- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2011

PARIS (AP) - Celebrated tenor Placido Domingo on Tuesday dedicated upcoming Paris performances of “Il Postino” to the opera’s late composer, Daniel Catan.

The Mexican composer died suddenly last April at age 62, and was found dead in bed in Austin, Texas. Domingo said with Catan’s passing, the world has lost “an extraordinary man of the theater and I have lost a great friend.”

Catan’s death has turned rehearsals for “Il Postino” _ which opens at Paris’ Theatre du Chatelet on June 20 with a brief four performance run _ into an emotional roller coaster.

“Every 15 minutes, someone starts crying because something reminds them of Daniel,” said Domingo, who plays Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in the opera.

“Il Postino” opened in Los Angeles late last year and has also played in Vienna, but Domingo told reporters that Catan continued to tinker with the libretto up until his death.

“The opera is great, but Catan still wanted to improve on it and he was in the process of doing so when this great tragedy occurred,” Domingo said at a news conference on Tuesday.

“Il Postino” is adapted from the award-winning 1994 movie by Michael Radford, itself an adaptation of the novel “Ardiente Paciencia” by Antonio Skarmeta.

Catan was well-known for “Florencia en el Amazonas,” an opera he composed with a libretto by Marcela Fuentes-Berain written as a tribute to Nobel Prize-winning Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez.