Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Sadly, not my picture.
The Academy of Music is lovely--of course we had nosebleed seats, but such is life. (We've been spoiled by the Orchestra seats we've been getting through the symphony rush.) The building is grand, although the lobby is small, which leads to lots of traffic jams, since the theater holds a ton of people.

Ainadamar is about the life (and especially death) of Federico Garcia Lorca, poet and playwright in Spain until his execution during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. The opera is told from the perspective of his girlfriend/muse, Margarita Xirgu, who plays Mariana Pineda, the main character/martyr for another revolution from Garcia Lorca's first play (who is also from his home province of Granada).

The opera's story and its frame (Margarita Xirgu passing the knowledge of her craft, as well as her revolutionary ideals, to her student, Nuria) are compelling and dramatic, at least in the first two acts.

The third act, however, is an entirely different story. In the third act, Margarita Xirgu is dying, passing on her ministry, her memories of Garcia Lorca, her testimony to the revolution, to Nuria. Garcia Lorca mysteriously returns to go with her to her death. In the first two acts, Garcia Lorca is alluded to as a Christ figure, with references to his martyrdom and his crown of thorns. Just typical literary stuff. In the final act, it's just all over the top: Nuria, Garcia Lorca, and Xirgu form a trinity at the head of a last supper tableau. They hand out pamphlets (scriptures? plays?) to their eleven followers (they dispensed with Judas early to avoid the betrayal?).

The end of the opera did for me exactly the opposite of what was attempted, I think--it emphasized more than anything before to me how important it was that Jesus didn't come to make a political statement, but rather for a religious, human life-changing purpose. While politics is important (heavens, I'd better think that, what with my chosen field of study) and working toward political change is a noble endeavor, political change is limited in its end. Jesus had an even more radical and comprehensive and revolutionary purpose. Thank goodness He didn't just seek to overthrow a political order.

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