Ainadamar

Okay, in a way, I’m almost giving away the goods by showcasing this brief scene just as Golijov’s Ainadamar is beginning its ascent towards the climatic death of the heroine, Margarita Xirgu (sung by Dawn Upshaw). But it this moment of emotion that still haunts corners of my mind even months after seeing the live performance. All three women intertwine themselves in the pain of it, physically and musically, with a mortally wounded Upshaw projecting soaring soprano lines from the stage floor. The tragedy, shocking on its own, is amplified by the reality that it’s a history lesson on the brutality and oppression of war that even decades later we still haven’t managed to grasp.

—MS