One more thought on Ainadamar: The opera opens with a fairly long overture, much of which is electronic. In this production, the cast walks onstage and into position in half light, the lights go down, and the overture starts. There is no movement until the singing starts four or five minutes later.
In the previous production, I had a big dance solo during the overture. The dance itself wasn’t hard, and Osvaldo loved it. It was through this dance that I first discovered “duende,” although I didn’t know it at the time. The trouble was, the electronics in the overture are rhythmic yet formless, lacking a definite beat (in a dancer’s sense, anyway). It starts with countinuous sounds – running water, galloping hoofbeats, echoing trumpets – overlapping and finally being taken over by the clack of an intense flamenco rhythm. After making my way on stage (wearing my giant figurative horsehead mask), I vamped a menacing crouch step while waiting for the first rimshot to break through the atmospherice sounds of the electronic tape. On that sound, I had to start my dance, which moved forward – again with no clear beats – like a runaway horse, if you will. (Ouch.) My heart, which was already pounding with adrenaline, jumped out of my chest every night, helping to propel me forward.
So imagine my body’s reaction when I heard the overture again. Standing still, in the dark, my heart leaped again at that all-too-familiar rimshot. I had to laugh! Even now, having heard the overture five or six times with the new staging, my body remembers the moves and wants to dance.