The Sunday Opera: "Amaya," a Basque Opera by Jesus Guridi

Apr 11, 2019

A Basque opera?  We’ll have one on this week’s Sunday Opera (4/14 3:00 p.m.) as we turn to Jesus Guridi’s “Amaya.”  Guridi (1886 – 1961) played an important role as a Spanish / Basque composer who wrote operas and zarzuelas as well as orchestral, piano, choral, and organ works.  “Amaya” deals with several conflicts on which hangs the future of the Basque people in the 8th century.  Christianity is threatening the old religion, the Moors are invading Spain, and Amaya has to choose between the love of a Christian invader and that of a long-time Basque admirer.  She does, with tragic consequences.  

The performance is sung in the Basque dialect, and the cast includes Rebecca Copley, Marianne Cornetti, Itxaro Mentxaka, Cesar Hernandez, and Rosendo Flores.   Theo Alcantara conducts the Bilbao Choral Society and Symphony Orchestra.  Michael Kownacky has more music of Guridi planned for after the opera including the Sinfonica Pirenaica (Pyrenean Symphony) and the String Quartet in A minor.