Oswaldo Golijov, David Henry Hwang, Ainadamar, Long Beach Opera
For the first time on the West Coast, audiences will have the opportunity to see Ainadamar fully staged in its acclaimed revised version. Long Beach Opera (LBO) presents Argentine composer Oswaldo Golijov and librettist David Henry Hwang's powerful Grammy Award-winning opera on May 20 and May 26, 2012 at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach, CA. Based on the life of famous writer Federico Garcia Lorca and his murder by Fascists during the Spanish Civil War, Ainadamar celebrates Lorca's fight for artistic, political and personal freedom.
The production features soprano Suzan Hanson as Lorca's close friend, the actress Margarita Xirgu; mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell as Federico Garcia Lorca; and soprano Ani Maldjian as Xirgu's pupil, Nuria. Conductor Steven R. Osgood will lead the LBO Orchestra and Chorus. Ainadamar reunites the artistic team from last season's Akhnaten: Andreas Mitisek will direct and design; German video artist Frieder Weiss will create video projections "out of thin air;" Nannette Brodie will choreograph dancers from the Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre.
Ainadamar (Arabic for"fountain of tears") refers to an ancient well near the city of Granada where Lorca is believed to have been executed by Fascists during the Spanish Civil War. Lorca's life is told through the memories of his close friend, aging Catalonian actress Margarita Xirgu. Exiled and living in Uruguay, she is about to perform in Lorca's play, Mariana Pineda. Flooded with thoughts of her past and overcome with guilt she was unable to save the life of her friend, Xirgu shares Lorca's story with her student, Nuria. Before she can go on stage, Xirgu dies with the realization Lorca has survived through her and through his works; and that Nuria and others like her will continue to make him live as a symbol of artistic and personal freedom.
The score incorporates flamenco, klezmer, Spanish folk tunes, Baroque religious music, strong percussion and electronic instrumentation – a musical hybrid of sounds. In the varied orchestration, one hears not only gunfire and horses' hoofs, but the inner thoughts and emotions of the opera's protagonists. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Golijov commented, "From a rumba I modulate to flamenco. From a Greek lament to Der Rosenkavalier. As long as traditions are kept alive, music will be kept alive…"
LBO will perform the revised version which premiered at Santa Fe Opera in 2005. In 2006, the Ojai Festival presented the revised version in a semi-staged production. The LA Philharmonic New Music Group performed the West Coast premiere of the original version in 2004.
AINADAMAR - in Spanish with English supertitles, runs 1 ½ hours, Sunday, May 20, 2012, 7:00 PM and Saturday, May 26, 2012, 8:00 PM, at the Terrace Theater, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, located at 300 E Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, Calif.
Tickets range from $29 to $150. They can be purchased at www.longbeachopera.org/tickets or the LBO Box Office at 562-432-5934. Group discounts are available through the Box Office.
CAST: Suzan Hanson (Margarita Xirgu, actress), Peabody Southwell (Federico Garcia Lorca), Ani Maldjian (Nuria, a student of Margarita), Nicholas Shelton (José Tripaldi, Falangist guard), Robert Perlas Gomez (Maestro, teacher), John Atkins (Torrero, bullfighter)
CREATIVE: Conductor – Steven R. Osgood, Stage Director/Production Designer - Andreas Mitisek, Choreographer – Nannette Brodie, Video Designer – Frieder Weiss, Light Designer – Dan Weinstein, Sound Designer – Bob Christian, Chorus Master/Assistant Conductor – Benjamin Makino
LBO Orchestra & Chorus with the Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre
Soprano Suzan Hanson (Margarita Xirgu) is a favorite at Long Beach Opera, having performed numerous roles with the company. Audiences will recall her chilling performance in the title role of Cherubini's Medea in 2011. Mark Swed in the Los Angeles Times admired her "richly forceful singing." David Gregson in Opera West wrote,"Divas like this inspire awe." Christie Grimsted in Concerto.net commented, "Her singing is blistering, her enunciation and acting are exceptional." Among her many stage roles, Suzan played Sharon in the national touring company of Master Class with Faye Dunaway. She recently performed Poulenc's one-woman opera, La Voix Hunane, with San Jose Opera.
Mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell (Federico Garcia Lorca) performed the title role in LBO's critically acclaimed 2012 production of Maria de Buenos Aires. Chris Pasles in his Los Angeles Times review praised her performance as "arresting, passionate, sexy, vulnerable and tragic." She won over critics last summer in Gianni Schicchi and The Seven Deadly Sins at Central City Opera in Colorado.
Soprano Ani Maldjian (Nuria) recently wowed local audiences and critics in the dual roles of Therese/Tiresias in Poulenc'sThe Breasts of Tiresias and as Eleonore in Martinu's The Tears of a Knife. Buzz Belmont in the Houston Chronicle wrote of her 2011 performance in Bizet'sThe Pearl Fishers," The beautiful Ani Maldjian is splendid as Leila, particularly in her first aria which displays her brilliant artistry as a coloratura soprano with jewel-like tones and trills and remarkable breath control and placement." She has sung more than 30 major roles, including her LBO debut as Anne Frank in the 2007 production of Grigori Frid's The Diary of Anne Frank. In 2005, Ani won the Western Region Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Steven R. Osgood (Conductor) With his unique combination of theatrical and musical background, Steve brings to the podium an incisiveness and dramatic insight which is rare in today's emerging conductors. As the former artistic director of American Opera Projects, he conducted a number of world premieres and created the company's nationally recognized Composers and the Voice Workshop Series. Steve has spent three seasons as assistant conductor with the Metropolitan Opera, where he contributed to the productions of La Traviata, Phillip Glass' Satyagraha, Tan's The First Emperor, and John Adams' Nixon in China. Elsewhere, he has conducted Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle, Schoenberg's Erwartung and La Traviata for Edmonton Opera, Tan Dun's Marco Polo for the Netherlands Opera, Schwartz' Seance on a Wet Afternoon and La Bohème for New York City Opera, Susa's Transformations at Juilliard, Tosca for Chautauqua Opera, Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream at Wolf Trap, Foss'Griffelkin, Hoiby's A Month in the Country, Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles at Manhattan School of Music and Xenakis'Orestia at Columbia University.
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