Daniel Catan, a Mexican composer who brought Spanish-language opera into U.S. culture, died in his sleep April 9, 2011. He was 62.
Born in Mexico, Catan was a gifted pianist who studied in England before earning a Ph.D. in music from Princeton in 1977. From 1994 to 2010, he had four operas produced in the U.S. Last year, his opera Il Postino (which was based on the 1994 Italian film and for which he also wrote the libretto) was premiered by the Los Angeles Opera and starred Placido Domingo.
Last spring, he was in residence at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas, Austin, which had commissioned him to adapt an opera from Frank Capra's 1941 film Meet John Doe. Catan's Florencia en el Amazonas, based ont he work of Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, was given its world premiere by the Houston Grand Opera in 1996 and was billed as the first Spanish-language opera commissioned in the U.S.
Catan was known for his neo-Romantic music style, with its lush orchestrations and lyrical melodic lines, which made his work popular.
Catan is survived by his third wife, Andrea Puente; three children; four grandchildren; and his mother, Luisa Porteny.
Graduate memorials are prepared by the APGA.