Catalina Cuervo will portray iconic artist Frida Kahlo in FGO's production of "Frida" in Miramar, Miami and Fort Lauderdale. (Florida Grand Opera, FFinding an opera singer to portray legendary painter Frida Kahlo in all her complicated glory — proud immigrant, defiant artist, lusty pursuer of life — cannot be easy.
For its upcoming production of “Frida,” Florida Grand Opera found a critically lauded, Colombian-Lebanese soprano, raised on the music of her great-aunt, famed coloratura soprano Alba del Castillo, who also is a heavy-metal guitarist and got her start in Miami as a fashion model and belly dancer. Such unconventional passions may make Catalina Cuervo the perfect Frida. And, she would argue, it is the perfect time.
“Sometimes Latinos can be portrayed in a very negative way, in the current mood, like we bring negative things to the country. It’s time for us to celebrate a woman who was all about love and art and giving back to the people, and also a woman who was so proud to be Mexican,” Cuervo says.
Sung in English and Spanish with projected translations, FGO’s “Frida” debuts Saturday-Sunday, March 16-17, at the Miramar Cultural Center with Cuervo singing the title role in Robert Xavier Rodríguez’s colorful 1991 opera while depicting a life wracked by agonizing physical pain and her tormented marriages to philandering artist Diego Rivera. Bass-baritone Ricardo Herrera will make his FGO debut as Rivera.
Consistent with the sensual aesthetic that defined the lives of Kahlo and Rivera, the opera contains suggestive themes, graphic scenes and partial nudity.
Other upcoming performances of “Frida” will be on March 21, 23-24 at Miami-Dade County Auditorium, and March 28 and 30 at Fort Lauderdale’s Parker Playhouse.
Cuervo is no stranger to the role, which has earned her consistently glowing reviews. The Cincinnati Enquirer described a 2017 performance as “nothing short of a tour-de-force. She inhabited Frida’s persona comple