Over the weekend, besides catching up (at my wife’s urging) on Downton Abbey, which I actually enjoy quite a bit, we attended a performance by the Utah Opera of Daniel Catán’s 1996 Florencia en el Amazonas and watched the film Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.
The opera, which continues (I believe) through 27 January, is very loosely inspired by some works of Gabriel García Márquez, and is conceived in the style of “magical realism.” The music, which evokes the birds and the butterflies and, especially, the flowing, eddying, rippling waters of the Amazon River, reminded me at times, in that respect, of Debussy’s impressionistic La Mer.
The film was just romantic fun. It was nice, though, to see a Muslim shaykh portrayed sympathetically. There are, alas, bad Muslims (probably extremists) in it, but that’s a realistic touch. They shouldn’t be altogether ignored. Still, it created a (to me) evocative desert landscape — actually Morocco, not the Yemen, which is remote, backward, and quite unstable — and offered some gentle humor.