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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2009
College of the Canyons Music Department Brings Opera to PAC
The College of the Canyons music department and Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at COC (PAC) will break new ground October 2, when the PAC hosts a workshop performance of college faculty member Dr. Daniel Catan’s chamber orchestra version of his opera “La Hijia de Rappaccini.”
An operatic version of Octavio Paz’ play by the same name and the short story “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathanial Hawthorne, “La Hijia” marks an effort by Catan to create a full-scale opera that can be staged by venues that have been reluctant to showcase opera productions in the past.
“This is really an historic event, not just for College of the Canyons, but for the entire Santa Clarita community,” said Dr. Floyd Moos, dean of fine and performing arts at the college. “By combining the talents of working professionals, accomplished faculty and our students, we set another example of the college’s commitment to the arts in our own backyard.
“I’m excited to include Dr. Catan’s piece in this year’s music department program offerings,” added Moos. “This event should be viewed as a meaningful milestone in the continued development of both the college’s music department and the PAC.”
A Spanish language opera for the 21st Century, “La Hijia” tells the story of Giovanni, a young student intent on furthering his studies, who finds himself in a foreign city. While boarding at a lonely matron’s house, Giovanni spies the beautiful Beatriz in her father’s garden and is instantly captivated.
Despite warnings to be wary of the garden and the daughter of the infamous Rappaccini, the allure of Beatriz is too great. Giovanni eventually finds his way into the garden, thus beginning a spiral into the worlds of desire, fear, passion and repulsion.
"I feel enormously gratified and proud to be presenting my opera “La Hijia de Rappaccini” at the PAC,” said Catan. “This marks a very important moment in the development of the college’s fine and performing arts division, and in particular our music program.
“Thanks to my colleagues, whose ever present support and trust have made this production possible,” added Catan.
Catan, whose opera “Il Postino” will be world premiered with LA Opera has long worked to have Spanish opera be included among the normal repertoire at opera houses and college and university venues — while at the same time developing works that will bring opera into the 21st century and develop new audiences that might not have been previously exposed to the art of Opera.
Traditionally out of reach to all but the most highly-funded venues and organizations, opera, with its reliance on large symphony orchestras and top-tier musical talent, has primarily been viewed as an exclusive art form destined to be enjoyed only by the elite circle of institutions capable of supporting it.
However, the PAC debut of “La Hijia” will allow College of the Canyons -- with its stated mission to identify, engage and support all artistic endeavors while providing the community with a wider array of cultural performance choices -- to break new artistic ground by making opera more accessible to community members throughout Northern Los Angeles County.
“La Hijia de Rappaccini” will be produced by PAC managing director Adam Philipson and funded through a Chairman’s Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
“This special workshop production of “La Hijia” will include an excerpt of the full opera in order to give local audiences a taste of what is possible and what they can expect when we are able to stage the complete version,” said Philipson.
“La Hijia de Rappaccini” will run at 8 p.m. Friday, October 2, on the PAC main stage. Admission to this performance is free, however reservations are required.
For more information about this performance or to reserve tickets please call (661) 362-5354.