“Golijov’s masterpiece—destined to be among the great musical achievements of our time.”
THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Fountain of Tears
The impassioned true story of Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca is told by his close friend and muse, actress Margarita Xirgu, during the last moments of her life.
Lorca became a martyr in the name of artistic freedom when he was executed by Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War at a spring in the foothills of Granada—Ainadamar (Arabic for “Fountain of Tears”).
Filled with flamenco and rumba rhythms, this stunning work won two Grammy Awards in 2007.
And the entire piece brims with sheer poetry: “I am freedom. I am wounded and bleeding hope. What a sad day it was in Granada—the stones began to cry.”
In Spanish with English supertitles.
Original production from the Santa Fe Opera.
Feb. 3, 4, 10, 11 Musical Arts Center 7:30 PM
Join us at 6:30 PM before each performance for the Opera Insights Lecture, located on the mezzanine level of the Musical Arts Center.
Emerging from darkness, the mythic world of Federico García Lorca comes into being. The sound of horses on the wind, the endless flow of the fountain of tears (“Ainadamar”), the trumpet call of wounded freedom, and the aspiration and determination that have been denied generation after generation echo across the hills.
First Image: Mariana Teatro Solís, Montevideo, Uruguay, April 1969. The voices of little girls sing the opening ballad of Lorca’s play Mariana Pineda. The actress Margarita Xirgu looks back across 40 years since she gave the premiere of this daring play by a brilliant young author. In the last minutes of her life, she tries to convey to her brilliant young student Nuria the fire, the passion, and the hope of her generation that gave birth to the Spanish Republic. She flashes back to her first meeting with Lorca in a bar in Madrid.
Lorca tells her that the freedom in his play is not only political freedom and sings a rhapsodic aria that opens the world of imagination: a world inspired by the sight of the statue of Mariana Pineda that he saw as a child in Granada. Mariana was martyred in 1831 for sewing a revolutionary flag and refusing to reveal the names of the revolutionary leaders, including her lover. Her lover deserted her, and she wrote a serenely composed final letter to her children explaining her need to die with dignity.
Margarita reflects on the parallel fates of Mariana and Federico. The reverie is shattered by the call of Ramón Ruiz Alonso, the Falangist who arrested and executed Lorca in August 1936.
Second Image: Federico The ballad of Mariana Pineda sounds again, taking Margarita back to the summer of 1936, the last time she saw Federico. The young Spanish Republic is under attack: the rising of the right-wing generals has begun, there are daily strikes and massacres. Margarita’s theater company is embarking on a tour of Cuba. She begs Federico to come. He decides to go home to Granada instead, to work on new plays and poetry.
No one knows the details of Lorca’s murder. Margarita has a vision of his final hour: the opportunist Ruiz Alonso arresting Lorca in Granada and leading him to the solitary place of execution, Ainadamar, the fountain of tears, together with a bullfighter and a teacher. The three of them are made to confess their sins. Then they are shot. In Granada between July 26, 1936, and March 1, 1939, 2137 people were murdered. The death of Lorca was an early signal to the world.
Third Image: Margarita For the third time we hear the ballad of Mariana Pineda. One more time the play is about to begin, the story retold for the generation of Margarita’s Latin American students. Margarita knows she is dying. She cannot make her entrance—others must go on. As her heart gives way, she tells Nuria that an actor lives for a moment, that the individual voice is silenced, but that the hope of a people will not die. The Fascists have ruled Spain for more than 30 years. Franco has never permitted Margarita Xirgu, the image of freedom, to set foot on Spanish soil. Margarita has kept the plays of Lorca alive in Latin America while they were forbidden in Spain.
The spirit of Lorca enters the room. He takes Margarita’s hand, and he takes Nuria’s hand. Together they enter a blazing sunset of delirious, visionary transformation. Margarita dies, offering her life to Mariana Pineda’s final lines: “I am freedom.” Her courage, her clarity, and her humanity are passed on to Nuria, her students, and the generations that follow. She sings “I am the source, the fountain from which you drink.” We drink deeply.
Director's and Program Notes
by Jeffrey Buchman
The word “Ainadamar” is Arabic for “fountain of tears,” or “fuente de las lágrimas” in Spanish. It takes us back to a time in Spain when Granada was a thriving cultural center, with Jews, Muslims, and Christians all living together peacefully. But that city has also experienced many dark periods.
Two of those periods are central to Ainadamar. The first is the Granada of Mariana Pineda in the nineteenth century, when she was arrested for embroidering the flag of the first Spanish Republic with its message of “Justice, Liberty, and Equality” and was executed for not revealing her co-conspirators. The other is the period of Spain’s brutal civil war that, in the 1930s, took the country’s treasured poet Federico García Lorca as one of its early victims. Lorca was just one of so many who were arrested and executed with no law or judicial system to protect them. To this day, the precise circumstances around his murder remain a mystery, but what is known is that his being a homosexual, along with his being a strong proponent of freedom, equality, and reform, made him a target.
At the heart of Lorca was a compassionate, empathetic soul who was a champion for giving voice to those who were deprived of one. He said that “being from Granada gives me a sympathetic understanding of those who are persecuted. Of the gypsy, the Black, the Jew . . . of the Moor, whom all Granadinos carry within us.” He referred to the gypsies as “people who had nothing and weren’t even allowed to have their nothing in peace.”
His deep love for the gypsies and their music has been movingly intertwined into the musical tapestry of Ainadamar. Flamenco and Lorca are so profoundly linked that one really can’t exist without the other, and composer Osvaldo Golijov has honored that, creating a deeply moving musical vocabulary that brings Jewish, Christian, and Arabic musical influences together in a powerful homage to both the peaceful beauty and the explosive violence that Granada has witnessed. The beauty of Ainadamar is how it joins Lorca’s legacy to that of Pineda, carrying forward the struggle for justice, liberty, and equality.
In fact, one of the most important messages of Ainadamar might be one of legacy: the legacy of speaking up for those who suffer injustice and inequality in its many forms. This legacy did not begin with Pineda, but it was passed down from her through Lorca to Margarita Xirgu, all of which inspired Golijov and librettist David Henry Hwang to write Ainadamar. And now, we as performers and audience have the opportunity to keep this legacy alive, inspiring future generations to carry on the fight for the most basic of rights, which were embroidered by Mariana Pineda on the flag that cost her life: “Ley, Libertad, Igualdad.”
by Monika Franaszczuk (Ph.D. Musicology Student)
Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar is an opera rich in varied musical styles. The musical language ranges from typical operatic conventions to Iberian, Latin American, and Arabic music and dance forms, and even to electronic sound design. Deftly incorporating musical idioms from a number of different cultures, including flamenco, Afro-Cuban music, and Central American marimba traditions, Golijov builds a truly unique sound world to serve as the backdrop upon which he recounts the last moments of poet-playwright Federico García Lorca, as told through the memories of his friend and muse, Catalan actress Margarita Xirgu.
Among this eclectic collection of styles, it is flamenco that stands out, tinting the whole opera with the vibrant musical color of Spain. Golijov’s unique instrumentation plays a large role in creating this flamenco sound. Among the orchestra are guitars as well as the cajón and palmas that are characteristic of contemporary flamenco music. These instruments are cleverly woven into the orchestral texture. For example, Golijov includes scenes featuring recitative that are all but operatic. However, the accompanying instruments are guitar and cajón, inflecting these narrative passages with an unmistakable flamenco character.
As a folk-art form with music and dance, rhythm is vital to the character of flamenco. This rhythm, or compás, is typically realized on the guitar, using a combination of strumming and hitting the soundboard. This is reinforced by the cajón, palmas, and the taconeo (footwork) of the dancers. Flamenco elements recur throughout the opera, for instance the modal melodies heard in the guitars, vocals, and other instruments of the ensemble. The opening of the opera is a good example, featuring the recorded sounds of a galloping horse, which seamlessly morph into a flamenco pattern that leads into the first balada.
Lorca’s story is one ripe for operatic interpretation. He has become a common figure in the Spanish literary canon, and his poetry and plays are well-known throughout the Spanish-speaking world, including Argentina, where Golijov grew up. The story of Lorca’s life, too, is compelling in its tragedy. It is said that he was shot and killed by Nationalist militia in front of a teardrop-shaped fountain known as Ainadamar, the fountain of tears. Located in the city of Granada, this fountain was, centuries ago, a site that saw the coexistence of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faiths and cultures through the mid-fifteenth century. The name itself being in Arabic is a reminder of this past, before it became a place witness to violence.
The central figure of Ainadamar is Lorca, but interestingly, the original idea for this opera was conceived without including him as a character. Ainadamar saw its premiere at Tanglewood in 2003. The opera was commissioned by the Boston Symphony for soprano Dawn Upshaw, who premiered the role of Margarita Xirgu. This commission was primarily for the female students at Tanglewood, meant to highlight treble voices. As such, initially, Golijov and librettist David Henry Hwang planned to write this opera about Lorca from the perspective of key female figures in his life.
However, this decision soon changed when Golijov saw mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor’s Tanglewood audition tape. In an interview with NPR, Golijov remembers seeing O’Connor’s picture and thinking that she looked strikingly similar to Lorca. And so was born the trouser role of Lorca. This casting decision positions Ainadamar into the long operatic tradition of using trouser roles, and it provides ample opportunities for duets and trios between treble voices. Additionally, it serves to highlight Lorca’s queerness. Although the exact motives behind his execution are disputed, it is theorized that he was targeted for being openly homosexual. As David Hwang has noted, the use of a mezzo-soprano voice for this role is a way to explore constructions of gender within operatic conventions.
Death and legacy are important themes throughout Ainadamar. The narrative is centered around the death of Lorca, one of the first victims of the Spanish Civil War. But we witness this story not as contemporary spectators, but rather through the memory of Xirgu. Lorca has long been gone, but his memory remains. At the start of the opera, we find an older Xirgu in Montevideo, near the end of her life. Reminiscing, she relives her friendship with Lorca and imagines the last hours of his life. In sharing her memories of the poet with her young disciple, Nuria, Xirgu ensures that this legacy endures, from Lorca to Xirgu to Nuria, and further on to future generations.
The first scene of Ainadamar opens with the first lines of Lorca’s play Mariana Pineda, about to be performed by Xirgu in 1969. Lorca’s play draws from history and represents the story of a nineteenth-century woman who was executed for conspiring against the monarchy and refusing to betray her revolutionary companions. In the opera, Pineda’s death strongly parallels Lorca’s own. Both were executed in times of political turmoil, becoming martyr-like figures. Today, both live on in national memory, and they have been immortalized in works like Lorca’s play, and in Golijov’s opera.
Despite the constant looming of death in Ainadamar, Golijov affirms that Lorca’s story is “a call to be alive, even if death is around the corner.” The stories of the characters in this opera transcend their times, representing desires for freedom that remain pertinent even to this day.
This is the second time that Ainadamar has been performed at the Jacobs School of Music. In 2007, the first collegiate performance of the work was realized as a concert version by the Latin American Music Center under the direction of the late Carmen-Helena Téllez. Just as Xirgu passed on Lorca’s legacy to Nuria, who in turn passed it on to others, this production finds many members of the 2007 performance now in faculty and mentor roles, passing on their lessons to the new generation of performers.
Osvaldo Golijov grew up in an Eastern European Jewish household in La Plata, Argentina. Born to a piano-teacher mother and a physician father, Golijov was raised surrounded by classical chamber music, Jewish liturgical and klezmer music, and the new tango of Astor Piazzolla. His blending of genres and seamless integration of voices speak volumes about his approach and style, a musical language that can only be termed “Golijovian.” Since the early 1990s, Golijov has enjoyed collaborations with some of the world’s leading chamber music ensembles, such as the Kronos Quartet and the St. Lawrence String Quartet, in addition to relationships with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, and Robert Spano. In 2000, the premiere of Golijov’s La Pasión según San Marcos (St. Mark Passion) took the music world by storm. The Boston Globe called it “the first indisputably great composition of the 21st century.” Golijov has also received acclaim for other groundbreaking works, such as Ainadamar and the clarinet quintet The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind as well as music for films by Francis Ford Coppola. The 2022-23 season sees a brand-new opera production of Ainadamar, by Olivier Award-winning choreographer and director Deborah Colker, co-produced by Detroit Opera, Opera Ventures, Scottish Opera, Welsh National Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera. The touring production debuted at Scottish Opera in October—marking the work’s Scottish premiere—and travels to Detroit Opera in April, with more performances to be announced. This season, members of the Silkroad Ensemble tour Golijov’s Falling Out of Time. The 80-minute song cycle, based on the novel by David Grossman, was recorded in 2020 and performed at Carnegie Hall in 2022, garnering critical acclaim. Other recent works include Ever Yours for string octet, premiered by the St. Lawrence String Quartet and the Telegraph Quartet, and Um Día Bom for the string quartet Brooklyn Rider. He is currently composing the soundtrack for Coppola’s upcoming film Megalopolis. Golijov served as the Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall during the 2012–13 season. He is composer-in-residence at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he has taught since 1991.
Described by Opera News as “a ninja warrior with a baton” for his performances of Berg’s Wozzeck with Des Moines Metro Opera, David Neely maintains an active conducting career in symphonic, opera, ballet, and educational settings. He is director of orchestral activities at the University of Maryland and has appeared with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Bochumer Symphoniker, and Dortmunder Philharmoniker, among others. He remains a regular guest conductor at the Jacobs School of Music, from which he holds degrees in piano performance and orchestral conducting. As music director and principal conductor of Des Moines Metro Opera, Neely has elevated the company’s musical profile with critically acclaimed performances of a wide range of new and traditional repertoire, including the recent world premiere of Kristin Kuster and Mark Campbell’s A Thousand Acres and the in-person premiere of Damien Geter and Lila Palmer’s American Apollo. He has led productions with Atlanta Opera, Sarasota Opera, Washington National Opera, and numerous European opera houses, including Bonn and Dortmund. His performances have been praised in Opera News, Opera Today, the Chicago Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal. Neely has performed with prominent artists including Ricardo Morales, Joshua Roman, Bella Hristova, Benjamin Beilman, Rainer Honeck, Nicholas Daniel, Delfeayo Marsalis, Ben Lulich, and Phillipe Cuper. He has appeared as a collaborative pianist with numerous singers, including a recent recital with Joyce Castle as well as Schubert’s Winterreise with David Adam Moore. Neely served as a conducting teacher and guest master coach with Washington National Opera’s (WNO) Cafritz Young Artist program and was the conductor for WNO’s American Opera Initiative in 2021. He recently debuted with the Apollo Orchestra in the Washington, D.C area alongside soloist Roberto Diaz and will appear with the National Orchestra Institute in May.
Opera News calls director Jeffrey Buchman “a formidable talent.” Constantly pushing the limits of the performing arts, his versatility leads him to a variety of venues to explore some of opera’s classics, while also constantly premiering new works. His innovation puts him at the forefront of a new era in directing. Last season’s engagements include Il Trovatore for Toledo Opera and a return to Florida Grand Opera for André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Handel’s Agrippina. This season, he will also direct Tosca for Florida Grand Opera. An innovative director, Buchman spends time working on new and groundbreaking material for the contemporary opera world. Some of these endeavors include being artistic director of the dynamic multimedia project “Live Arts” at Grand Rapids Symphony, Andy Vores’ chamber opera No Exit, based on the 1944 existentialist play with the same title, at Florida Grand Opera, and the contemporary multimedia theater project Fairy Tales: Songs of the Dandelion Woman at Little Stage Theater in Miami Beach. Buchman has a long history of fostering the artistic growth of young artists throughout the country. He was resident stage director for Sarasota Opera’s apprentice artist program. His work with Tulsa Opera includes directing productions for its young artist studio, such as The Pirates of Penzance and Luisa Fernanda. From 2005 to 2010, Buchman served as stage director and coach for the opera department of the New World School of the Arts in Miami, where he created new productions of The Magic Flute, Hansel and Gretel, Amelia Goes to the Ball, La Divina, Die Fledermaus, and Così fan tutte.
Born in Barcelona, Spain, Rosa Mercedes is an internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer whose work The New York Times called “sexy and hypnotically precise.” Featured by dance companies, festivals, and symphony orchestras throughout the United States and Europe, her extensive work in opera has been seen on the stages of companies such as the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Seattle Opera, Atlanta Opera, Washington National Opera, Florentine Opera, and numerous others. Mercedes has worked with notable stage directors such as Franco Zeffirelli, Tito Capobianco, Tomer Zvulun, Renata Scotto, Jeffrey Buchman, and Sandra Bernhard on repertoire that includes such works as Aida, La Traviata, Carmen, The Magic Flute, Faust, Rigoletto, Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Giovanni, and many others. In addition to her work as a choreographer, Mercedes has been invited to give master classes and workshops of “Movement for Singers” with young artist programs, universities, and festivals around the world to help singers acquire a better physical vocabulary and understanding of the body as an expressive tool, in any repertoire they sing. She has been hailed by Diario las Américas as “one of the most authentically Spanish artists of this genre that I have seen, both for her movement and for her domination of the dance.” Mercedes was trained in flamenco, escuela bolera, classical Spanish, and regional dance by many of Spain’s great dance masters. As a soloist and principal dancer, she received great critical acclaim performing with numerous companies throughout the United States, Europe, South America, and Canada. She also brings extensive training in ballet, modern, jazz, and historical dance, which has made her a much sought-after choreographer in opera. Highlighted appearances include alongside Audrey Hepburn and Liza Minelli and with Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, and Jose Carreras in the Three Tenors Gala with the Metropolitan Opera. Mercedes serves on several grant panels and is a dance panelist and master teacher for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.
Walter Huff is professor of choral conducting and faculty director of opera choruses at the Jacobs School of Music. He served as chorus master for the Atlanta Opera for more than two decades, leading the renowned ensemble in more than 125 productions, with critical acclaim in the United States and abroad. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music degree from Peabody Conservatory (Johns Hopkins). He studied piano with Sarah Martin, Peter Takács, and Lillian Freundlich, and voice with Flore Wend. After serving as a fellow at Tanglewood Music Center, he received Tanglewood’s C. D. Jackson Master Award for Excellence. Huff served as coach with the Peabody Opera Theatre and Washington Opera and has been musical director for The Atlanta Opera Studio, Georgia State University Opera, and Actor’s Express (Atlanta). He also has worked as chorus master with San Diego Opera. He served on the faculty at Georgia State University for four years as assistant professor, guest lecturer, and conductor for the Georgia State University Choral Society. He has served as chorus master for many IU Jacobs School of Music Opera and Ballet Theater productions, including L’Étoile, It’s a Wonderful Life, Lucia di Lammermoor, West Side Story, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, Dialogues of the Carmelites, The Elixir of Love, Bernstein’s Mass, Le Nozze di Figaro, Parsifal, Suor Angelica, La Traviata, Little Women, The Barber of Seville, Xerxes, La Bohème, The Magic Flute, The Coronation of Poppea, Falstaff, Highway 1, USA, La Rondine, and H.M.S. Pinafore. For five years, Huff has served as choral instructor and conductor for the Jacobs School’s Sacred Music Intensive. He conducted the Jacobs Summer Music series productions of Arthur Honegger’s King David and Stephen Paulus’s The Three Hermits. This past summer, Huff returned for his fourth year as a faculty member at the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute. He also maintains a busy vocal coaching studio in Atlanta.
Gronk (Glugio Nicandro) is one of the most influential and collected Chicano visual artists and performance artists of his generation. Born into a Mexican American family in Los Angeles in 1954, he recalls being heavily influenced as a child by the popular culture imagery he saw on television. In his formative years, he was, and continues to be, inspired by art, music, existentialism, and literature and finds connections with the works of Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Max Beckman, and Samuel Beckett. Although widely collected, Gronk extends awareness of art beyond the walls of established galleries and museums, and his work is often created in public spaces, in a graffiti dynamic that is later painted over. As a visual artist, he works on canvas and screen printing primarily but has also reached into the opera and theater world with commissions from Santa Fe Opera (tonight’s set was purchased from Santa Fe Opera in 2016), Los Angeles Opera, East West Players, and Latino Theater Company. His work can be seen prominently in the Smithsonian American Art Museum and The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture & Industry.
Camille Deering is a native Bostonian in her second year of IU’s M.F.A. costume design program. Her 20-year professional experience led her to the Los Angeles Opera Costume Shop, Boston Lyric Opera, Cape Cod Playhouse, and New York Theatre Workshop. She has also worked for Corelli Costumes and Tricorne Studios as well as Paramount Pictures’ The Stepford Wives, Motionwear, Danskin, and Dansco Dance Costumes.
Mike Schwandt designed his first opera, La Bohème, at the Jacobs School of Music in 1989 as a student under the late Allen R. White. Since then, Schwandt has lit over 120 opera and ballet productions at the Musical Arts Center, most recently, the 2022 production of The Nutcracker. He became resident lighting designer for IU Jacobs School of Music Opera and Ballet Theater in 1999 and remained until 2009.
Kimberly Carballo is senior lecturer in music in chamber and collaborative music and coordinating opera coach for the Opera and Ballet Theater at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She joined the Chamber and Collaborative Music Department in 2016, its inaugural year, and is the departmental liaison with the Jacobs brass faculty.Carballo strongly believes in and practices community engagement locally and globally. She founded and directs Reimagining Opera for Kids, a music community engagement and education program based in Bloomington, Indiana. She participates annually as faculty advisor for the IU portion of the team in the Cheerful Heart Music Education Mission in the Dominican Republic and Haiti and codirects the Jacobs Distance Teaching and Learning Lab, the year-round online teaching program that connects students in the Jacobs School with students in the Loma de Cabrera Escuelita de Música. Carballo has previously worked as the mainstage and young artists’ program coach for the Compañía Lírica Nacional de Costa Rica and as music theory instructor and vocal coach at the Conservatorio Musical de Alajuela, the Escuela de Artes Musicales de la Universidad de Costa Rica, and the Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica. She is a founding member of the Amity Trio, a chamber ensemble with hornist Michael Walker and soprano Katie Dukes. The Amity Trio collaborates with living composers and performs new music as a vehicle for building communication among and reflection on today’s global community, especially as an amplifier for historically excluded voices. The trio released its debut recording, Between Us Now, in April 2022, available on SoundCloud. Carballo also forms part of the inaugural and ongoing team for Tunaweza Kimuziki (Through Music All is Possible), a project promoting exchange among music educators, scholars, and performers in Kenya and the United States. The project involves hundreds of students and educators from both sides of the Atlantic, from primary school through adults. Participants interact through instrumental and vocal coaching lessons, master classes, compositional collaborations, scholarly investigations, and cultural exchanges.
Alfonso Cid was raised in Seville, Spain, the heartland of flamenco music, where his mother and grandfather were his earliest influences. He also frequented one of the most significant flamenco social clubs in Andalusia, the Peña Flamenca Torres-Macarena, where he saw some of the greatest flamenco artists of all time. Now based in New York City, he has had engagements at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, Town Hall, London’s Royal Albert Hall, Sala Covarrubias in Mexico City with dancer Pilar Rioja, and Mexico’s Palacio de Bellas Artes with dancer María Elena Amaya. Cid joined forces with conductor and mandolin virtuoso Tom Cohen as part of the Festival Sefarad in November 2011. He has shared the stage with Judeo-Moroccan singer Rabbi Haim Louk and the Al-Andalus Orchestra of Montreal and toured Israel with the Jerusalem Andalusian Orchestra. He has explored the Arabic roots of flamenco music as a member of the Arabic-Flamenco fusion band New Andalusia directed by Columbia University professor Taoufiq Ben Amor. Cid has toured extensively throughout Latin America, Europe, and the U.S., and appeared at venues such as Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, American Airlines Arena (Miami), Amway Center (Orlando), Staples Center (Los Angeles) with Latin artist Romeo Santos. Cid studied flamenco history, vocal technique, and flamenco repertoire with Paco Taranto, Rocío Márquez, and Elena Morales. He teaches flamenco “cante” (song) at Flamenco Latino Studios. In partnership with Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santa, he produced the 2010 “La Música Flamenca” (“The Flamenco Music”) for the Lincoln Center Institute. He released his first CD, Flamenco de vuelta e ida, in 2006 with his flamenco fusion project Gazpacho Andalú and guitarist Arturo Martínez. The debut album of his Spanish indie rock project Dientes de Caramelo is Pulpo (Octopus). He is a founding member of the jazz-flamenco band New Bojaira; its first album is Zorongo Blu.
From Caracas, Venezuela, Gonzalo Grau’s artistry includes instruments from the viola da gamba and cello to the flamenco cajón and his principal instrument, the piano. His varied credits include performances with Venezuelan music projects, jazz icon Maria Schneider, and Latin jazz giant Timbalaye. He leads two bands of his own: Plural (Latin jazz-flamenco-Venezuelan fusion) and La Clave Secreta (salsa fusion), nominated for the 2008 Grammy in the Best Tropical Album category. As a recording artist, Grau has participated in over 80 productions, bridging both classical and popular music. His most recent projects include the studio recording of Golijov’s La Pasión según San Marcos (2010 ECHO Award), México with Rolando Villazón (2011 ECHO Award), and Nazareno with pianists Katia and Marielle Labeque, all released by Deutsche Grammophon. His achievements include composition collaborations alongside Osvaldo Golijov for Ainadamar and La Pasión según San Marcos. Among original works are the oratorio Aqua, winner of the European Composer Award 2011, commissioned by the Bach Academy International, and Fantasía de Guayaba Habanera, a violin concerto commissioned by Johnny Gandelsman and the Community MusicWorks (premiered May 2013). In 2019, Gonzalo was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals category for his participation on the album Dreamers by Magos Herrera and Brooklyn Rider. He was commissioned in 2020 by the Orchestra of the Americas to write a double concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra to be premiered in 2023 by Johnny Gandelsman and Yo-Yo Ma. He was commissioned in 2021 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Gustavo Dudamel to compose a concerto for Venezuelan cuatro and orchestra, premiered at the Hollywood Bowl in July 2022. He is also arranging and composing for the Boston Pops Orchestra, among others, and producing albums for several artists, including his band, La Clave Secreta.
Andrew Elliot is a makeup artist, wig designer, stylist, and cellist. His design and music work can also be seen and heard with Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, Actors Theatre of Indiana, Phoenix Theatre, Zach & Zack Productions, Summer Stock Stage, and others. As a makeup artist and stylist, his work can be seen locally and nationally in various publications, commercials, billboards, industrials, and editorials. He spent 2020 recreating icons of film, fashion, and theater, which gained national attention, with features in The New York Times, NowThis News, Indianapolis Star, and Indianapolis Monthly.
Haley Strong is an academic specialist in music in audio engineering and sound production at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Strong grew up in southern Indiana and began her career in Owensboro, Kentucky, where she was the assistant technical director and head of sound for the Riverpark Center, a non-profit performing arts center. There, she participated in events ranging from children’s theater to national touring Broadway. She also became involved in working with local performing arts organizations as well as assisting with the development of a multicampus performing arts degree with Brescia College, Kentucky Weslyan College, and Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC). Strong developed multiple workshops to engage students as young as first grade in theater technology and education. She earned an Associate of Arts degree from OCTC as well as multiple certificates in audio and stage technology.
Thomas Frost is a percussionist and multi-instrumentalist performing as both an orchestral musician and drum set artist, as well as being a small-time music producer. Notable collaborations include the artist gloom bug on her album The Ruining Hour (2021), Afro-jazz supergroup Swanglish and its podcast Intercultural Musicianship, and the up-and-coming emo alt-pop artist Gala Maria on her EP Gingham (2023). Most recently, Frost and Paul Skripnik recorded and composed original children’s music with Calliope Pettis, also known as Miss Kalliope, commissioned by the Jefferson County Board of Education (JEFCOED, Alabama). He and Pettis have worked with JEFCOED for two years on its Art Bus, a mobile classroom that travels to multiple Jefferson County Schools that do not have visual art programs. The bus provides students with everything from workstations and a sink to Wi-Fi and TVs. For this project, Calliope and Tom wrote, recorded, and performed six songs to explain mathematical concepts, such as basic measurements, symmetry, and the abstract idea of infinity. Frost earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Montevallo under the tutelage of A. J. Covey and Lauren Teel. He further refined his musicianship at the Jacobs School of Music, where he is a master’s student in percussion performance, studying with Kevin Bobo, Sean Dobbins, Joseph Galvin, Joseph Gramley, and John Tafoya. At Jacobs, Frost became interested in collaborative performance with the Composition Department, specifically contemporary classical composers such as Younje Cho, recipient of the Georgina Joshi Composition Commission Award for his work The Arrow and the Song (2021) and Katie Madonna Lee’s composition for vibraphone and soprano saxophone, Colin and Hazel (recorded 2022), as well as performing in the New Music Ensemble and IU orchestras. Frost is a founding member of the chamber music group Argos Percussion.
Aruban American mezzo-soprano Erin Koolman is a doctoral candidate in the studio of Patricia Stiles. Koolman earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Vocal Performance from Indiana University Pennsylvania in 2012, where she studied under Sarah J. Mantel. In 2015, Koolman graduated from Kansas State University, where she studied with mezzo-soprano Patricia Thompson. Past performances include Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Chicago, Trial by Jury, White Christmas, Hansel and Gretel (Hansel), Dialogues of the Carmelites (Mère Jeanne), La Purpura de la Rosa (Cintia/Celfa), and La Traviata (Annina). Koolman has performed scenes from The Magic Flute (Dritte Dame), Lakmé (Malika), and I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Romeo). Since August 2017, she has served as staff singer for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, where she is often a featured soloist, most notably in J. S. Bach’s St. John Passion and Magnificat, Duruflé’s Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah.
Mezzo-soprano Maya Davis is a class of 2022 graduate of Jackson State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance. There she studied under Phyllis Lewis-Hale and was a National Association of Teachers of Singing Southern Regional Finalist in 2018 and 2019. In her hometown of South Bend, Indiana, she participated in musicals with the South Bend Civic Theater as an ensemble member and soloist. Davis is currently a participant of the LA Opera’s HBCU Career Comprehensive in the class of 2022. As a first-year master’s student at the Jacobs School, she is pursuing her degree in voice performance under the tutelage of Russell Thomas. This is her IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater debut.
From Louisville, Kentucky, bass Theo Harrah is a junior voice performance major studying with Jane Dutton. His previous credits at the Jacobs School of Music include Second Armored Man in The Magic Flute, Dick Deadeye in H.M.S. Pinafore, and Siroco in L’Étoile, as well as the choruses of Falstaff and Highway 1, USA. Outside of Jacobs, he has been seen as Colline in La Bohème and Simone in Gianni Schicchi with the Canto Program.
Bass Noah Lauer performed as Siroco in the IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater production of L’Étoile last fall and as Sarastro in The Magic Flute the previous fall. He also premiered the role of Iorwerth last spring in the New Voices Opera production of Rhiannon’s Condemnation. He has performed with Chamber Opera Chicago as a sailor and soloist in a new musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which toured to the U.K. and Canada; as Charlie in the children’s opera Miracle!; and in the ensemble of Amahl and the Night Visitors. Other performances include Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Grandpa Moss in The Tender Land, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, and The Gondoliers at Luther College, as well as the King in The King and I, Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Captain Keller in The Miracle Worker, Warner in Legally Blonde, and Les Misérables at Theatre Cedar Rapids. Laurer placed second at the National Association of Teachers of Singing Central Regional Competition. He currently studies voice performance with Peter Volpe in his second year of the Master of Music program.
Bennett Spotts is a second-year master’s student in voice studying with Brian Gill. This is his third opera at Jacobs; last year he performed in Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea and Puccini’s La Rondine. Spotts completed his undergraduate studies at Westminster Choir College, where his opera credits included Pandolfe in Massenet’s Cendrillon and Beau in John de los Santos’s Service Provider.
Baritone Shan Ding is originally from China, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. He appeared as Dandini in Rossini’s La Cenerentola as well as in numerous solo concerts and competitions. In 2020, Ding received the Special Jury Prize at the Prokofiev International Music Competition. In 2023, he will participate in the opera studio at the Aspen Summer Music Festival. He is pursuing a master’s degree with Carol Vaness. Ainadamar marks his IU Jacobs Opera Theater debut.
Born and raised in Orlando, Florida, soprano Kathiana Dargenson is pursuing a master’s degree in voice performance under the tutelage of Michelle DeYoung. Dargenson was most recently seen as the soprano soloist in Margaret Bonds’ Ballad of the Brown King in last year’s Chimes of Christmas and sang the role of Marschellin in the Der Rosenkavalier trio in a preconcert show for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. She made her debut with IU Jacobs Opera Theater as Mary in Highway 1, USA and will be in the ensemble of Jacobs’ production of Candide later this season. Other engagements with Opera Theater include the ensembles for Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute. Prior to graduating with a B.A. in Music Studies and Psychology from the University of South Florida, she participated in several summer programs, including the Westchester Summer Vocal Institute, Assisi (Italy) Music and Arts Festival, and Opera Naples Youth Summer Program, where she performed the title role in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience. Dargenson has been featured in a Jacobs Faculty Master Class Series event, where she worked with Jane Dutton and has also sung in master classes with Sherry Overholt, Luis Burkot, Peter Randsman, Tammy Hensrud, and Kyung Kim.
"A name to look for on the posters of the world’s great opera houses in the near future,” soprano Olivia Prendergast is pursuing a Performer Diploma in Voice Performance. At IU Jacobs Opera Theater, she has performed as Romilda in Handel’s Xerxes and as Lisette in Puccini’s La Rondine. Prendergast also recently sang as the soprano soloist in Vesperae solennes de confessore by Mozart and Weihnachts-Historie by Heinruch Schütz. Over the summer, she performed at the Merola Opera Program as First Spirit and Papagena (cover) in its production of The Magic Flute. While in San Francisco, she crooned oldies with Craig Terry and joyfully explored the French repertoire in the Grand Finale Scenes Concert as Juliette from Roméo et Juliette and Frasquita from Carmen. She is an alumna of the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, where she often appeared on the opera theater stage, most notably as Adele in Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, Lisa in David T. Little’s visceral modern opera Dog Days, and Flora in The Turn of the Screw by Benjamin Britten. An avid believer in the beauty of contemporary music, Prendergast was the soloist in Steve Reich’s Tehillim and Shawn Jaeger’s Letters Made with Gold. After Ainadamar, she will perform J. S. Bach’s Cantata 61 with the Bloomington Bach Cantata Project before saying goodbye to Bloomington.
A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Chinese American soprano Jessica Gu earned a bachelor’s degree in voice performance from the Eastman School of Music. With Eastman Opera Theater, she performed the title role of Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice. In 2018, she participated in the master class of contralto Mira Zakai, and in 2020, she participated in coloratura soprano Tracy Dahl’s master class. Gu won second place in the District Region Washington, D.C., Water Cube Cup Competition and was awarded the Maryland Lyric Opera Prize in 2021. In addition to the role of La Fée in Cendrillon, previous credits also include the “Quel guardo il cavaliere” aria and duet scene from the role of Norina in Don Pasquale in Heidi Grant Murphy’s Opera Workshop, and the chorus of Chabrier’s L’Étoile. She is pursuing a master’s degree in voice at with Patricia Stiles.
Soprano Ginaia Black is a first-year Performer Diploma student under the tutelage of Russell Thomas. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University, where she studied voice under Phyllis Lewis-Hale. During her time there, she won first place in the Mississippi Music Teachers Association Competition. Her previous roles include Mimi and Musetta in La Bohème and Dorine in Tartuffe for Lewis-Hale’s Opera Workshop. She also sang in Mississippi Opera’s productions of La Bohème and Treemonisha. In concert, she has sung the soprano solos in Handel’s Messiah and Fauré’s Requiem. Ainadamar marks her debut with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater.
Conner McWhirter is a first-year Performer Diploma student under Michelle DeYoung. Upcoming roles include the Prince in Russalka in Luke Housner’s LAHSOW Opera Workshop (Houston), Mauritzio in Adriana Leocuvreur and Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi in Carol Vaness’s Opera Workshop, and the opera gala at Opernfest Prague in Smetena Hall with the festival orchestra. Past engagements include the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto and Gherardo from Gianni Schicchi with the Mediterranean Opera Festival, Pong in Turandot with Carol Vaness’s Opera Workshop, and Giles Corey in The Crucible at Southern Methodist University (SMU) Opera and Thaddeus Stevens in Mother of Us All with the Rochester Philharmonic. He earned an M.M. under Clifton Forbis at SMU and a B.M. with Jan Opalach at Eastman, also studying with Richard Owens at Rollins College.
Tenor Gavin Hughes is a native of Jackson, Mississippi, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal music education at Jackson State University. There, he marched in the Sonic Boom of the South as the head drum major and became a member of the Pi Nu Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia of America. In 2017, Hughes sang the role of Cephus with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra in a semi-staged production of Scott Joplin’s opera Treemonisha. In 2018, he was granted the Aspiring Artist Award from the Mississippi Jazz Foundation. In 2020, he released his debut gospel single, “You Always Win,” on his birthday, September 9. In September 2021, he debuted his first lead opera role, as Tamino in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with IU Jacobs Opera Theater. In January 2022, he made his Buskirk-Chumley Theater debut, singing Bernstein’s “A Simple Song” in a Martin Luther King celebration. In November 2022, Hughes was featured in a benefit concert that debuted the new opera company Opera Unique at Jackson State University. His repertoire encompasses works extending from the lyrical elegance of Mozart to the fiery agility of Rossini. Hughes is pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance degree in the studio of Russell Thomas.
From the Mexican American border city of Laredo, Texas, tenor Martín Ramírez Jr. is in the first year of pursuing a master’s degree under Michelle DeYoung and a certificate in vocology. This role is his debut with IU Jacobs Opera Theater. He earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance and a minor in opera at Texas State University, where he studied with Daveda Karanas. Previous voice teachers also include Dana Crabtree at Texas A&M International University. Ramírez has appeared in performances including theater and musicals and is now dedicated full time to opera. Previous operatic roles include Monostatos and covering Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Ramón in Rodríguez’s La Curandera, Le Doyen in Gounod’s Cendrillon (cancelled due to COVID), and, most recently, Don Octave in Schickele’s The Stoned Guest. At Jacobs, he sang with NOTUS last semester and looks forward to his first master’s recital this semester. He is also a choral scholar singing at Trinity Episcopal Church.