Ainadamar, Lorca, Mariana Pineda

Over the semester, we have been reading works which are sometimes “recontextualized” through translations, adaptations, and performances. So troubador poets are brought into the 20th century, or a corrido form is adapted to address migration, or a play becomes a ballad. “Ainadamar” constitutes a re-reading of the mythos of Lorca — his writing, beliefs, and life verging on myth.

This opera has multiple sources and requires interpretation in relation to multiple contexts. The libretto quotes from Lorca’s play “Mariana Pineda” (which the character of Margarita is supposed to be acting) but also draws in the biography and history of the figures of Lorca and Margarita Xirgu, as well as explicitly referencing the history of 1930s Spain and implicitly 1960s Uruguay. We can add the further contexts of composer Golijov’s experience growing up in the political tumult of Argentina and, finally, our experience of the piece as a Quantum theater production in 2012 Pittsburgh, Penna.

  • What moments or passages (song, scene, metaphor) from the opera did you notice in which Aindamar reproduces something you recognize as Lorca-esque. How you think it is changed? Is this relevant to the performance as well as the libretto?


Rereading Lorca: Politicization

I have puzzled over the passage where Margarita asks Lorca why he wrote “Mariana Pineda” and he responds that it was not political but for love. I had begun to think thatGolijov (who himself grew up during a military coup in Argentina) was interested in de-politicizing Lorca; and I am also interested in the way that Quantum theater used historical war footage to return the political dimension to prominence.

Deigo Santos Sanchez writes:

“Lorca never intended to give the play a political agenda – there is evidence of annoyance at the attempt by his friend Fernando de los Ríos to apply a political layer to his text: ‘es una obra de arte puro, una tragedia hecha […] sin interés politico y yo quiero que su éxito sea un éxito poético’ (cited in Vilches and Dougherty 1992: 44). As will be shown below, press reviewers and censors alike agreed with academics and Lorca himself that the play denies any political reading of the myth. If power was ever to see a challenge in this play, it should remain clear that this could not be based on the grounds of content.”

? How does this inform our experience of the Quantum theater production? 



Rereading Ainadamar: Intertextuality

Even before tracking specific resonances, we can say that the ethos of the opera is Lorca-esque.  The tragic sense that compels characters to their deaths in “Blood Wedding” or “Lament for Ignacio Sanchez” seems to inform this opera.

Specifically, we should look at the uses the opera libretto makes of Lorca’s own 1926 play “Mariana Pineda“:  a christ figure in Lorca’s play, who dies for love rather than giving up her disloyal fiance our accepting the advances of the judge

Here are two passages worth looking at from the play (helpfully pointed out by Hernan Mouro), which are transposed into the libretto, one each from the beginning and near ending of Lorca’s play:

Ay que dia tan triste en Granada,
que a las piedras hace llorar
al ver que Marianita se muere
en cadalso por no declarar!

What a sad day it was in Granada;
that even made stones cry,
upon seeing Marianita dying
at the scaffold for not confessing!


Amas la Libertad por encima de todo,
pero yo soy la misma Libertad.
Doy mi sangreque es tu sangre y
la sangre de todas las criaturas.


You love Freedom more than anything else, 
but I am Freedom itself.
I give my blood, which is your blood 
and that of all creatures.

? Who takes up these lines in the opera?  How does it reshape your perception of them, the opera, or the characters to learn they are also the lines of Lorca’s character: Mariana? 
Similarly, we could look to ways in which the librettist imitates (or channels) Lorca through language that is reminiscent of his poetry. Compare for example his Ode to Walt Whitman with the song about Cuba in the opera. Where does the librettist seem to have derived the key images?
Language Changes: Lyric, Drama, Postmodern Libretto
Dr. Baumer spoke about postmodernism last class.  Some of the markers of literary postmodernism (pastiche, appropriation, mix of genes, etc.) are evident in the libretto. But at the same time, it explores classic themes and universalizable ideas about power, memory, art, immortality.
If time allows, let’s revisit the ending of Blood Wedding and discuss the style (poetic density) of the language there compared to the libretto for the opera.
? How would you distinguish the language of dramatic dialogue, from the poetic lines in “Blood Wedding?” How do they compare to the language in the libretto? If you were given a quotation out of context, could you tell which text they came from?  If so, how? 
Mouro, Hernan, ‘Golijov’s Ainadamar: Hybridity and Cosmopolitianism on the Operatic Stage’, Hernan Mouro, 2007 <> [accessed 1 November 2012]

Sanchez, Diego Santos, ‘Mariana Pineda’s Struggle Against Censorship’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 88 (2011), 931–944 <> [accessed 31 October 2012]

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