The Zarzuela Theater recovers the opera 'Farinelli' 118 years after its premiere

Guillermo García Calvo

He Teatro de la Zarzuela meets one essential work in the preservation, Recovery, revision Y diffusion of our operatic heritage, so they require their statutes and strict compliance by the Coliseum season to season. Hence the programming of ‘Farinelli’, opera Tomas Breton in a prologue and three acts, be one of the titles of 2019/2020 expected with singular and nervous expectation. With libretto by the precocious Sevillian writer, Academic of the Language (also politician and great speaker) Juan Antonio Cavestany, the score of who in the words of the illustrious professor Emilio Casares, "He is probably the best opera composer in our history" is a "kind of fusion" in which wagnerism coexist, “verismo”, French opera and historicism. It premiered on 14 May 1902 in the gigantic new Teatro Lírico in Madrid (the biggest the city has ever had), capable 2.900 spectators and "almost perfect" visibility, erected on Marqués de la Ensenada street and directed by Ruperto Chapí, in what was intended to be a major project in defense and promotion of Spanish opera in clear dispute with other theaters that showed their open rejection of the lyric composed behind closed doors. For this reason, Saturday 15 Y Monday 17 February (both at 20:00) will be two necessarily important dates for our lyrics. The play, of which there is no recording, hence the relevance of the record to be carried out by Radio Clásica for broadcast in the near future, will be heard again more than a century after your last audition. Will be on concert version and with free adaptation of the renowned playwright María Velasco. Brand new music, well, to our ears the XXI century.

‘Farinelli’ was the victim of the same apathy as others near 700 operas composed in Spain and condemned to the deepest of oblivions. And it's funny, as Casares remembers, that dozens of them were "applauded by the demanding public of the eight hundred". The effervescence of opera as one of the favorite genres in Spain, culminate in both first decades of the new century (the XX) with the premiere, in that period, of over 100 Spanish operas. Nothing less.

The two concerts that now do justice to 'Farinelli' (one of the eight great operas composed by Breton among the more than 140 works that make up its catalog, some as universal as 'Verbena Paloma' O ‘La Dolores’) will be led by Guillermo García Calvo, musical director of the Teatro de la Zarzuela from the past 1 from January, and musical director general of the century German Opera of Chemnitz and his orchestra -the Robert Schumann Philharmonie- since 2017 Y one of the most outstanding Spanish masters and sought after in Europe. García Calvo, to the front of the Titular Orchestra of the Teatro, the ORCAM, must undertake the melodic inspiration, the demanding vocal writing and the solvent orchestral and choral speech which build stately structure 'Farinelli, and it is no wonder if you consider that, plus a portentous violinist, Breton was a Grand conductor.

The numerous and intense choral passages is another of the peculiarities of this opera. "It is not excessive to point out that we have a choral work", warns Emilio Casares, arguing it with an incontestable fact: "Of the twenty-six scenes that make up, only six missing the choir. " It is this, so, a good opportunity for the showcasing of the Holder Choir Teatro de la Zarzuela under the direction of Antonio Fauró.

Likewise, to mitigate these difficulties, the orchestra and the chorus must necessarily involve voices first row. And that's what Theater Zarzuela met for this new and historical coming-out 'Farinelli'.

the mezzosoprano Maite Beaumont will play the role of Farinelli (Carlo Broschi) who falls to despair Beatrice (alter ego in the work of the singer in the mid-eighteenth Elena Pieri), Also sung by mezzo Nancy Fabiola Herrera, who deserves in this infatuation. Both must be separated. Farinelli travels to Spain while Beatriz remains in Italy. both suffer, first separation and then the difficult reunion, in whose outcome is of particular prominence Jorge, Father de Farinelli, baritone whose skin gets Hispanic-Brazilian Rodrigo Esteves. This Beatrice reveals the real reason for the rejection that since arriving in Spain suffers from the tormented Farinelli: She is also his daughter, and therefore, sister Farinelli. And as dejection and entangling, several of the nicest moments of the plot starring the character of Dr., who gives life baritone David Menendez.

Support for young singers

At this point, we must refer to two of the surprises in store for the public, and highlights the strong commitment of the Teatro de la Zarzuela in discovering and supporting young performers: From one side, Mexican tenor Leonardo Sánchez, the youngest artist of the International Opernstudio of the Zurich Opera House and won three different awards ('First place', 'Youth Revelation' and 'Special') in the 34th edition of the Carlo Morelli Singing Competition, the lyrical song contest important in Mexico; Alberto Sánchez plays, Farinelli friend who brings Beatriz to Spain and ending with her espousing anguish of the singer. On the other hand, the surprise will come riding the deep voice Manuel Fuentes, which recently was tricampeón of the VII International Singing Competition Alfredo Kraus (first prize, award and the public award for the best singer of Spanish nationality), besides being won two major awards in the first edition of the International Competition Lyrical Alicante. Sources assume the role of bandleader.

The story flows like a river in the literature of Maria Velasco, and will be the veteran actor Emilio Gutiérrez Caba who among the musical numbers exercised narrator of events; definitely an added incentive this happy recovery.

photo by © david Bohmann photography