Dispatch From Paris: ‘Il Postino’ opens with Placido Domingo and memories of Daniel Catan


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‘Il Postino’opened at the Théâtre du Châtelet on Monday to an enthusiastic standing ovation, which isn’t the everyday reaction for Paris audiences. As at the opera’s Los Angeles world premiere in September, Plácido Domingo sang the role of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and Charles Castronovo performed the title role.

The theater sold out all four performances more than a week ago, said Jean-Luc Choplin, the Châtelet’s general director. “We could have sold six performances,” he said at a reception following the final bows. “We had to sell seats with a limited view, which is very exceptional for us.”


Indeed, an hour before the performance, a long line of opera enthusiasts hoping to score a return ticket had formed by the ticket counter. Reviews will come in the next days.

The late composer Daniel Catán based his opera about Neruda and the mail carrier on the award-winning film “Il Postino” and on the novel “Ardiente Paciencia,” by Antonio Skármeta. The opera was a co-production by the Los Angeles Opera, Vienna’s Theater an der Wien and Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet.

At the reception in the theater’s Nijinsky Foyer, whose terrace overlooked the Seine and an illuminated skylight, Skármeta joined theater supporters and cast members, including Domingo, Castronovo, Amanda Squitieri and Cristina Gallardo-Domas of the original Los Angeles cast. Also on hand were the L.A. production’s director, Ron Daniels, costume and set designer Riccardo Hernandez, projections designer Philip Bussmann and choreographer David Bridel; plus L.A. Opera Chairman Marc Stern, Eva Stern and Andrea Puente Catán, widow of the composer who died in April.

“We are thinking so much about Daniel every day,” Domingo said, also expressing pleasure on behalf of the cast at the audience’s reaction.

“I’m here to honor him and his work,” said Puente Catán, who had been invited to join cast members onstage to take bows.

Following a stop in Italy, a second wave of L.A. Opera supporters, led by L.A. Opera board President Carol Henry and her husband, Warner Henry, is due in Paris for performances next week.



Los Angeles people and parties

Review: L.A. Opera premieres ‘Il Postino’

An Appreciation: Daniel Catán, caring composer

-- Ellen Olivier, reporting from Paris