Osvaldo Golijov
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Ainadamar (2003): Reviews
   [Synopsis] · [Notes] · [Reviews] · [Video] · [Listening Guide] · [Resources] · [Technical Requirements]
Los Angeles Times
Mark Swed
"Ainadamar" is reborn in triumph at Santa FeGolijov's score is amazing, in its opening distant trumpet calls, its insinuating dance rhythms, its vital command of percussion and its arrestingly beautiful arias for women's voice. The end is a devastatingly lush trio, with the voices of Lorca and Margarita from beyond guiding the way for Nuria...A theater of delirium. [more]
New York Magazine
Peter G. Davis
He Reigns In Spain...a quiet spellbinder, an astonishing demonstration of how an opera can sound completely contemporary yet still convey its message in very potent lyrical song. [more]
The New Yorker*
Alex Ross
Deep Song: AinadamarHis works arouse extraordinary enthusiasm in audiences, because they revive music's elemental powers: they have rhythms that rock the body into motion and melodies that linger in the mind. [more]
The Atlanta Journal-
Constitution (CD)

Pierre Ruhe
Fest lets ASO showcase hot composer GolijovIt's Golijov's masterpiece, destined to be among the great musical achievements of our time. [more]
Detroit Free
Press (CD)

Mark Stryker
An Opera for the AgesThe melodies shiver with erotic intervals and scales; bittersweet half-steps weep with sun-drenched nostalgia and the soul of Spain. Arias of languid beauty are interrupted by exuberant outbursts of rhythm, orchestral color and violence. The inventive orchestration finds room for the improvisatory wail of an authentic flamenco singer, guitars and a heart-stopping passage of rhythmically layered gunshots. [more]
Boston Globe (CD)
Richard Dyer
Recording liberates Golijov's 'Ainadamar'Golijov has the gift of creating memorable melody, of propelling events forward through pulsing and intricately layered rhythms. He can create an atmosphere, a color, a tinta, to use Verdi's word. The work has an airless, dreamlike, hallucinatory quality. [more]
Opera News
Simon Williams
 The highlight of the (Santa Fe) festival was Ainadamar...Golijov's mesmerizing score articulates the destruction of spontaneity and beauty with disquieting accuracy. [more]
Cincinnati Enquirer
Janelle Gelfand
 It all unfolded, dreamlike. Dawn Upshaw was completely absorbing as Margarita. Her persona could be radiant or tragically dark, and the depth of her emotion was profound. Lorca, a "pants" role, was richly sung by mezzo Kelley O'Connor, a member of Santa Fe's apprentice program. A chorus of young women, in black dresses, encircled the principal singers in an almost mystical choreography. [more]
Time Out
New York (CD)

David Shengold
 Ainadamar has proved outstanding, both in the theater and on this splendid disc. [more]
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Chris Shull
Revolutionary music
Golijov's music is memorable. Thrumming guitars and slapping percussion set up the hypnotic syncopation of Spanish dancing. Its mesmerizing melodies coursed in minor-mode flamenco style—sometimes lulling, sometimes shouting, but always writhing and falling. Every measure, even the defiant ending, was weighted by the angst of hope deferred. [more]
The New York Times
Bernard Holland
Haunted by the Deaths of Martyrs, a Century ApartLike his fellow Argentinean Astor Piazzolla, Mr. Golijov does not harness popular music; he liberates it. The energy is freed from a simple dance band function and allowed to wander into modulating keys and new meters. This is "low art" arranged in sophisticated sentences. Mr. Golijov takes his brass fanfares from the bullring and his sentimental moods off any old record or sheet music he can find. He is not afraid to get his hands dirty... Energy runs like an underground stream beneath this piece. [more]
George Loomis
"Ainadamar," Revised and Revisited...a bold break with narrative opera. Scenes succeed each other with a dreamlike flow...Dawn Upshaw is outstanding as Xirgu, singing now with Mozartean purity, now with gut-wrenching power. [more]
Washington Post
Philip Kennicott
"Ainadamar": Agony And Ecstasy in Santa Fe...it is filled with gorgeous music, and it passes the first and ultimate test of opera: The characters are defined by the music they sing -- and that music is often hauntingly beautiful. [more]
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Pierre Ruhe
ASO soars in tale of a murderWhat creates sparks in Golijov's music are the Spanish and Latin American dance rhythms, flamenco, rumba, bossa nova, tango. They flow ceaselessly, joyously, till they are no longer heard but only felt, more a pulse or an electrical current. [more]
Steven Robert Allen
Ainadamar at the Santa Fe Opera...what does happen is examined with such dramatic musical intensity that by the time the curtain falls you'll feel as if entire lifetimes have passed before your eyes. (I mean this in a good way.) [more]
Newark Star-Ledger
Bradley Bambarger
'Ainadamar' evokes tears and cheers...his opera vibrates with blood-red intensity and a sophisticated emotional intelligence. [more]
Boston Globe
Richard Dyer
New, simply-staged 'Ainadamar' finds its soulGolijov's music, charged with Spanish rhythms and timbres, is hypnotically beautiful and lustrously orchestrated. The electronic waters of the opening are as primordial as Wagner's portrait of the Rhine; the percussive patterns of horsehooves, later echoed in gunshots, are terrifying. [more]
The New York Times
Anthony Tommasini
Seeing Life as Passion Play, in García Lorca's ShadowAs in other major works, Mr. Golijov unabashedly embraces feeling, melody and richly tonal harmonic writing. He skillfully finds common ground in disparate folk music traditions, especially Latin American and Jewish. The voices and instruments are filtered through subtle electronic resources. Taped elements run through the score, like the arresting opening segment that terrifyingly merges the sounds of gurgling waters and galloping horses. There is also a stunning climatic episode when Mr. Golijov turns the repeated sounds of rifle shots into a pummeling rhythmic fugue as García Lorca and two compatriots are executed.... And for all it tragic poignancy, the final trio for three female leads has a Straussian lushness, if you imagine Strauss as a latter-day Sephardic Jew. [more]
San Diego Magazine*
David Gregson
Ravishing Chamber Opera at Disney HallMusically satisfying, highly involving, emotionally potent, this was an exceptional event. [more]
Opera News*
Willard Spiegelman
 ...Golijov's expressive score was, throughout, rich and expansive... Robert Spano brought out its flamenco and folk tonalities and coaxed his superb youthful musicians into building the music to heights and depths of romantic passion. [more]
Wes Blomster
 Golijov tells this tragic tale with a score that confirms his stature as a leading composer of his generation. His idiom is unique; one can identify within it influences and ingredients, but Golijov weaves them into a tapestry so cohesive and compelling that such detective work is meaningless. [more]
Los Angeles Times*
Mark Swed
 The poetic power of Golijov's lyric voice and pulsating rhythms has a life force all its own. [more]
Boston Herald*
T.J. Medrek
 Those of us at the Tanglewood Theatre on Sunday evening for the world premiere of Osvaldo Golijov's first opera, "Ainadamar," witnessed a rare and special thing: the debut of a new opera that works. It works mainly because Golijov can't seem to write music that isn't full of life, passion and drama. [more]
Boston Globe*
Richard Dyer
 The whole piece is gorgeous and seductive... [more]
Los Angeles Times*
Mark Swed
 The rhythmic groove in the bass, the dancing distant trumpet lines and the intensely expressive wind solos were just a few of the things that carried this gratified listener along. [more]
Chicago Tribune
John Von Rhein
 A compelling piece of modern music theater... [more]
The Berkshire Eagle*
Andrew L. Pincus
 Melodically rich, it also offers a glowing orchestration tinged with Spanish popular music and dance. [more]

Reviews marked with (*) are of the original version as performed at Tanglewood and Los Angeles. Reviews maked with (CD) are of the 2006 Deutsche Grammophon recording. All other reviews are of the revised version first performed at Santa Fe Opera in 2005.