Show artwork for Ainadamar

Ainadamar

Composed by Osvaldo Golijov

Conducted by Lina González-Granados

April 26 – May 18, 2025

The Fountain of Tears

At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

A dance of dictators and poets.

Margarita Xirgu has spent half her acting career in exile, mourning Federico García Lorca, the dear friend whom she couldn’t convince to flee Franco’s reign of terror. Lorca was once on the verge of writing his way into a new Golden Age in Spain. But dictators have no use for poets.

Resident Conductor Lina González-Granados leads this major company premiere. Grammy winner Osvaldo Golijov’s dramatic, flamenco-inspired score meets a poignant libretto by David Henry Hwang in what the LA Times calls “one of the most moving and meaningful operas of our time.” Ana María Martínez takes center stage as Lorca’s muse Margarita Xirgu, recounting the poet’s life and his last days in the Spanish Civil War. Daniela Mack steps into the role of Federico García Lorca, the man whose pen proved just as dangerous as any pistol.

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"A fiercely evocative piece with the feel of a passion play"

The Guardian

Cast

Margarita Xirgu
Ana María Martínez
Federico García Lorca
Daniela Mack
Nuria
Vanessa Becerra
Ruiz Alonso
Alfredo Tejada
Voice of the Fountain
Gabrielle Turgeon
Voice of the Fountain
Abi Levis
Maestro
Hyungjin Son
Torero
Nathan Bowles
Jose Tripaldi
Vinícius Costa

Creative Team

Librettist
David Henry Hwang
Composer
Osvaldo Golijov
Conductor
Lina González-Granados
Director
Deborah Colker
Scenery & Costumes
Jon Bausor
Lighting
Paul Keogan
Video
Tal Rosner
Chorus
Jeremy Frank
Flamenco Choreography
Antonio Najarro
Sound
Cameron Crosby

Read the synopsis

Synopsis

Introduction
Ainadamar is an Arabic word meaning "fountain of tears." It is one of the names of a natural spring located in the hills above the Spanish city of Granada. This is the site where the poet and playwright Federico García Lorca was executed in 1936.

Margarita Xirgu, a veteran Spanish actress and Lorca’s muse, spent her career portraying Mariana Pineda in Lorca’s play of the same name. Pineda was a 19th-century political martyr executed for sewing a revolutionary flag against the absolutist Spanish regime with the embroidered slogan "Equality, Freedom and Law." Mariana Pineda was Lorca’s first theatrical success and a love letter to a woman who pursued her convictions to their ultimate consequences, evoking the color and poetry of Andalusia and especially of Lorca’s own Granada. Lorca asked Xirgu to play the title role at the premiere in June 1927, at the Teatre Goya in Barcelona with scenic design and costumes by Salvador Dalí.

Xirgu fled Spain at the beginning of the Civil War but Lorca refused to leave. His liberal beliefs and open homosexuality subsequently led to his death at the hands of the Falange, the fascist party founded by the son of former Spanish dictator General Primo de Rivera. Xirgu then gave her life to playing Mariana Pineda and to keeping Lorca’s words alive.

Synopsis
The opera is told through Xirgu’s memories in a series of flashbacks as the past invades the present. As the opera begins, Margarita Xirgu prepares once again to go on stage as Mariana Pineda as a group of young actresses sing the opening ballad. She remembers the brilliance of Lorca to her young student Nuria, recalling her meeting with Lorca in a bar in Madrid where he describes his play to her for the first time. Lorca idolized Pineda, whose statue could be seen from his window at the Lorca family home in Granada. The flashback is interrupted by the Falangist Ramon Ruiz Alonso, broadcasting over the state radio that his party will stamp out the beginnings of the revolution.

The Spanish Civil War has begun. Xirgu pleads with Lorca to join her and her theatre company in Cuba, but he refuses and stays in Granada. Xirgu blames herself for Lorca’s fate, since she could not convince the idealistic young man to abandon Spain. In Xirgu’s memories, she sings of her dream of finding freedom in Cuba, but Lorca insists that he must witness and write about his country’s suffering on the barricades.

Xirgu is dying. In the present, she insists on performing Pineda’s story one more timeshe tells Nuria that an actor lives only for a moment, but the idea of freedom will never die. A vision of Lorca interrupts her. He thanks her for immortalizing his spirit on stage, in the hearts of her students, and for the world.

This production features prop guns and simulated sound of gunfire.

Running time: approximately one hour and 20 minutes, performed without intermission

Sung in Spanish with English subtitles

A co-production of the Metropolitan Opera, Scottish Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera Ventures and Detroit Opera

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