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Meet the Cast for FRIDA

Opera Orlando welcomes back Mexican-American and Metropolitan Opera soprano Cecilia Violetta López to sing the role of cultural icon Frida Kahlo in Robert Xavier Rodriguez’s operatic love letter to the Mexican painter, Frida. Presented in Steinmetz Hall at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the Opera continues its 2023-24 All for Art MainStage series with this beautiful and  thrilling take on the artist’s life, featuring the role debut of one of the Company’s favorite sopranos. Tickets are available now for this all-new production directed and choreographed by John de los Santos and conducted by Jorge Parodi with performances on Friday, January 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 28 at 2 p.m. 


Ms. López previously performed the roles of Mimi in Opera Orlando’s 2017 production of La bohème and Violetta in the Company’s 2021 production of La Traviata. This past September she was in Orlando as the featured soloist for the Opera’s special event México Canta! in partnership with Casa de México at the Orlando Museum of Art. Apart from Opera Orlando this past season, she was a soloist for Celebrando a Mexico with Opera Idaho, made her debut with Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, appeared with Houston Grand Opera in concert, and made her role debut of Rusalka with Opera Idaho. She also presented concerts with pianist Nathan Salazar in Rupert, Idaho and was the keynote speaker for the Idaho Women’s RefresHER Conference. In 2022 she was named one of “Idaho’s Top 10 Most Influential Women of the Century” by USA Today and was also named one of opera’s “25 Rising Stars” by Opera News. La Traviata’s Violetta has become a signature role for Ms. López since her role debut with Virginia Opera in 2015. She has now performed the role at Minnesota Opera, Opera Colorado, Opera Tampa, Opera Idaho, Ash Lawn Opera, The Northern Lights Music Festival, Madison Opera, Pacific Symphony, and most recently at Florida Grand Opera. 



“This will be my second time directing Frida, and I am very excited to explore this piece with Cecilia,” says John de los Santos, who makes his Company debut with this opera. “I have worked with her in two other shows, Manon and The Merry Widow, and her voice is perfectly suited for this role. She has such empathy for the characters she embodies and beautifully communicates emotion. I know audiences will be spellbound by her. Plus, I am looking forward to presenting this show on such a grand scale. Steinmetz Hall is a larger than life canvas equal to Frida’s art and life, and I want to use that canvas to not only celebrate Frida in this opera, but also the country she so fiercely loved and championed. It’s going to be an electrifying event for Orlando.”


John de los Santos is hailed by D Magazine as, “a brilliant combination of literary insight and choreographic creativity.” He is a prolific stage director, choreographer, and librettist, having now completed four original operas. His stage work include opera, musicals, plays, concerts, and ballet and include the world premieres of Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun for Santa Fe Opera, Stardust for Helios Opera, Pure Country for Lyric Stage, and The Astronaut Love Show at the Kraine Theater in New York. Some of his other productions include The Rose and the Knife, Otello, and Le Comte Ory (called “a perfect fusion” by The New York Times) for LoftOpera, La Cage Aux Folles for Skylight Music Theatre, La fille du Regiment for Arizona Opera, South Pacific for Ash Lawn Opera, and María de Buenos Aires for San Diego and Fort Worth Opera. Mr. de los Santos has also choreographed the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Great Scott directed by Jack O’Brien for the Dallas Opera, and his choreography has also been seen at the Washington National, Florida Grand, Philadelphia, Des Moines Metro, Utah Festival, and Austin Lyric Opera companies. 


Joining Mr. de los Santos in this new imagining of Frida is internationally-acclaimed Argentinian conductor Jorge Parodi. He will conduct a chamber ensemble of musicians from the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra for this production having previously worked with them for Opera Orlando’s productions of Die Fledermaus in December of 2020 and The Tales of Hoffmann in the 2018-19 season. Reviewed as having “the most expressive hands since Stokowski’s” by the Daily News, Maestro Parodi has worked extensively in North America, Latin America, and Asia. He also currently serves as the music director of the senior opera theatre at the Manhattan School of Music, music director of Opera in Williamsburg in Virginia, founder and music director of the Tokyo International Vocal Arts Academy Summer Workshop, artistic director for the Savannah Voice Festival, and has been a faculty member at The Juilliard School for more than a decade.


Playing opposite Ms. López on stage as Diego Rivera will be baritone Bernardo Bermudez, making his Company debut by reprising this role that he has previously sung with Long Beach Opera and Anchorage Opera. They will be joined by members of Opera Orlando’s 2023-24 Studio Artists program, members of the Opera Orlando Youth Company, and an ensemble of local talent all coming together to tell this fantastic story.


Individual tickets for Frida start at just $29 and are available through the Dr. Phillips Center’s Bill & Mary Darden Box Office (445 S. Magnolia Avenue, Orlando), by calling (407) 839-0119, ext. 0, or online at


See YOU at the Opera!



Frida |  music by Robert Xavier Rodriguez with book by Hilary Blecher & 

lyrics and monologues by Migdalia Cruz

sung in English and some Spanish with English and Spanish supertitles 


Friday  |  January 26, 2024 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday  |  January 28, 2024 at 2 p.m.


Age advisory: PG-13


Estimated run time is two hours and twenty minutes with one intermission. A pre-show talk with the conductor and stage director, free for all ticket holders, will be held on stage fifty minutes prior to each performance.




About Opera Orlando:     Celebrating, expanding, and sharing the world’s greatest art form,  the 2023-24 season marks Opera Orlando’s eighth season producing high-quality operatic entertainment and educational programs that engage Central Florida audiences.


Stay up to date with Opera Orlando’s season via their website at, and follow and like the Opera’s Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter accounts to share in all the Company has planned for 2023-24.


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