When composer Osvaldo Golijov insisted that Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony record his orchestral music for Deutsche Grammophon, it launched an extensive two-year recording project between the composer and the ASO.
Golijov's one-act opera Ainadamar, with a libretto by David Henry Hwang, is the first CD to emerge from the venture. The story revolves around a moment late in the life of actress Margarita Xirgu as she recalls her friendship with poet/playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, his execution by Spanish fascists and his creative influence. Soprano Dawn Upshaw turns a signature performance as Xirgu, while Lorca is beautifully sung as a "trouser" role by mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor. The small cast and women-only chorus sing well.
Drawing its mournfully passionate blood-red character from plaintive vocal lines and sensuous dance rhythms for its Ibero-American flavor, Golijov's accessible score is superbly played and shaped to perfection by conductor Robert Spano and the ASO musicians. 4 stars
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra kicks off its new season at Symphony Hall on Thurs., Sept. 21.
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