National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $20,000 to Madison Opera to support the company premiere of Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas in April.  The Art Works category focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities, and connections the arts bring.”

Madison Opera will produce Florencia in el Amazonas on April 27 and 29, 2018 at the Overture Center for the Arts.  First performed in 1996, Catán’s opera is inspired by the writings of Gabriel García Márquez and has been widely performed around the world.  It tells the fictional story of Florencia Grimaldi, a famous opera singer, as she embarks anonymously on a voyage down the Amazon River in the early 20th century, hoping to be reunited with the lover she left behind.  On the boat with her are a young journalist; a couple feeling the strain of their long marriage; the boat’s captain; the captain’s nephew, who falls in love with the journalist; and a man who is a rather mystical presence.

Madison Opera’s performances take place in Overture Hall and are directed by Kristine McIntyre and conducted by John DeMain.  The cast features Elizabeth Caballero, Rachel Sterrenberg, Adriana Zabala, Nmon Ford, Mackenzie Whitney, Levi Hernandez, and Ashraf Sewailam.  Lisa Thurrell, co-artistic director of Kanopy Dance, will choreograph members of Kanopy’s company in their roles as river spirits.  This will be Madison Opera’s first Spanish-language opera.

“It is an honor to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and be recognized for our artistic work on a national level,” says Madison Opera General Director Kathryn Smith.  “The NEA’s funding will not only help us share this modern masterpiece with our region, but also support an array of engagement events in our community.”

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.