Opera Philadelphia presents Osvaldo Golijov’s AINADAMAR at the Academy of Music, Feb. 7-16, 2014
The Grammy Award-winning opera about the life and death of Federico García Lorca is brought to the stage in a vivid new Spanish production making its only U.S. appearance
Opera Philadelphia continues its 39th Season in February with the only U.S. appearance of a vivid new Spanish production of Ainadamar, the Grammy Award-winning first opera from Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov. On the heels of a three-year, three-city tour of Spain conducted by Corrado Rovaris, Opera Philadelphia’s Jack Mulroney Music Director, the production will be presented in five performances at the Academy of Music, February 7-16, 2014.
The opera tells the story of the celebrated Spanish playwright and poet Federico García Lorca, who was executed in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. Ainadamar is an Arabic word meaning “fountain of tears” and is a natural spring located in the hills above the city of Granada, the site where the poet was killed. A co-production of the Fundación Ópera de Oviedo, Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada, and Festival Internacional de Música de Santander, the productionpremiered in Granada in 2011, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Lorca’s assassination.
“Ainadamar is an opera that Maestro Rovaris loves in a very deep way, and his passion for Golijov’s music has been a driving force in this gorgeous new production,” said David Devan, General Director and President of Opera Philadelphia. “One of the spiritual highlights was the opportunity to perform the opera in Granada, where García Lorca was killed. It has been an amazing experience, and we cannot wait to bring this production to the stage of the Academy of Music.”
“Golijov’s music is gripping, honest, beautiful, exuberant, sensual… there are so many words to describe it, and yet no one word to truly capture it,” said Rovaris, who first conducted the opera for its Philadelphia premiere in 2008 with Curtis Opera Theatre. “Ainadamar’s brilliance comes in the way that Golijov effortlessly blends so many musical styles. It is lush and lyrical at one moment, and then it shifts to a flamenco groove, which is perfectly underlined by the presence in this production of the Antonio Gades flamenco company. It is a great musical achievement by the composer, and it is an honor to bring it to audiences in Philadelphia.”
Golijov’s score fuses traditional Jewish and Arabic styles with Spanish-influenced flamenco and rumba rhythms, and this production features flamenco dancing by the legendary Antonio Gades Company with choreography by artistic director Stella Arauzo. Lorca’s life and death are told in flashbacks by actress and frequent collaborator Margarita Xirgu, for whom Lorca wrote some of his greatest female roles. When the Spanish Civil War began, Margarita was on tour in South America and she spent the rest of her life there in voluntary exile. The opera unfolds in three images of flashbacks by Margarita, who reflects on her meetings with Lorca and his final execution for his progressive political ideals. The opera revisits themes from his most famous play, Mariana Pineda, premiered in 1927, a historic drama about a 19th-century Spanish folk heroine who was executed, similarly, for her political ideals. Margarita played the title character in this play.
Golijov, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, premiered Ainadamar in 2003 at the Tanglewood Music Festival, with a revised staging debuted at the Santa Fe Opera in 2005. The opera was widely hailed, with Opera News calling it “mesmerizing,” The New Yorker stating “the music is sensationally beautiful throughout,” and New York Magazine citing it as “an astonishing demonstration of how an opera can sound completely contemporary yet still convey its message in very potent lyrical song.”
Ainadamar marks two important Opera Philadelphia debuts. Catalan soprano Maria Hinojosa Montenegro, described by Opera News as a “luminous stage presence,” sings the role of the Catalan actress Xirgu, while mezzo-soprano Marina Pardo sings the trouser role of Lorca. Soprano Sarah Shafer, fresh off her Opera Philadelphia debut as Papagena in2013’sThe Magic Flute, sings the role of Nuria, Margarita’s star pupil.
An Opera in Three Images
Music by Osvaldo Golijov
Libretto by David Henry Hwang, translated into Spanish by Osvaldo Golijov
A Production of the Fundación Ópera de Oviedo, Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada y Festival Internacional de Musica de Santander
February 7, 9m, 12, 14 & 16m, 2014
Academy of Music
Performed in Spanish with English supertitles
Runtime:80 minutes, with no intermission
Performance times: Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.
Ainadamar is underwritten by Ms. Barbara Augusta Teichert. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tickets to Aindamar at the Academy of Music are now on sale and may be purchased at www.operaphila.org or by calling 215.893.1018.
To learn more about Ainadamar
Please visit operaphila.org/production/ainadamar to find full casting information, photos and videos, a synopsis, biographies, ticketing services, related events, and other company information.