May 17, 2013 | Los Angeles Opera
Dulce Rosa
Composer:Lee Holdridge
Librettist:Richard Sparks
Act One         
In the Capital City, at night, Tomas treats a wounded resistance fighter. He makes his way through the troubled city to the railroad station. The next morning dawns bright at the rural Orellano hacienda, where Rosa welcomes her father’s former protégé, Aguilar. She tries to let him down gently: her father will not do as Aguilar hopes. Orellano joins them, and indeed, will not return to politics, not even to save the country from civil war. As she is preparing Rosa for the Festival Mass, Inez urges her to go to California with Tomas, but Rosa will not consider leaving her father. After Mass, Tomas finds the courage to ask Orellano for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Reluctantly, Orellano agrees. Celebration—and the action moves to the jungle, where Aguilar is urging Tadeo to help him seize power. Tadeo only agrees for the sake of his loyal men. The first job Aguilar has for Tadeo is to eliminate the only man who could unite the country. Tadeo realizes: Ah. The Senator with the beautiful daughter. The guerillas ravage the little town of Santa Teresa, to make it look like just another bandit raid. They then head for their real target: the Orellano hacienda. Orellano makes his household swear that they will not let Rosa fall into enemy hands. Whoever is the last one alive is to save two bullets: one for himself, one for Rosa. But Fate is cruel. Orellano himself is the last survivor. Badly wounded, he comes to the family chapel where Rosa is hiding. She swears she will avenge his death if he lets her live. Stunned by her courage, he relents, and dies as the guerillas burst in. Rosa knows what is coming, as they surround her—but Tadeo orders them out. Stop. Leave the girl for me. Tadeo saves Rosa from his men. But only for himself.

Act Two        
Rosa’s life is ruined, her home destroyed. She laments her beloved Papa. From the depths of her despair, Rosa summons the strength to step into her father’s shoes. In the Capital City, Aguilar gives a solemn eulogy for Senator Orellano, and promises peace and plenty. Inez is concerned at Rosa’s obsession with vengeance, but Rosa is implacable. General Tadeo Cespedes cannot forget the girl in the chapel, and what he did to her. Rosa haunts his waking hours, his sleepless nights. Over the months in which the Orellano hacienda re-emerges from its ashes, Rosa calls Tadeo to her. Her father’s spirit encourages her, supports her. Tadeo has no choice but to return to her for the merciful bullet. But, to her surprise as well as his, Rosa spares his life. She condemns him to live, and to suffer as she has suffered. And God grant you a long life yet. Tadeo tries to leave, but finds himself telling Rosa of his own past. He lost his own family to war, his mother and sisters violated, his home destroyed. He and his father fought on, and other men joined them, until at last they were left alone.Until he came to me. And the price of my peace was—what they did to us, I did to you. To his shame, he took his revenge on Rosa. The one person in the world he does not want to hurt. When he has gone, Rosa is confused to discover that she no longer hates him. She has been thinking about him so long, day in, day out, night after night—and still he is all she thinks about. It should be over. It is not over. She realizes what Inez has been warning her about. She returns to the family chapel, to commune with God. The God who commands us to love our enemies. How can she do that, and not hate herself? God is making her love Tadeo? Why? Must she lose her honor, her father, and her pride? Only when she sees that the answer must be yes does Rosa understand. This is not punishment for her pride, but her reward for her suffering. Tadeo has been unable to leave—he came to die, and has nowhere to go. He knows she hates him, and wants him to suffer as she suffered—and to his astonishment she tells him she forgives him. But the shade of Orellano is adamant. He demands his vengeance. She swore. Rosa pleads with him but he disowns her. You are no child of mine. Tomas returns after a long and dangerous journey—to find Rosa with Tadeo, his enemy. Rosa tries to reason with him, but he is beyond reason. He pulls out his gun to shoot Tadeo, but Rosa, in going to stop him, takes the bullet. She dies in Tadeo’s arms.

—Synopsis by Richard Sparks, librettist and director

Title Information

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Original Cast
María Antúnez (Rosa)
Alfredo Daza (Tadeo Cespedes)
Greg Fedderly (Senator Orellano)
Craig Colclough (Aguilar)
Peabody Southwell (Inez)
Benjamin Bliss (Tomás)

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