Sung in both Spanish and English, Frida is the story of renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, wife of the country’s great muralist Diego Riviera. Her tortured life unfolds in a flowing succession of scenes, acted and sung by two woman and two men in a variety of guises—masked or plain-faced—and as two or three dimensional puppets; shadow puppets and projections are also involved. Diego’s preoccupation with art and other women shrivel Frida’s soul and her demands for love drain him; they need one another desperately. Divorce is imminent. Frida’s health deteriorates; only painting permits emotional release, translating her agonies into a series of canvases. Her fate is to live alone, engulfed by pain, but her paintings live forever, reflecting hidden dreams and inspiring courage to transcend conventional boundaries.
Scene 1: Mexico City 1923. Frida at the National Preparatory School, learns what death looks like and the revolution comes to an end.
Scene 2: Frida’s Room, Coyoacan. Frida becomes a woman.
Scene 3: Mexico City in 1925. Frida and her boyfriend Alejandro board a bus. The bus crashes, Frida is severely injured, begins her life as a painter.
Scene 4: 1927-1929, Frida meets and marries Diego Rivera.
Scene 5: 1929-30. Diego’s work is denounced in Mexico. The Riveras resolve to try their luck in the USA.
Scene 6: New York City in 1933. Frida and Diego meet Rockefeller, who commissions the mural Man at the Crossroads.
Scene 7: New York City in 1934. Rockefeller complains about including Lenin in the mural. The mural is destroyed and Frida miscarries.
Scene 1: San Angel, Mexico. Frida ignores the parade of women through Diego’s bedroom, but is horrified to discover her sister, Cristina, among them.
Scene 2: San Angel, Mexico 1937. Leon Trotsky and his wife join the Riveras in their house. Frida and Trotsky have a love affair.
Scene 3: Frida’s Bath. Frida retreats to the seclusion of her bath and the comfort of a female lover.
Scene 4: New York. Frida has a love affair with photographer Nicholas Murray and sells her first paintings. Frida and Diego divorce.
Scene 5: Calaveras (Mexican death figures) appear in Frida’s imagination as she is haunted by her physical and emotional pain.
Scene 6: Finale – In delirium, Frida relives episodes of her life. Diego and Frida remarry. She departs with a cry of “Viva, la vida…allegría…and Diego.”
Courtesy of Long Beach Opera