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Golijov: Ainadamar - Fountain of Tears CD

19 customer reviews

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Audio CD, CD, May 9, 2006
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Editorial Reviews


This unique, 80-minute opera must be heard. The title means "Fountain of Tears" in Arabic and refers to the place in Granada where Federico Garcia Lorca was executed by Fascist soldiers in 1936. The work opens in a theater in Uruguay in 1969. As the actress Margarita Xirgu, who collaborated with Lorca in the 1920s and '30s, is about to go on stage, she recalls memories of him and his death and the survivor's guilt she feels. Musical images take us back as well. The sounds of hoofbeats, a fountain, and gun shots punctuate the otherwise beautiful, tonal, highly Spanish-influenced score, filled with flamenco and rumba rhythms. The vocal lines are all highly singable as well as dramatic. The work is mostly scored for women's voices: Margartita, sung by Dawn Upshaw; Lorca himself, sung by Kelley O'Connor; Nuria, Margarita's student, sung by Jessica Rivera. There is also an ensemble of women's voices that do most of the work. Margarita dies just before going onstage. The trio for her, Nuria, and Lorca is about as beautiful as anything you'll ever hear. "What a sad day it was in Granada / The stones began to cry" is a refrain that recurs throughout the opera, and the whole piece is sheer poetry. This is stunning. --Robert Levine

1. Preludio De Agua Y Caballo
2. Balada
3. Mariana, Tus Ojos
4. Bar Albor De Madrid
5. Desde Mi Ventamna (Aria A La Estatua De Mariana)
6. Muerte A Caballo
7. Balada
8. Quiero Arrancarme Los Ojos
9. A La Habana
10. Quiero Cantar Entre Las Explosiones
11. Arresto
12. La Fuente De Las Lagrimas
13. Confesion
14. Interludio De Balazos Y Lamento Por La Muerte De Federico
15. Balada
16. De Mi Fuente Tu Emerges
17. Tome Su Mano
18. Crepusculo Delirante
19. Doy Mi Sangre
20. Yo Soy La Libertad

Product Details

  • Performer: Dawn Upshaw, Kelly O'Connor, Jessica Rivera, Jesus Montoya
  • Orchestra: Atlanta Symphony Orch.
  • Conductor: Robert Spano
  • Composer: Osvaldo Golijov
  • Audio CD (May 9, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000F2CANS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,611 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

156 of 161 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin VINE VOICE on June 24, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is a very remarkable opera -the first one- by Osvaldo Golijov. Ainadamar means 'fountain of tears' in Arabic, and it is also the name of an ancient well near Granada, where the poet Federico García Lorca was killed by the fascists in 1936, at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. The opera is divided in three parts called images: 1. Mariana, 2. Federico, 3. Margarita. Mariana referes to Mariana Pineda, one of the plays Lorca wrote that tells the story of Mariana Pineda, a revolutionary martyr of the 19th century. The second part is about Lorca, from the moment he refuses to go to Cuba with Margarita (and save his life), to the moment he is arrested and killed. The last part is about Margarita Xirgu at the end of his life, when she is keeping the history and the legend of Lorca alive by representing his plays.
In the style of Golijov, this music merges different styles (Jewish, Muslim, and Spanish music). Ruiz Alonso (the arresting officer) is a flamenco singer (Cante Jondo), and Margarita Xirgu is the soprano and Osvaldo's muse Dawn Upshaw. There is a good balance among the three parts of the opera and the three main characters in it (Lorca, Xirgu, and Nuria, a student who will maintain Lorca's life and art alive).
This CD comes with an introduction by Alex Ross and a synopsis by Peter Sellars. The libretto was written by David Henry Hwang in English, and Golijov translated it into Spanish. This is very odd, since the music is sung in Spanish and usually the librettos are written in the language the music is going to be sung. Also, the CD contains pictures of Golijov, Upshaw (2), Lorca, Xirgu, and two stage pictures of a live representation. The CD cover (as you can see) represents Margarita Xirgu in tears in the style of Lorca's drawings. It was designed by Hisako Moriyama.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Carmen Tellez on June 28, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Golijov has been experimenting for several years now with the synthesis of ouvertly Ibero-American genres and contemporary music textures. This work is his most successful so far in this vein, in my opinion, given that the compositional choices express the content of the libretto with conviction and without incongruences. The work can be described as a secular passion play, not only by its structure as a set of three ritualized remembrance vignettes in which the actress Margarita Xirgu is both a narrator and actor; but also due to its exploration of the sacrifice of Lorca to fascism; the personal anguish of Margarita's existential choices; and Lorca's posthumous iconic stature as the inspiration of countless musical and theatrical works by artists from all over the world. These topics address eternal concerns about heroic clashes between the artist and society, and between freedom and tyranny. Theater director Peter Sellars emphasized these references to Jesus' passion in his staging.

The musical plan develops like a Handelian or Mozartian opera, with clean-cut alternations between recitatives, arias and choruses, all of which adopt genres from Spain and Latin America with rather specific rhetorical connotations. It is not unlike the processes of assimilation of sicilianas, turkish marches, sarabandes, waltzes, polonaises and other such dances into what we know as European Classical music. The work eschews the Wagnerian model of an endless melody. Instead, the listener is carried forward by the constant gratification of individual gems of sensuous music. Golijov is a masterful orchestrator of haunting textures. The singers get to sound fantastic in gorgeous melodies.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 2, 2006
Format: Audio CD
'Ainadamar' is a breathtakingly beautiful work for voices and orchestra and while it is conceived and has been performed as a stage work (aka 'opera'), this listener has not had the privilege of seeing that form of this new work by Osvaldo Golijov. And that factor as its drawbacks and its advantages: without relying on the visuals of a stage production the music on this very well produced CD allows total commitment to the music values alone. The music is exquisite!

Based on a libretto written by David Henry Hwang, the work is sung in Spanish and relates a moment in time when Margarita Xirgu, an actress and collaborator with the immensely gifted poet and writer Federico Garcia Lorca, recalls his presence and influence and death. There is little more narrative than that, but from that bare bones outline blossoms some of the most successful music that the gifted Golijov has written to date. There are bits of ethereal orchestration suffused with dance rhythms and that plaintive line known best to flamenco singers.

The arias/melodies are created in the most compelling manner - the voice growing organically from the various instrumentations at Golijov's seemingly endless disposal.

Margarita is sung here by the incomparable Dawn Upshaw in a signature performance: the quality and purity of her tone and timbre of her voice embrace Golijov's lines with complete ease and commitment. She is a wonder here. The role of Lorca is a trouser role sung with compelling beauty by Kelley O'Connor. The remainder of the rather small cast all sing and perform well and the entire performance is molded to perfection by conductor Robert Spano with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and chorus (the women's voices only). It is an enviable achievement.
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