Opera about Magellan expedition premiers in Santiago

Composer Sebastián Errázuriz is premiering his opera “Patagonia” in Santiago. The story follows the expedition of Hernando de Magallanes, the first European to get in contact with indigenous people in Chile’s south. The work also involves Universidad de Concepción’s symphony orchestra.

Las Condes’ municipal theater in Santiago is hosting the opera “Patagonia” from Oct. 6 to Oct. 9, created by composer and director Sebastián Errázuriz.

His other notable works include “Papelucho in the Opera” or “White Wind,” performed in the Lake Theater and Biobío Theater during the pandemic in March 2021.

“Patagonia” revolves around the expedition of Hernando de Magallanes and Sebastián Elcano in San Julián bay. “In 1519 five ships set sail from Seville with the purpose of arriving at the spice islands via the west to not violate the Treaty of Tordesillas. On the 21 of October 1520 they found the sea route today known as the Strait of Magellan,” according to a description on Errazuriz’s website.

“In this territory lived the Aonikenk also known as Tehuelches, which Magallanes called Patagones.” The opera features songs both in Spanish and Tehuelche language.

The cast includes actress María Paz Grandjean, dancer Francisco Arrázola, and musician Manuel Páez. Lead singers are Evelyn Ramírez (mezzo soprano), Marcela González (soprano), Nicolás Fontecilla (tenor), and Sergio Gallardo (low baritone).

Rodrigo Ossandón wrote the script and Marcelo Lombardero was the stage director, while firms MusicActual and Contemporary Musical Theater took care of production.

Universidad de Concepción’s Ensemble Symphony Orchestra will play the music.

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