WHAT’S ON: SCOTTISH PREMIERE AND FIRST FULLY-STAGED UK PRODUCTION OF GROUNDBREAKING OPERA AINADAMAR TAKES PLACE THIS OCTOBER
On 29 October, the Scottish premiere and first fully-staged UK production of Ainadamar takes place at Theatre Royal Glasgow, before transferring to Festival Theatre Edinburgh in November.
Ainadamar, (the Spanish pronunciation of the Arabic name ‘Ayn al-dam’, meaning ‘The Fountain of Tears’), by Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov and acclaimed American librettist David Henry Hwang, explores the life and work of playwright and poet Federico García Lorca, whose anti-fascist stance and open homosexuality led to his death in 1936 at the hands of Franco’s Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War.
Combining opera with flamenco dance and song, this new co-production with Opera Ventures (Breaking the Waves 2019 and Greek 2017), Detroit Opera, The Metropolitan Opera and Welsh National Opera, is directed by Olivier Award-winning choreographer and director Deborah Colker and designed by Jon Bausor. Known for her intensely physical dance work with Cirque du Soleil and the 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremony, as well as her own Companhia de Danca, Deborah is making her much-anticipated opera directorial debut.
Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford conducts the internationally celebrated mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey in the role of Lorca. The story, which reimagines the political drama of the early 20th century, centres around Lorca, his muse Margarita Xirgu, sung by Lauren Fagan, and her student Nuria, sung by Julieth Lozano.
Director Deborah Colker said: ‘I believe I do like challenges. After so many creations, I find myself facing my first opera ever, and this fascinates and challenges me. Quoting the composer Richard Wagner, opera is the total art work.
‘Ainadamar is about love, freedom, friendship and death. Reflecting the intense Spanish spirit, the characters journey through memory, delirium and reality. I felt committed to Lorca’s poetry and to the idea of consecrating his history. Through the music created by Golijov, fulfilled with the Spanish spirit, I brought the soul and vitality of flamenco.
‘The relevance and contemporaneity of Lorca’s poetry is impressive. Lorca lingers through the centuries: born in the 19th century, dying in the 20th century and influencing us with his poetry in the 21st century. Ainadamar shows through its characters that the poetry and the struggle will perpetuate through time.’
Composer Osvaldo Golijov said: ‘I loved witnessing Deborah Colker’s gestation of this thrilling new production of Ainadamar. Her vision, together with Stuart Stratford’s kinship with Deep Song (cante jondo, traditional Andalusian music), the musical roots of Ainadamar, have revealed to me new dimensions in the opera.’
Those who wish to discover more about how the production was created can attend Ainadamar Pre-show Talks, which delve into the detail of the opera. Tickets are free but should be booked in advance. Audience members with a visual impairment can enjoy the full opera experience at Audio-described performances, which have a live commentary describing the action on stage without compromising the music. There are also free Touch Tours of the set, and a live audio introduction before the start of the performance.