Lincoln Center celebrates Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov
Everybody loves Osvaldo Golijov right now, especially Lincoln Center, which is in the midst of a monthlong celebration of the Argentine composer and his work. In the carefully curated world of classical music, this is a pretty extraordinary tribute, usually extended only to such high-profile names as Philip Glass, Steve Reich, or John Adams, prolific senior composers with a proven track record. At 45, Golijov has just one smash hit to his credit: the genre-busting oratorio La Pasión Según San Marcos, an updated, streetwise Crucifixion drama drenched in the heady sounds and rhythms of Latin America and the Caribbean. The work, first heard six years ago, closes Lincoln Center’s festival with performances on February 20 and 21, and will surely intoxicate many more listeners with its sheer theatrical extravagance.
After the St. Mark Passion, Golijov composed nothing of comparable size and ambition until his first opera, Ainadamar, which opened Lincoln Center’s salute at the Rose Theater in the production staged last summer in Santa Fe. This is a revised version of the score premiered at the 2003 Tanglewood Festival, where it received a rather muted reception. Perhaps, after the extroverted drama of the Passion, audiences were not expecting this subdued, brooding meditation on the Spanish poet-playwright Federico García Lorca, executed in 1936 by Fascist soldiers at Ainadamar, the "fountain of tears," in Granada. Whatever problems the opera might have had, they now appear to be solved. This 80-minute piece of music theater is a quiet spellbinder, an astonishing demonstration of how an opera can sound completely contemporary yet still convey its message in very potent lyrical song.
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