Opera meets flamenco in the Detroit Opera’s high-energy performance of Osvaldo Golijov’s “Ainadamar,” which translates to “Fountain of Tears.” The production, which runs through April 16, blends flamenco, rumba rhythms and classical operatic singing to tell the revolutionary life story of Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, whose political outlook and sexual orientation as a gay man led to his tragic death during the Spanish Civil War.
“Detroit Performs: Live from Marygrove” host and One Detroit contributor Satori Shakoor sat down with mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack, who plays Lorca, to talk about the “Fountain of Tears” production and its relevance today.
They talk about how Mack prepares to step into the shoes of the world-famous author, poet and playwright Federico Lorca, which songs excite and inspire her most while performing, and how the story continues to resonate with issues in society today. Plus, stick around until the end to see a preview of the performance.
Satori Shakoor, @satori_10: I want to welcome Daniela Mack, who plays Lorca in the opera Ainadamar. Welcome.
Daniela Mack, Federico Garcia Lorca, “Fountain of Tears”: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.
Satori Shakoor: How do you prepare for your role? And you’re playing a man, Is that what I understand?
Daniela Mack: I am. This is a trouser role, which is what we call it in opera, or a 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. It’s something that’s not entirely out of my wheelhouse. For this, you know, Lorca was 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.
Satori Shakoor: Yes. And as an artist, how do you approach your role?
Daniela Mack: 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.
Satori Shakoor: How does this particular opera, how does it relate to today? And why is this story important to share?
Daniela Mack: 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 the 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. Art exists for art’s sake, but also to create awareness. And I think this piece absolutely does.
Satori Shakoor: What songs, in particular, energize you, drive you, inspire you in the piece?
Daniela Mack: 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 inherent in the music, but also in this production. And it’s very heavily influenced by flamenco, and so, 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 going to walk out of the theater humming a tune because it’s very melodic and it’s very easily accessible in that way.
Satori Shakoor: Well, thank you, Daniela Mack.
Daniela Mack: Thank you very much.
Satori Shakoor: Who plays the role of Lorca. We can’t wait to see it.
Daniela Mack: Thank you.
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