- Hello everybody, I'm Satori Shakoor.
Welcome to Detroit Performs Live for Marygrove, where Detroit's talented artists take the stage and share insights into their performances.
The episode you're about to see is curated by our partner organization, Detroit Opera.
We headed over to the Opera House to check out their new production, Fountain of Tears, Ainadamar.
So come on.
It's time for Detroit Performs Live from Marygrove - [Narrator] Funding for Detroit Performs is provided by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, Gregory Haynes and Richard Sonenklar, the Kresge Foundation, the A. Paul and Carol C. Scott Foundation, the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you.
(upbeat music) - Hello and welcome to Detroit Performs Live.
I'm excited to be sitting here with Paulo, the conductor of Ainadamar, welcome.
- Thank you.
- And what is the story of the opera?
- So the story of the opera, it's based on the muse of Federico García Lorca, this actress that Margarita who, she's old and she's talking with one of her students, Nuria.
So Nuria wants to know what, you know, what are your memories about like being working with this incredibly important poet and play writer which was Federico García Lorca, which is one of the most important names in the literature of the 20th century Spanish writing.
But at some point, this all artistic collaboration went through this really rough time of the politics in Spain at that age.
And when they, the police caught him because he was with political antagonism with what was going on around, and at the end they killed him.
So it's a really tragic story, but it's narrated through the eyes of this person, of Margarita.
So it's about love, it's about life, and yes, it's about death, but at the same time with this kind of like, angle of redemption, because through poetry, through the literature, through music, through dance, it's kind of like they will be together forever.
- [Satori] And what kind of inspiration do you have when you're conducting an opera such as this?
- Well, this is a really unique and I would say in a good way, rare opera because it's first of all, this is much a modern opera.
It's not from the traditional core of the repertoire, like, you know, like Traviata, La Boheme because Osvaldo Golijov, this Argentinian composer wrote this opera only 20 years ago.
And for the standards of an opera production, 20 years, it's pretty new.
And at the same time it's because he's bringing a lot of devices to the music, to the stage that are not so common to an opera, which makes it even more interesting.
The whole music around the drama it's about this flavor, this Flamenco flavor.
So the guitars are like a main role but also the percussion and every kind of like, musical gesture at some point it's linked to this folklore sound which makes this opera kind of like a blend into two worlds from the very classical tradition writing and the the sound of a symphonic piece and an opera, of course, the vocal lines, the choir, the soloist.
But at the same time, it's always blend with this much more popular color.
So that, I think it's one of the most effective devices that this opera has and I think one of the most compelling to the audience and the musicians.
- And how has your experience been working with the Detroit Opera?
- Oh, it's been a joyful experience, so far it's just about sharing with this amazing group of artists.
There is so much joy in the process.
Everybody is enjoying it.
So I'm sure you will tell when you are at the performance.
- And the translation is Fountain of Tears - Ainadamar, yes, it's an Arabic word for Fountains of Tears, which is a place in Granada where Garcia Lorca was executed.
- [Satori] Why should audiences come and see this opera?
- I think what makes it really attractive is that it gets you immediately because of the rhythms because of the Flamenco again, I mean, it's such a powerful, you know, music.
So I think they have to come because they will experience something they won't forget.
And I'm pretty sure they will get really fascinating for the story, the music, the singing, everything.
- Any last words?
Anything you wanna leave us with?
- Yes, don't miss Ainadamar, it's an experience you won't forget.
- All right, thank you.
We won't miss it.
- Thank you.
(tapping) (upbeat music) (singing in foreign language) (clapping) (upbeat music) (singing in foreign language) - I wanna welcome Daniela Mack who plays Lorca in the opera Ainadamar, welcome Daniela.
- Thank you very much, thanks for having me.
- So how do you prepare for your role and you're playing a man, is that what I understand?
- I am, this is a trouser role is what we call it in opera or pants role.
And I'm a mezzo soprano, so the range that I have is lower than a soprano and I actually play quite a number of men on stage.
So it's something that's not entirely outta my wheelhouse, for this, you know, Lorca's such an iconic, famous, world famous author, poet, playwright.
So there is a little bit of studying the physicality from photographs and trying to channel what I think he may have been like.
But since this is not in any way a biography, there's a little bit more freedom in ambiguity since I am, you know, I'm not fooling anybody, I'm actually a woman.
- Yes, yes and as an artist, how do you approach your role?
- Well, for Lorca, thankfully there's just a wealth of information about him and he wrote so much.
So in this particular instance, I had read in school when I was in high school, a couple of his plays.
So I had sort of a basis for some of what he wrote.
And in preparation for this, I dived into some of his poetry, which I had not picked up.
And just reading more about his life and seeing what he was about and realizing that the central message in this piece even if it's not exactly only about his life, the connection that he spoke about and wrote about is definitely present in the piece.
- How does this particular opera, how does it relate to today and why is this story important to share?
- The idea that everybody is deserving of love and that it knows no bounds, it doesn't know or it's not beholden to life, it doesn't know the boundary between life and death.
Love continues and connection continues.
I think that's an important message regardless of, you know, time period or what's going on in the world, specifically anything dealing with the life of Lorca, which this definitely touches on is important because he was, by his own admission, a champion for people who didn't have a voice.
He wanted to use his pen to be the voice of people that didn't have a voice.
And he also, as a gay man, he was very much persecuted for his lifestyle and for his sexuality which is sadly not something that is foreign to us.
- Or changed very much at all.
And I think that that is, of course, timely and important and art exists for art's sake, but also to create awareness.
And I think this piece absolutely does that.
- What songs in particular energize you, drive you, inspire you in the piece?
- That's a really good question, it's really hard to choose.
It's not a very long piece but I think every single moment is just this very energetic and clear picture painted in each moment.
There's a huge dance element in, inherent in the music, but also in this production.
And it's very heavily influenced by flamenco.
And so that the energy that those scenes in particular create are just, I can't sit without a smile on my face watching it and listening to it.
And it's full of toe tapping music.
It's the kind of piece where you're gonna walk out of the theater humming a tune because it's very melodic and it's very easily accessible in that way.
- Well thank you Daniela Mack.
- Thank you very much.
- Who plays the role of Lorca?
We can't wait to see.
- Thank you.
(upbeat music) (singing in foreign language) - I'm excited to be sitting here with Antonio Najarro, who is the choreographer for the opera.
- Oh, it's a pleasure to be with you here.
- So how did you become part of this beautiful endeavor?
- So I had a phone call from Deborah Colker and I met her when I was directing the Spanish National Ballet.
And she came to Madrid with her dance company and she came to one of our rehearsal and we had a very good feeling.
We share very similar energies as choreographers and directors.
And she phoned to me and she told me I have a beautiful project, Ainadamar project, it's an Spanish history and I want you to be the Flamenco choreographer.
Because I think she felt that I could give the Spanish energy and Spanish soul through this opera.
And I said, yes, of course.
I love this challenge and that's why I'm here.
- And what did you find challenging?
- I think this opera is completely different to any other opera because there is a lot of Spanish spirit.
It's an opera with Spanish Flamenco rhythms in the music Spanish guitar, Flamenco guitar, percussion Flamenco percussion.
And also the treatment of the singers is not the same as in other operas.
They dance, they move, they do expression, traumatic expression.
And I think for me, this is the biggest challenge.
I treat the singers as real dancers and I'm loving to do that.
And I'm feeling that they love too.
- And what would you say Lorca's philosophy or what would you say the core of his message is?
- Lorca, he was, he loved the freedom and he speak about hope.
Hope of freedom, hope of light, hope of new vision of Spain, hope of new vision of his own life.
And Ainadamar speak about that.
- And why do you believe audiences should run to see this piece?
- Because this opera is emotion.
It's emotion, it's energy, it's tragedy, it's movement, it's soul, it's theater, but it's also dance.
It's also voices.
And I think when somebody pay a ticket to go to the theater, they want to feel something different.
They want to feel something different about his routine every day.
And Ainadamar will give something different to the audience.
- Is there anything that you want to say that I haven't asked you?
- I will like to say than I'm so happy with all the artists of this production because I found them completely open to understand and to feel my message.
The Spanish character, the Spanish dance, the Spanish culture.
And they are working very, very hard with a very good energy, with very good spirit.
And I'm feeling very comfortable.
I'm very proud of them.
- Thank you so much, Antonio.
It was a pleasure.
I learned so much from you.
- Thank you very much.
- And thank you for joining us at Detroit Performs Live from Marygrove - [Narrator] Funding for Detroit Performs is provided by the Fred A. and Barbara M Erb Family Foundation, Gregory Haynes and Richard Sonenklar, the Kresge Foundation, the A. Paul and Carol C. Scott Foundation the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you.