn and Me (Flamingo), The Consul (Foreign Woman), the world premiere of Sankaram’s Taking Up Serpents (Queer Kid), and a Concert of Comedic Masterpieces under the baton of Maestro Joseph Coloneri. Next season she will debut with Virginia Opera in La bohème (Musetta), a role she performed with Opera Naples and Finger Lakes Opera.
Recent orchestral debuts include the National Symphony Orchestra in excerpts from La bohème (Mimì) conducted by NSO music director Maestro Gianandrea Noseda and Kansas City Symphony for excerpts from Le nozze di Figaro (Susanna). She was a member of the Merola Opera program at the San Francisco Opera Center where she performed scenes from Il tabarro, Don Giovanni, Don Carlo, and La rondine in the Schwabacher and Grand Finale concerts. She was also an Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera where she covered roles in Tosca (title role) and Così fan tutte (Fiordiligi). Additional performing experience includes Madama Butterfly (title role) and Die Fledermaus (Rosalinde).
Ms. Nahhas was a National Semi-Finalist in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a graduate of Oklahoma City University and Indiana University.
Detroit-born tenor Corey Roberts is thrilled to return to Michigan Opera Theatre to reprise his role as Frida’s first love Alejandro in Rodríguez’s Frida. A passionate creative with a penchant for pushing boundaries, Corey draws on his eclectic experience on stage, in the studio, and in front of the camera to bring the characters he plays to life. Most recently, he portrayed the role of Rumples in Rumples, an immersive video opera experience that premiered at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, followed by a New York premiere at the White Box Gallery. Corey and his husband Cristian can be seen co-hosting Series 1 of On-The-Road, a So-Cal travel series presented by Toyota. Since his Michigan Opera Theatre debut during the original 2015 production of Frida and as a featured MOT artist during the Detroit Tree Lighting ceremony, Corey has continued to expand his experience in the studio and on stage in Los Angeles. He also has found tremendous inspiration focusing on new works. He originated the role of The Sweeper in Alex Weston’s The Lingerer for the English National Opera and spent five years giving a voice to Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Bonhoeffer the Musical—from a single demo to a full studio album and multiple sold-out showcases nationwide. Corey has been musically inclined his entire life, studying French horn and later receiving his BFA in Voice from Carnegie Mellon University.
Dimas’ Mother; Lupe Marin
American mezzo-soprano, Leah Dexter, is elated to be returning to Michigan Opera Theater for another production of Frida, to perform the roles of Dimas’ Mother and Lupe once again. Praised for having “...an opulent tone and characterization to match” (Opera News), recent reengagements have included her debut with Chicago Sinfonietta as the alto soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, the role of Gloria in Chicago Opera Theater’s premiere production of Shore’s Freedom Ride, T-Rex/Cavewoman with Lyric Opera Chicago’s Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt, the role of Auntie (cover) in Scarlet Ibis with Chicago Opera Theater, soloist for the Hearing in Color concert series, alto soloist in Tippett’s A Child of Our Time, with the University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra, South Shore Opera of Chicago’s 10th Anniversary Gala concert, Aida and Mahler’s Symphony Nr. 8 with the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Delius’ Eine Messe des Lebens and Mahler’s Symphony Nr. 2 with the Grant Park Festival Chorus. For the 2020-21 season, Ms. Dexter joined the Chicago based LYNX as a recital soloist for commissioned art songs and an anthology recording project released in fall of 2021, and re-turned to Chicago Opera Theater for two, critically-acclaimed premiere productions: The Transformation of Jane Doe as the Night Maid and Taking Up Serpents as Nelda, for which her performance was lauded as “...fluid, natural, bright, and her acting flawless” (Hyde Park Herald).The 2021-22 season will bring Ms. Dexter back to the Chicago Opera Theater for several pro-ductions: covering the title role of Bizet’s Carmen for a series of concerts, the role of Ib in Becoming Santa Claus, and Mistress Paddington in the world premiere of Errollyn Wallen’s opera Quamino’s Map.
Ms. Dexter is a Detroit area native who studied violin and cello for many years and holds a Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Michigan.
Jesús Vicente Murillo
Hailed by Opera News as “utterly loveable, with an expansive sound and easy stage presence”, Bass-Baritone, Jesús Vicente Murillo, has been performing Opera, Musical Theater, Concerts and Art Song across the United States and Canada since making his debut at with Michigan Opera Theater as The Android in The Very Last Green Thing at the age of eighteen. In 2019 he completed a two-year residency in Salt Lake City, with Utah Opera where he sang over 400 performances with the company. Since then, he has gone on to cover Dr. Bartolo in The Barber of Seville at Santa Fe Opera, perform Figaro in ¡Figaro! (90210) with Chautauqua Opera, Dr. Bartolo in The Barber of Seville with Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Betto in Gianni Schicchi/Buoso’s Ghost with Michigan Opera Theater, and Masetto in Don Giovanni with Bare Opera. He has also made numerous appearances with Opera Louisiane, Charlottesville Opera, Opera in Williamsburg, Salt Lake Choral Artists, Opera Saratoga, Seagle Music Colony, Arbor Opera Theater, Thompson Street Opera, Main Street Opera, and many others. Projects for the 2021-22 season include Leporello in Don Giovanni with Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Guillermo Kahlo in Frida with Michigan Opera Theater and El Paso Opera, Kassandra in Kassandra with The Chamber Cartel of Atlanta, and Jeff in Lisa Despain’s That Hellbound Train through a generous grant from The National Endowment for the Arts. He received his Bachelor of Music: Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Music: Opera and Voice Performance from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He is currently based out of Philadelphia where maintains a vocal studio, is a member of the Vox Ama Deus ensemble, and the Bass Soloist at All Saint’s Episcopal Church in Wynnewood, PA.
Jacob Surzyn is glad to perform in Michigan Opera Theatre’s Frida as Mr. Rockefeller! Jake is a graduate of the University of Michigan where he performed the roles of Schaunard in La bohème, Melisso in Alcina, and Cacambo/Don Issachar in Candide. He returned to the University of Michigan in 2020 as a guest performer to portray Johannes “Pa” Zegner in Mazzoli’s Proving Up.
Born and raised in Michigan, Jake has worked with companies such as Plymouth’s Main Street Opera Theatre, Ann Arbor’s Arbor Opera Theatre, and Detroit’s Opera MODO. With these companies he has performed as Marquis de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites, Doctor Gregg in Gallantry, Jupiter in Orphée aux enfers, Crespel in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Dandini in La Cenerentola, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, King Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance. A pioneer of virtual opera, Jake covered the role of Guglielmo in Opera NexGen’s inaugural performance of Così fan tutte. This past summer Jake was a resident artist with Opera North performing the role of Marcello in La bohème, and in March of 2020 he made his debut with First Coast Opera where he sang the role of The Pilot in Portman’s The Little Prince. Jake has been a Young and Apprentice Artist with Charlottesville Opera where he covered the roles of Marcello, Lancelot, and Escamillo.
An avid performer of oratorio, Jake has sung as the soloist in concerts ranging from the Baroque to the Contemporary. Such works include J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, Haydn’s The Creation, Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem, and Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion.
This spring Jake will cover the role of Jupiter in Madison Opera’s production of Orpheus in the Underworld.
Diane Rae Schoff
Mrs. Rockefeller; Natalia Trotsky
Diane Rae Schoff, mezzo soprano, is a regular character on stage with regional companies throughout Michigan and around the country. Diane recently received high praise for her company and role debuts with Opera Carolina and Opera Grand Rapids as Marcellina in their joint production of Le Nozze di Figaro. Opera News said “It would be hard to imagine a better portrayal of Marcellina, both physically and vocally than that of Diane Schoff.”
Career highlights include her work with Michigan Opera Theatre as the second maid in Elektra 2014, Natalia Trotsky in Frida 2015, the Second Lady in The Magic Flute 2016 and as Aunt Cecilia in Little Women 2017; with Toledo Opera as the Old Baroness in their 2017 production of Vanessa where she earned where she earned acclaim for her “look that could drop a horse at 50 feet” -Toledo Blade.
Mr. Ford; Leon Trotsky
Brian is no stranger to theatre. He was a member of the chorus at Michigan Opera Theatre for the debut of DiChiera’s Cyrano, and continued with La Traviata, Madame Butterfly, Carmen, The Mikado, La Boheme and Rigoletto. Beginning the 2009-2010 season with Nabucco and Don Giovanni, Brian made his main stage debut in the role of Spoletta in Tosca in May of 2010. He also depicted a “slimy, reprehensible Monastatos clothed in a ringing tenor that was happily free of the character’s disgusting physical attributes,” according to Opera News, during Michigan Opera Theatre’s Magic Flute in April of 2011. Brian also received acclaim for his portrayal of the comical Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro.
A native of Detroit, attended Wayne State University for undergraduate work in instrumental education and voice performance; here he received acclaim in both operatic and musical theatre productions. He has given life to such roles as Frederic in Pirates of Penzance and Che in Evita. Brian has appeared as a guest artist on many programs; he has made appearances at churches and theatres all over metro Detroit and around the world.
Following a 10 year post as Assistant Director of Music at Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, Brian currently takes residence on the music staff of The Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Midtown, Detroit, and as Assistant Director of Music at Holy Name Catholic Church in Birmingham, Mi. He also serves as Assistant Director of the Festival Choir at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, Mi.
Nurse; Mrs. Ford
Soprano Jennifer Cresswell was last seen at Michigan Opera Theatre as the Cropper Woman in The Grapes of Wrath. While she has enjoyed success in many traditional roles, including Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and Liù in Turandot, her true operatic passion lies in American Opera, as demonstrated in performances such as Magda Sorel in The Consul, Anna Maurrant in Street Scene, Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Charlotte in Before Breakfast, Hannah After in As One, and her most recent adventure, Olivia in INTERSTATE, a new chamber opera with music by Kamala Sankaram, for which Jennifer also served as co-librettist with Kathleen Kelly (premiering digitally through Minnesota Opera in October 2021).
Cresswell is also an accomplished recitalist and concert performer, including performances as soprano soloist for Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Bach's Mass in B Minor, Poulenc's Gloria, Mendelssohn's Elijah, and David Lang's Simple Song #3. In recent seasons, she has performed in concert at the Toledo Museum of Art, Kerrytown Concert House, in virtual distribution through the Ann Arbor Arts Alliance, and in concert with acclaimed tenor George Shirley, featuring the music of George Gershwin and Kurt Weill.
Canadian soprano Clodagh Earls embraces a range of repertoire from oratorio to contemporary operatic music and is thrilled to return to Michigan Opera Theatre to reprise the roles of Calaveras, Bathtub Lover, and Ensemble in Rodriguez’s Frida.
Earls has performed regularly with the Michigan Opera Theatre since 2014, and her credits include the company premiere of Rodriguez’s Frida (2015), Olga in Lehar’s The Merry Widow (alongside celebrated American soprano Deborah Voigt), Mrs. Jenks in Copland’s The Tender Land (2016), and Amy in Adamo’s Little Women (2017). Earls also performed as a featured artist in MOT’s Summer Serenade Series and in concerts throughout the metro Detroit area.
Earls has enjoyed performing the following roles: Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Miss Silverpeal in The Impresario, Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Papagena and Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte. She is also drawn to modern opera having starred in two premieres – Emilia in the Andrew Ager’s The Wings of the Dove in Toronto, and Eve in Jonathan Dove’s The Walk from the Garden with Rackham Choir and Orchestra in Detroit, Michigan.
Earls performs concert and oratorio works throughout the USA and Canada, including soprano soloist in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Sheba in Handel’s Solomon, and all soprano roles in Handel’s Samson with Masterworks of Oakville, Bach’s Kaffee-Kantate with Oakville Chamber Orchestra, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël with Waterford UMC, and guest artist engagements with the Oakville Symphony Orchestra, Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, and the Stratford Symphony Orchestra.
Earls holds a Master of Music: Voice Performance from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Music: Honours Voice Performance from Western University, Canada.
Calavera; Edward G. Robinson
David Moan is ecstatic to be reprising his roles in Frida with Michigan Opera Theatre. Along with the 2015 production of Frida, other previous MOT credits include Martin in Candide, Il Notaro/Magistrate in Gianni Schicci/Buoso’s Ghost, Bird Seller/Dr. Fogg in Sweeney Todd, and as Jack in MOT’s children’s tour of Jack and The Beanstalk. David is also the current drama director for the Michigan Opera Theatre Children's Chorus and the Big Bad Wolf in the MOT’s children’s tour of Little Red Riding Hood. Other favorite performances include John Wilkes Booth (Wilde Award Winner) in Assassins and Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd at the Encore Musical Theatre Company; Monty in A Gentleman’s Guide… (Wilde Award Winner) and God/Himself in An Act of God at the Dio; and Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf in Into The Woods at the Ringwald Theatre. David is also one-half of the musical improv duo Torch Song.
Mezzo-soprano Antona Yost grew up in Salt Lake City where she discovered a passion for singing while a student at the Madeleine Choir School. She went on to complete a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Southern California and a Master of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan. In 2018, she made her professional operatic debut with Detroit-based Opera MODO, singing the role of Angelina in their innovative adaptation of Rossini's La Cenerentola. Since then, she has continued to nurture her love for opera, oratorio, and choral music, performing operatic roles with various companies in the upper Midwest region, and appearing as a soloist and ensemble member with groups such as Ann Arbor’s UMS and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Antona is passionate about teaching and maintains a small voice studio in Ann Arbor, where she is based.
Try to put Frida in a box: she’ll break it. Force her into a mold? She’ll smash it. Pressure her to endure hardship, pain, injury, hospitals, capitalism—she’ll burn them as fuel for painting after painting of beautiful, provocative art. And don’t even bother telling her who she can love.
Hardly any woman of the 20th century defined “fierce” like Frida Kahlo. And hardly any work captures the spirit of Frida as completely as this opera’s intricate and proud portrait of the iconic Mexican artist.
The story starts with her school-girl days and traces the dramatic series of events that led to her decision to live as a painter and marry fellow artist Diego Rivera. The couples’ tempestuous relationship unfolds in all its shadows and light as they travel to America, unsuccessfully mix with the titans of industry, and bear the grief of a miscarriage far from home. Frida dives into her art, creating a body of work that tells the story of her body, her soul, and her mind. She dares the world to witness her dangerous vulnerability and intimidating vitality — even to her final, glorious moments.
A sensation in MOT’s 2014-2015 season, Frida returns with the original cast, including Catalina Cuervo as Frida and Ricardo Herrera as Diego Rivera. Robert Xavier Rodríguez’s score, written for chamber orchestra, mixes mariachi-style orchestrations, classical opera, and hints of Mexican folk songs for an authentic, alluring musical reflection of the woman and her art. Performed at Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, MOT’s first home, this production honors a return to our roots.
Full of life, full of death, full of wonder, full of pain: Frida is an operatic ride of the most satisfying sort—a cyclorama of a woman who fulfills her most passionate desire to stay true to herself.