Golijov’s Ainadamar: Minding the Politics

Since posting my report on Golijov’s Ainadamar (“Fountain of Tears”), I’ve been trolling around Internetland reading more about what others have thought of the production. The most striking report came courtesy of The Standing Room, which took critics and fellow bloggers to task for failing to comment on the political implication of the piece as a “potent condemnation of totalitarianism—not just in its historical manifestations in Spain (or Argentina, for that matter), but also in its latent form in contemporary America.”

Later in the post the question is raised as to just how critics could debate the merits of Sellars’s staging while seemingly ignoring that “what we witnessed on stage we are also witnessing in our personal lives right now.” I couldn’t help but nod my head and feel guilty that I, too, had evaded discussing this very topic, not because I missed the connection, but because of something much worse—sitting in the theatre that night, the fact that history is just a vicious circle was so obvious and frustratingly resonant considering the nightly news, I couldn’t even bring myself to write about it. After hours of NPR and BBC reports and pages of print on the matter over the past years, I was feeling so tired and helpless that I willfully ignored one of the greatest gifts Golijov’s piece had to offer—to look at political horror of the past through the lens of art and find the inspiration to seek change in the present.

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