Fountain of Tears
This unique, 80-minute opera must be heard. The title means "Fountain of Tears" in Arabic and refers to the place in Granada where Federico Garcia Lorca was executed by Fascist soldiers in 1936. The work opens in a theater in Uruguay in 1969. As the actress Margarita Xirgu, who collaborated with Lorca in the 1920s and '30s, is about to go on stage, she recalls memories of him and his death and the survivor's guilt she feels. Musical images take us back as well. The sounds of hoofbeats, a fountain, and gun shots punctuate the otherwise beautiful, tonal, highly Spanish-influenced score, filled with flamenco and rumba rhythms. The vocal lines are all highly singable as well as dramatic. The work is mostly scored for women's voices: Margartita, sung by Dawn Upshaw; Lorca himself, sung by Kelley O'Connor; Nuria, Margarita's student, sung by Jessica Rivera. There is also an ensemble of women's voices that do most of the work. Margarita dies just before going onstage. The trio for her, Nuria, and Lorca is about as beautiful as anything you'll ever hear. "What a sad day it was in Granada / The stones began to cry" is a refrain that recurs throughout the opera, and the whole piece is sheer poetry. This is stunning.
— Robert Levine
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