Ainadamar reviewed!

Ainadamar (meaning fountain of tears) is Osvaldo Golijov’s beautifully crafted opera

Having watched my first opera earlier this year at the Bristol Hippodrome – the fantastic Blaze of Glory by the Welsh National Opera featuring the Blaenavon Male Voice Choir, I was looking forward very much to another WNO performance.

And I wasn’t disappointed…

Powerful, evocative, mesmerising from start to finish – I was captured from the opening scene of the iconic Spanish image of a bull being projected onto the ‘bullring’ – the centre-stage circle adorned with drapery which symbolised the ‘Fountain of Tears’, the place where Spanish writer Federico García Lorca was slain.

Sung in Spanish, Osvaldo Golijov’s brilliantly crafted opera portrays the life of the Spanish poet and playwright as an artistic martyr through a flashback of memories by his muse and collaborator, the veteran Spanish actress Margarita Xirgu.

Hanna Hipp as Federico García Lorca in WNO Ainadamar 2023 Credit Johan Persson

Margarita played the lead role in Lorca’s premier performance of Mariana Pineda – his first theatrical success based on the 19th century political martyr who was executed for sewing a revolutionary flag against the absolutist Spanish regime with the embroidered slogan ‘Equality, Freedom and Law’. Lorca idolised Pineda and he could see her statue from his window.

Throughout, an array of powerfully evocative messages are projected centre stage, from  Lorca’s verse to religious and political statements. 

The orchestra set the show alight, creating drama and pathos through musical changes with its blend of opera interspersed with flamenco. One of the standout moments for me was the gearshift change to the powerful and captivating call to prayer.

While at times I found the storytelling confusing, this is a unique 80-minute opera with Spanish singing interspersed throughout,and the entire audience and I were hooked – you couldn’t hear a pin drop from start to finish. 

The Welsh National Opera is also performing La Traviata this week at the Bristol Hippodrome from Thursday 19–Saturday 21 October 2023.

About the Welsh National Opera

Welsh National Opera is the national opera company for Wales, funded by the Arts Councils of Wales and England to provide large-scale opera, concerts and outreach work across Wales and to major cities in the English regions. It endeavours to provide transformative experiences through its education and outreach programme and its award-winning digital projects. With its partners, it works to discover and nurture young operatic talent and aims to show future generations that opera is a rewarding, relevant and universal art form with the power to affect and inspire.