The following comments on Ainadamar were written after a visit to the Santa Fe Opera in the summer of 2005.
There must be a running debate in musical circles, particularly with audiences and music critics, as to whether Osvaldo Golijov’s “Ainadamar” is a theatrical musical piece or an opera. The performance on August 14th, 2005 by the Santa Fe Opera, whose refurbished opera house is situated in the stoic, primeval mountains of Northern New Mexico, certainly did not settle the argument.
Ainadamar is based on the life of poet and dramatist, Federico Garcia Lorca and his personal relationship with Spanish actor, Margarita Xirgu who was the writer’s protagonist in a number of his plays. Their relationship began with Lorca’s first critical success, Mariana Pineda, in which Margarita portrayed a 19th Century political martyr who would rather die than reveal the names of her lover and his compatriots in their fight for freedom. The theme of woman as sacrificial lamb was one that Lorca succumbed to throughout his dramatic works.