Golijov opera at CSO

Catching up here on a few concerts I’ve seen over the last week. Last Thursday (Feb. 7) was one of my rare (too rare) visits to Orchestra Hall for a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert. The CSO was performing an “opera” – sort of – by one of my favorite living composers, Osvaldo Golijov, who is the CSO’s composer in residence. And one of my favorite classical singers, Dawn Upshaw, was performing. (I’ve been a big fan of hers ever since hearing that classical best-seller, Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3.) I put opera in quote marks because this piece, “Aindamar: Fountain of Tears,” felt almost more like an oratorio, or some cross between opera and symphony. As far as the story goes, it’s more impressionistic and poetic than plot-driven. The piece was notable for its use of prerecorded sounds, including gun shots, which transform into a percussion pattern. At moments, “Ainadamar” almost sounded like an opera with touches of laptronica. Upshaw and the other singers (Jessica Rivera and Kelly O’Connor, who sang the male role of Lorca with her rich voice) sounded magnificent. It was great to see Golijov walk up onto the stage from a seat in the audience during the applause at the end.

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