Osvaldo Golijov
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Ainadamar (2003): Reviews
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From: Musicalamerica.com (Wes Blomster)

Osvaldo Golijov calls "Ainadamar," the opera co-commissioned by the Boston Symphony, Lincoln Center, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, "a piñata filled not with candy but with Arab, Jewish, Christian and medieval melodies."

At the center of the story is Franco's 1936 execution of Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca at age 35 at the outset of the Spanish Civil War. Site of the murder was Ainadamar, the "Fountain of Tears," built by the Moors in 12th-century Granada. Librettist David Henry Hwang (of "M. Butterfly" fame) surrounds the execution — staged at the West Coast premiere (Feb. 29) with overtones of the crucifixion — with flashback encounters between Lorca and his friend and muse, actress Margarita Xirgu.

Golijov tells this tragic tale with a score that confirms his stature as a leading composer of his generation. His idiom is unique; one can identify within it influences and ingredients, but Golijov weaves them into a tapestry so cohesive and compelling that such detective work is meaningless. (In October Golijov, now on the faculty of Massachusetts' College of the Holy Cross, received a MacArthur Foundation genius award.)...

...On the podium, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, the orchestra's associate conductor, captured the full fervor of the score and the staging. The opera ends with the resurrection of Xirgu and Lorca in what is perhaps the greatest Liebestod since "Tristan."

What's amazing about this opera is that, despite the sorrow of the story and the undertow of sadness in the score, it is a work of affirmation. Golijov has mastered the catharsis of great tragedy, and his hour-long piñata was rewarded with a prolonged standing ovation.

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