Irony in Daniel Catan's Salsipuedes: Genre, Narrative, and Twentieth-Century Politics
Sustaita, Jacob Daniel
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Daniel Catán (1949–2011) sought to synthesize classical tradition with Latin idioms to create original and distinct compositions. His Caribbean-inspired fourth opera, Salsipuedes: A Tale of Love, War, and Anchovies combines elements of comedy, irony, and tragedy in a satirical and moral story. This analysis identifies how Catán uses ironic strategies and narrative transformation to comment and reflect on the issues that he believed plagued contemporary society. Catán uses two secondary characters as his platform for delivering his message, and he relied on slow and methodical character development to transform the overall narrative from comedy to tragedy. I argue that the temporal rupture created by these two characters is reflected musically, textually, and dramatically. By drawing on the scholarship of irony in music and musical narrative analysis, this paper demonstrates how Catán deploys ironic methods and a secondary dramatic thread to support the opera’s dramatic intention and intensify the dishonest practices of society’s leaders.