… asked the singers if that happens to them, does the score play in their heads every hour that they sleep? They said, ‘yeah.’ So I’m not alone. Actually all plays go on in my sleeping head while I’m rehearsing, and I’d better not complain because a lot of good work gets done that way. And then it abruptly stops, the minute we open.
Ainadamar is special. It’s exquisite, musically and dramatically, it’s bold, it speaks in unexpected ways. So says me, the one obsessed enough to have it playing in my head at all hours, but an awful lot of the world worships at the feet of this living composer Osvaldo Golijov, and this work in particular brought him legions of fans. So we hope that Pittsburgh will care that we took it on, and we hope that we’re doing justice to it.
I think it’s special for me because it speaks to theatre people, particularly, because it’s about one of the 20th century’s greatest theatre artists, Federico Garcia Lorca, and is about his relationship with an actress; about their deepest desire to make meaningful theatre together and how that intersects with life’s events… very dramatic, sad, and true events. The word means ‘fountain of tears’ in Arabic, and that’s what I often am as I work on it, though the piece is not all sad or ultimately sad, it’s cathartic, transcendent.
It’s also a special project because I’m in artistic love with Andres Cladera (declaring myself here in this blog, though maybe he knows) and for a brief time my love is requited as I get to work with him (he moved to Denver, the shit.) To watch him hold all the lines of the music in his head and his hands – this music that entwines melody and harmony and dissonance and constantly changes time, key, pulls motifs from the depths of ancient forms like flamenco and yet is all its own – to watch him in control of all that is quite a fantastic and pretty much sexual experience for me! Ha.
We’re all shooting on all guns, and what a group it is, many of us friends who cherished the experience of making Maria de Buenos Aires together: Carolina Loyola-Garcia, Raquel Winnica Young, Joe Seamans, Tony Ferrieri, Richard Parsakian. In this, Carolina, as multidimensional as an artist can get, dances her beloved flamenco for us, and does so much more. Raquel, native of Argentina, plays the role of a lifetime in Lorca (after the role of a lifetime in Maria) and well-deserved that she does, she’s a beautiful actress as well as singer. Ainadamar calls for images of an even grander, more all-encompassing scale, and video artist Joe is like a mad scientist, churning out magic from some bank of fifty computers, as I imagine it. There are wonderful people new to me in the mix, Katy Williams, playing the actress Margarita Xirgu, with the voice of an angel, Leah Dyer as her student Nuria, and many, many more.
I’m very content. Terrified, but content in my terror – I get to listen to the opera all day every day.
Maybe I can say more interesting things about its challenges; its very wonderful location, etc. down the road… seems appropriate to share the feelings at this point.