Andina is an opera composed by Eustasio Rosales in the 1920s-1930s. The Spanish language opera, written by Rosales’ and his brother Jose Miguel Rosales, takes place at the foothills of the Andes mountain range in Colombia. By the time Rosales’ died on Christmas Day 1934, he had only managed to get excerpts of the show performed at local musical revues in Chicago, but the music went into a box and was passed down from generation to generation in the Rosales family.

In 2013, Rosales’ great grandson Arlen Parsa¬†was shown the work, and decided to try and get it performed. The result of these efforts was a world premiere opera concert in Chicago on September 18, 2015. The journey to get the work performed by Parsa, who had no musical knowledge whatsoever at the beginning of the adventure, is chronicled in a humorous documentary film called The Way to Andina. The documentary about the opera, the music from Andina and a full video of the performance itself can be downloaded from that project website.

The Plot of the opera Andina

The opera itself spans two acts and is a dramatic unrequited love story. It centers around a young mountain girl named Rosa. She is courted by two suitors: a local farmhand named Juan and a wealthy visiting city dweller named Don Carlos. While Rosa prefers Don Carlos, her mother Ana distrusts him. When Ana teams up with Juan to keep an eye on Don Carlos, he makes a secret deal with Rosa’s cousin, Inez who is also visiting from the city and who has affections for Juan. Eventually the opera ends in a tragic knife fight when Don Carlos and Juan accidentally stab Rosa instead of each other.