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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Reviews | 0 comments

Even A Sour Production Can’t Stop the Music of Golijov

by Melissa Wimbish

Osvaldo Golijov is a living, breathing creator of masterful music that should be performed even more…but not at the expense of excellence according to this reviewer! (As in perhaps extra special care should be taken when presenting a current work like this.) Golijov’s opera Ainadamar made its premiere at Tanglewood in 2003 and has since enjoyed an eventful life visiting L.A., Santa Fe, Long Beach Opera, and heading to Madrid this summer. For now, we’ll hear from Mark Swed of the L.A. Times on LBO’s “thrown together” production. Check out the Operagasm review rundown:

A rocky past: Ainadamar, which has a libretto by David Henry Hwang, has had a troubled history much chronicled in these pages…Peter Sellars oversaw a complete rewrite of both the libretto and score for Santa Fe Opera, and the result was one of the most moving and meaningful operas of our time. That Santa Fe production by the L.A. director, and with an extraordinary mural set by L.A. artist Gronk, will be mounted at Madrid’sTeatro Real, Spain’s leading opera company, next month.”

I want Safeway brand in my pantry, not at the opera: “Meanwhile, LBO went its own way with generic staging and designs by the company’s artistic and general director, Andreas Mitisek, and generic video projections by Frieder Weiss — the team responsible for an uneven but more ambitious production of Philip Glass’ Akhnaten last season. Ainadamar looked simply thrown together.”

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…or the orchestra under the tarp!”: “Mitisek covered the stage right up to the lip and over the pit with a sheet. Cutouts permitted characters to pop up or sink underground. The orchestra was placed unseen in the back. This seems to be the current fashion. The L.A. Phil’s “Don Giovanni” and The Industry’s “Crescent City” have put their orchestras out of the way, as well. There were balance problems aplenty Sunday, especially with amplification involved.”

KEEP IT REAL, THOUGH!: “But nothing can take away from a wondrous world music score that recalls a 15th century golden age Granada where Jewish, Muslim and Christian culture productively intermixed. Flamenco, Klezmer, Middle Eastern chant and modern electronics are all in Golijov’s arsenal and the atmosphere and the sounds that Golijov gets from the orchestra are magical.”

Check out the full review here!

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