Quantum Theatre – known for staging its productions in unique places that aren’t theatres – will present the unique Grammy Award-winning chamber opera Ainadamar by Osvaldo Golijov (Grammy winner in 2006 for best classical contemporary composition and best opera recording). Opening night is scheduled for Oct. 19 in East Liberty Presbyterian Church.
With Ainadamar, Quantum Theatre creates a chamber opera in the tradition of 2010’s acclaimed Maria de Buenos Aires, reassembling many of the artists from that work, including directors Andres Cladera and Karla Boos; performers Raquel Winnica Young and Carolina Loyola-Garcia; and designers Tony Ferrieri, Joe Seamans and Richard Parsakian.
Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca died at the hands of Franco’s fascists, though his body was never found. Granada’s “fountain of tears” – “ainadamar,” in Arabic – has become the sacred, attributed site of that murder. Lorca’s life as a young artist at the eve of the Spanish revolution and his relationship with Margarita Xirgu, the great Catalan tragedian who was his muse, form the story of the opera. A flamenco-based score - Deep Song, as it’s called – articulates the pounding of horses’ hooves, the guns of the Falangists, and ultimately, the powerful, undeniable cry for freedom that could not be silenced.
Katy Shackleford Williams stars as Margarita Xirgu and the opera begins as she steps onstage in the 1960’s, years after Lorca’s death, for yet another star turn as Mariana Pineda, the historical figure Lorca memorialized in his first play, which had brought them together. Lost in memories, she tells about events thirty years earlier to the student actresses who form a circle of disciples around her, and then assume the personalities she recalls.
Interestingly, the role of Lorca is to be played by a mezzo (Winnica Young), perhaps in a nod to Lorca’s homosexuality – Xirgu was a platonic muse, and Lorca’s evolution as the voice of repressed peoples was in part engendered by his own marginalization as a homosexual in Franco’s time. Xirgu cannot bring him back. But in the opera’s taut 90 minutes, she lets go of her guilt at being unable to prevent his death, and leads a celebration of the freedom he brought to the world.
Boos and Cladera have collaborated on past Quantum productions Candide and Maria de Buenos Aires. Cladera, a native of Montevideo, Uruguay, is co-director of Microscopic Opera in Pittsburgh and currently makes his home in Denver. East Liberty Presbyterian Church is an historic property of monumental spaces filled with meaning for its congregation and the many communities of Pittsburgh which use the building. The opera will be sung in Spanish with English surtitles.
Video design by Joe Seamans will enhance the work with images. Sound design is by Ryan McMasters. Special events occurring through the run of the show include: Community Night, an invited rehearsal for East Liberty residents and groups on October 16; Post Show Discussion with director and cast on October 21; Ladies Night on October 23, a women’s-only viewing with a pre-show gathering; and Grapenuts Night, TBD, which includes a special pre-show wine-tasting.
Source: Quantum Theater
218 N. Highland Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Karla Boos, Artistic Director
Quantum Theatre to open Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar – a chamber opera with libretto by David Henry Hwang; music direction by Andres Cladera; stage direction by Karla Boos
Who: Quantum Theatre
What: Ainadamar by Osvaldo Golijov, libretto by David Henry Hwang, music direction by Andres Cladera; stage direction by Karla Boos
When: October 19 – November 3 (Opening and Press Night October 19) Note unusual schedule: performances Oct. 19, 20, 21, 23, 26, 27, 28, 30, Nov. 2, 3, all at 8pm.
Where: East Liberty Presbyterian Church (116 South Highland Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206) (map link)
Tickets: ShowClix 1-888-718-4253; www.quantumtheatre.com or www.showclix.com/event/229382;
$35 - $48 with limited $18 student tix.