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Subject: Spanish opera- Marina
From: Juan Dzazopulos <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sat, 23 Dec 2017 17:38:01 -0300

text/plain (267 lines)

I wonder why nobody has mentioned what I consider if not the best at 
least the better known Spanish opera of all times. I refer to "Marina" 
by Emilio Arrieta.
"Marina" had its premiere as a zarzuela in 1855 but was later changed 
into an opera and as such had its premiere at the Teatro Real de 
Madrid in 1871. It was the first opera ever presented there in Spanish 
language. The leading tenor role was sung by the Italian tenor Enrico 
Tamberlik (1820-1889).
"Marina" has been recorded in selections or complete 11 times and it 
can be also found in at least 5 DVDs. It is a difficult opera and has 
been a challenge for most Spanish tenors (in brackets the recording 
year): José Palet (1916), Miguel Fleta (1926), Hipólito Lázaro (1930), 
Fernando Bañó Ferrnado (1954), Alfrdo Kraus (twice, 1965 and 1998), 
Bernabé Martí (1966) and Jaime Aragall (1967).

My favorite recording is that of 1930 for Spanish Columbia, with an 
"all stars" cast: Hipólito Lázaro (Jorge), Mercedes Capsir (Marina), 
Marcos Redondo (Roque) and José Mardones (Pascual).
It has been transferred to LP,  and later to  CD, at least by three 
different companies (Aria Recordings; Blue Moon and Symposium. I 
recommend without reservations the last one, if you can find it.

If you want to know what other Spanish works (zarzuelas/operas) are my 
favorite, after "Marina", this is the list: Luisa Fernanda, Doña 
Francisquita, Los Gavilanes, La Dolores, La Verbena de la Paloma, La 
Rosa del Azafrán, La Leyenda del Beso, La Dolorosa (not to be confused 
with La Dolores), La Canción del Olvido, Maruxa, Las Golondrinas and 
those composed by Pablo Sorozábal: La Tabernera del Puerto, La del 
Manojo de Rosas, Black el Payaso,La Isla de las Perlas and  Don 

A happy and peaceful Christmas for you all,


El Sat, 23 Dec 2017 17:16:02 +0000
  "ls111553 ." <[log in to unmask]> escribió:

> Although I'm not big a zarzuela enthusiast, I do enjoy many 
> tunes, like the prelude to Bretón's La Dolores, which to me has 
>always been
> "the mother of all jotas". But there is a handful of works that I 
>love but
> which seldom "export" well, as they rely on a more than passing 
> with their regional context and performers to whom this comes 
>naturally in
> order to "speak" to their audiences. The same can be said of 
> operettas and such. We may enjoy what we hear, but some key elements 
> style and background not always go beyond passport check. It is a 
>joy to
> experience El rey que rabió, Gigantes y cabezudos, the very 
> Las Leandras (is there a "catchier" tune than Los nardos?) in 
>Madrid, with
> a cast that "gets" it right. That said, whenever a "Domingoish" 
> breaks into "No puede ser" as an encore, I head straight to the 
> lot, muttering exactly those words with a couple of "regional"
> embellishments added.
> Ah, the WNO upper-crusty set! Recently, at Kennedy Center, I was 
> to someone who turned out to be a very agreeable person, but whose 
> line of conversation (right after "pleased to meet you") was "I grew 
>up in
> Ecuador, but my father did not allow us to learn any Spanish. Only 
> and German". I suppose he didn't mean anything unpleasant, but the 
> statement was kind of a shaker. Anyway, a quick look at the names 
>listed as
> main donors on the WNO program, may have given the lady you mention 
>an idea
> of how many "maids" make it possible for her to listen to opera in
> "civilized" languages... while reading surtitles!
> On Wed, Dec 20, 2017 at 4:36 PM Alain Letort <[log in to unmask]> 
>> Dear Idia and List:
>> I don’t know whether Idia’s definition of “Spanish opera” includes
>> “zarzuelas.”  I am
>> assuming that it does, because the vast majority of of Spanish 
>> theatre pieces
>> consists of “zarzuelas,” which, like French “opéra-comiques,” 
>> quite a bit of spoken
>> dialogue.  As Wikipedia puts it, “early [Spanish] operas, however, 
>> to catch the
>> imagination of the Spanish public. It was not until the increasing
>> popularity of such genres
>> as ballad opera and opéra-comique that opera in Spain started to 
>> momentum, since
>> the use of speech in the vernacular inevitably encouraged Spanish
>> composers to develop
>> their own national style of opera: zarzuela.”
>> Some twenty years ago, at the urging of Plácido Domingo, who was its
>> Artistic Director at
>> the time, The Washington Opera staged a couple of zarzuelas, in 
>>which I
>> was privileged to
>> be a super : “El Gato Montés” by Manuel Penella and “Doña 
>>Francisquita” by
>> Amedeo Vives.
>> Wikipedia actually classifies a“El Gato Montés” as an opera, but 
>> and TWO referrred
>> to it as a zarzuela, so who knows. A few years ago I saw a 
>>performance of
>> the zarzuela
>> “Luisa Fernanda” by Federico Moreno Torroba at the beautiful Palacio 
>> Bellas Artes in
>> Mexico City (the opera house boasts a terrific stained-glass stage 
>> by Louis Comfort
>> Tiffany, which I believe is the only one of its kind in the world.)
>> “El Gato Montés” includes the world-famous “paso doble” which in the
>> popular imagination
>> is always invariably linked to bullfights.  It can be heard at
>> .  A full performance of 
>> Francisquita” (Gran Teatro del Liceo, Barcelona, 1987, with Alfredo 
>> can be seen at
>> I enjoyed all three of these zarzuelas/opera tremendously.  Of the 
>> I liked “Doña
>> Francisquita” best on account of the smashing tunes and gay (as in 
>> and colorful
>> dancing numbers it was filled with.  I actually was given a couple 
>> spoken lines in it on
>> account of my skill in foreign languages, so I was actually paid as 
>> artist (as opposed to
>> super) and had to join AGMA (the American Guild of Musical Artists) 
>> order to be allowed
>> to fill the position.  I am still a paid-up member of AGMA and that
>> membership card is one
>> of my proudest possessions.
>> In my view, all three of these works provide a far more enjoyable 
>> of musical
>> theatre than all the “Dead Man Walkings” and “Death of Klinghoffers” 
>> opera managers
>> insist on shoving down our throats.
>> This view, unfortunately, was not shared by most TWO (Washington 
>> subscribers,
>> many of whom bitterly complained to TWO management (I understand 
>> people actually
>> cancelled their subscriptions).  “Doña Francisquita,” in particular, 
>> in for particular
>> invective and abuse  because many people felt there was far too much
>> Spanish dialogue
>> (even though there were surtitles).
>> I also feel there was an undercurrent of racism underpinning some of 
>> criticism.  As one
>> bejeweled and becoiffed matron told me at a social function, “I 
>>don’t pay
>> all that money to
>> listen to a third-class opera in my maid’s language.”  I heard other
>> similar comments from
>> subscribers.
>> Why is it that so many English speakers have such a negative view of
>> Spain, a beautiful
>> country of warm, artistic people with a great culture ?  The Spanish
>> Inquisition was
>> centuries ago, and Spain has been a democracy for 50 years now.
>> I guess the TWO Board listened to the criticism because I do not 
>> that any zarzuela
>> was ever performed by TWO/WNO after “Doña Francisquita.”
>> I hope the above is responsive to Idia’s question.
>> Cheers and all the best,
>> Alain
>> Alain Letort
>> Washington, D.C.
>> Des Ungeheuers Höhle
>> =====================================================
>> On Wed, 20 Dec 2017 12:18:11 -0500, Idia Legray 
>><[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>> >I know there are some wonderful Spanish composers and a few fine 
>> >as well but why is there such a dearth of  top 10 popular operas by
>> Spanish
>> >composers and performances in major venues?
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