Daniel Catán, the composer of the opera “Il Postino,” which opened the current season at Los Angeles Opera, died unexpectedly Sunday in Austin, Texas. He was 62. Catán lived in South Pasadena with his wife but was teaching for a semester at the University of Texas at Austin. He had been commissioned by the university’s Butler School of Music to adapt the Frank Capra movie “Meet John Doe” for the operatic stage.
The composer died in his sleep in his apartment in Austin; he wasn’t suffering from any known illnesses.
Born in Mexico City, Catán studied in Britain and later completed his music studies at Princeton University. He was the first Mexican composer to have an opera produced in the U.S. — “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” at the San Diego Opera in 1994. “Il Postino” received its world premiere at L.A. Opera in September. The opera, based on the popular 1995 movie, starred Plácido Domingo as the exiled Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.