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Alain Barker
IU Jacobs School of Music

Linda Cajigas
IU Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Monday, October 1, 2007

Collegiate premiere of Golijov's 'Ainadamar,' in concert, Oct. 11-12 at IU Jacobs School of Music

Oct. 1, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The IU Jacobs School's Latin American Music Center (LAMC), in cooperation with the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble and the Chamber Orchestra, will present the collegiate premiere performance in concert of the chamber opera Ainadamar or Fountain of Tears by Argentinean composer Osvaldo Golijov. The event will take place on Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. in Auer Hall, with a repeat performance on Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. The performances are free and open to the public.

Osvaldo Golijov

Osvaldo Golijov

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This also will be the first performance by soloists other than the original creators of the roles, and the first with a baritone in the role of Garcia Lorca, initially created as a trouser-role for a mezzo-soprano. Carmen Helena Téllez, director of the LAMC and of the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, will conduct the production. Members of the IU Latin American Popular Music Ensemble also will participate.

IU's Adjunct Professor of Modern Dance Joe Galvin and Adjunct Professor of Music Espen Jensen, along with Jacobs guitar and percussion students, trained with the original artists -- Gonzalo Grau and Adam del Monte -- in the flamenco styles required for this piece.

The score requires a performer at a computer that projects actual sounds and historical radio excerpts in specific synchronization with the music. In consultation with the original sound designer Jeremy Flower, IU professor of music and director of the Center for Electronic and Computer Music Jeffrey Hass and composition graduate student Laura Kramer have realized the electronic sounds for the Jacobs School production. Sound engineer and Associate Professor of Music Wayne Jackson will supervise the performances.

Ainadamar won two Grammys in 2007 and has been performed to rave reviews in major cultural centers around the United States.

Carmen Helena Tellez

Carmen Helena Tellez

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Osvaldo Golijov has become one of the most important contemporary classical composers of our time. He combines varied musical genres -- from Latin American and Spanish popular genres to computer music -- into a personal style which successfully connects with audiences while employing the expressive devices of contemporary art-music. He is currently working on a new piece for the Metropolitan Opera and a film score for Francis Ford Coppola.

Ainadamar evolves in three "images" referring to three real-life characters: Mariana Pineda, a 19th-century Spanish heroine admired by Spanish Republicans thereafter; Federico García Lorca, one of the greatest Spanish poets; and Margarita Xirgu, a famous Spanish actress for whom Lorca wrote one of his first plays, Mariana Pineda. The role of Xirgu was especially created for Grammy Award-winning soprano Dawn Upshaw.

The first image recounts the initial meeting between Lorca and Xirgu, and the heroism of the martyr Pineda, who died for the cause of the Spanish Republic in the 19th Century. The second image recalls the last time that Xirgu saw Lorca, while the Spanish Republic was being attacked, ending with the tragedy of more than 2,100 deaths in Granada, including Lorca's. In the third image, Spain has been under Fascist control for more than 30 years, and Xirgu is on her death bed, failing as she intends to go onstage to act in Mariana Pineda one last time. Although never allowed to return to Spain, she has kept the spirit of Lorca alive in Latin America and passes on her courage to her students.

The name Ainadamar or "Fountain of Tears," was given by the Moors to a well in the outskirts of Granada, which became the location where Lorca was murdered at the onset of the Spanish Civil War.

In the opera, Xirgu remembers her friendship with Lorca, revisits his death and sings to his power as the voice of struggle for freedom everywhere. The music, laced with flamenco and Cuban rhythms, is spellbinding throughout.

"Beyond the beauty of the music lies a very important message," said Carmen Helena Téllez. "Artists can be the voice of the people, and freedom of expression must be always defended. This is important today, when so many governments of the right and the left suppress the voice of the individual in the name of a purported common good that is nothing more than a pretext for a totalitarian agenda."

Born and raised in Argentina of Eastern European Jewish ancestry, Golijov grew up surrounded by chamber classical music, Jewish liturgical and Klezmer music, and the new tango of Astor Piazzolla. After studying piano at the local conservatory and composition with important Argentinean composer Gerardo Gandini -- who crossed ranks often to play with Piazzolla -- Golijov moved to Israel in 1983, where he studied with Mark Kopytman at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy and immersed himself in the colliding musical traditions of the city. Upon moving to the United States in 1986, Golijov earned his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied with George Crumb and was a fellow at Tanglewood studying with Oliver Knussen.

The Indiana University Latin American Music Center fosters the research and performance of Latin American art music. Founded in 1961 by distinguished composer and musicologist Juan Orrego-Salas, the center continues to expand its important library, promotes exchanges between musicians and scholars from the United States and Latin America and commissions, performs and records exemplary music from the region.

For more information about the Bloomington performances, go to or contact the IU Latin American Music Center at 812-855-2991.

To learn more about Osvaldo Golijov and the opera, visit