Manuel Penella composes Don Gil de Alcalá in 1932. Wrote the music and the libretto, inspired by the entanglement novels of Valle-Inclán and Jacinto Benavente. But his greatest encouragement was found in the play "The Yes of the Girls", by Leandro Fernandez de Moratin.
Until then, the Spanish music scene was characterized by the variety of musical typologies: skits, zarzuelas or magazines, among others. But from 1910 a certain decline of the small genre begins and zarzuelas in two acts begin to triumph, in the style of Viennese operetta, and with a larger structure, similar to comic opera.
The result is an opera in three acts., whose scene Penella placed in eighteenth-century Mexico, when it still belonged to New Spain. The author knew well the South American countries, and wanted with this work to pay a heartfelt tribute to the places he had traveled, thanks to his adventurous spirit.
Underlying the work is a criticism of the arranged marriages that took place at the time and, through a funny mess, raises the celebration of an unequal marriage, between a lady and a court ruffian, that it was not well seen by the upper classes to which the young woman belonged. All with a plot development very close to opera buffa, made with great ingenuity and with a well delineated and refined musical writing.
In this return of Son Gil de Alcalá to the Teatro de la Zarzuela, the orchestral direction was carried out by the assistant director Lara Diloy, due to indisposition of the owner Lucas Macías.
The young Lara Diloy is one of the few Spanish conductors on the current circuit and has extensive knowledge of the symphonic and operatic repertoire, as was well demonstrated in this representation. Always outstanding singers, he knew how to impress the orchestra with the verve and spark that characterizes this work. You could appreciate the delicate nuances in the orchestration of a classically inspired score, how is this. Diloy performed at the head of the Orchestra of the Community of Madrid, that security that is only the result of work and talent. We will have to follow her closely.
The scenery comes from the Campoamor Theater in Oviedo, where it was performed in 2017. It is a single room to which elements are added that create the different environments, always colonial and always elegant, as usual in their directors, Emilio Sagi and Daniel Bianco, and that they are already a house brand, such as the lamps or the perfect arrangement on the stage of all the participants. Exquisite also the wardrobe of the remembered Pepa Ojanguren. All enhanced by the impeccable and romantic lighting of Eduardo Bravo.
The group of singers is made up of two high-quality casts. In this first one, the Canarian tenor Celso Albelo is in charge of giving life to the protagonist, Don Gil de Alcalá. He does it with the musicality of his beautiful song line, imprinting the character with modest humor, Albelo is capable of much more in the interpretative facet. Where he did not save efforts was in the vocal part. That timbre that caresses and the richness of vocal nuances.
Beside, as Star Girl, the soprano Sabina Puértolas, which represents a sparkling, as well as innocent, Don Diego's fiancee, although in love with Don Gil. Well in the habanera duet with Maya, but he lacked expressiveness in other important moments of his performance.
Carol Garcia brought Maya to life, Stargirl's maid, who composed a fun and carefree character. He stood out brilliantly in his duet habanera with Sabina Puértolas and was the ideal couple, vocally and in interpretative, of the Chamaco of Carlos Cosías, which rounded off a magnificent performance, full of grace and liveliness.
The Don Diego of the baritone Manuel Esteve was very well defined, both on your singing line, as in the character of the character, arrogant and formal.
Sergeant Carrasquilla has been played by Simón Orfila. He was the most likeable character in the cast and the most celebrated by the public in his sharp interventions as a Sevillian rogue..
As Mother Abbess, María José Suárez, a regular in this scenario that always adds value.
The rest of the comprimarios were at a good level, with Miguel Sola at the head, as governor; Pablo Lopez, as Viceroy of New Spain; David Sanchez, in the role of Masterful Father; Ricardo Muniz, as master of ceremonies; and the members of the cone, Paula Alonso and Rosa Maria Gutierrez, as Lucia and Rosita, respectively.
A Don Gil from Alcalá, who has returned to the Teatro de la Zarzuela 23 years later and that is always in fashion. With that picaresque Spanish of other times. O no ...