MIAMI (CBS4) – The Florida Grand Opera’s production of one of the best-loved French operas “Tales of Hoffmann” is the story of one man’s three past loves. Playing all three women plus a fourth role is one of opera’s hottest stars – Soprano Elizabeth Futral.

Just below her in the orchestra pit is another leading lady. Lucy Arner is the only Cuban born female conductor working today.

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For Futral, whose parts in this opera would normally be filled by four different women, her performance is a marathon.

“From the minute I put the first costume on it’s a non-stop until the end of show,” said Futral. “When I finish with the first girl, I am through the whole intermission changing costumes and makeup. I never have a moment’s rest.”

There’s also no rest for Arner, who conducts a 55 piece orchestra, as she maintains the tempo and ‘feel of the piece’ for the orchestra and singers above her.

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“I’m like the air traffic controller,” said Arner. “Every nerve cell is attentive. I have to know how fast it’s going, I breathe with the singers, I sing inside with them. There’s a lot going on.”

Since most conductors are male, Arner didn’t have it easy breaking in as a conductor at first but her passion and talent for music and opera brought her front and center in her field.

“It’s simply what I do and what I wanted to do ever since I discovered opera, it’s been a dream of mine,” she said.

Both women are hoping audiences of all ages will come and enjoy opera. Futral and Arner agree that it is a unique type of theatre, with its amazing costumes, talented performers and stylish sets.

“I would just say ‘Give it a shot’ you’re going to get hooked,” said Futral.

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The Florida Grand Opera’s presentation of Tales of Hoffman at the Adrienne Arsht Center runs through February 5. It’s will also be at the Broward Center for The Performing Arts from February 10th-12th.

Lisa Petrillo