Luisa Fernanda, or the indomitable desire to fight for beauty
Luisa Fernanda
Federico Moreno Torroba
record: Federico Romero and Guillermo Fernandez-Shaw
Yeatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid, 28 of January of 2021
D. musical: Karel Mark Chichon
D. scene: Davide Livermore
Scenography: Giò Forma
Locker room: Mariana Fracasso
Lighting: Antonio Castro
Choreography: Nuria Castejón
audiovisual design: Pedro Chamizo
D. choir: Antonio Fauró
Titular Orchestra and Choir of the Teatro de la Zarzuela
interpreters: Yolanda Auyanet, Juan Jesus Rodriguez, Rocío Ignacio, Jorge de León, María José Suárez, Nuria García-Arrés, Emilio Sánchez, Antonio Torres, Didier Otaola, Rafael Delgado, Cesar Dieguez, Julia Barbosa and Román Fernández-Cañadas.
He 30 April 2020 the premiere was scheduled at the Teatro de la Zarzuela by Luisa Fernanda. But like so many things in those days, Luisa Fernanda was postponed, that not suspended. Now it comes back to a Madrid whipped, but brave, in that "indomitable desire to fight for beauty". Released in Madrid in 1932, It is one of the most popular and widely accepted zarzuelas. One of those works that could be represented in any theater in the world and that is at the level of any work in the Italian repertoire.

This time, the Teatro de la Zarzuela, following his desire to internationalize the genre, wanted to have as musical and stage directors the British Karel Mark Chichon and the Italian Davide Livermore, respectively. It is one more way of approaching the zarzuela without prejudice and showing other visions of seeing and feeling our lyrics.
It is the first complete zarzuela that Chichon faces, a deep connoisseur of our lyrical repertoire who, with his wife, the mezzo-soprano Elina Garança, show their affection for this genre by playing it around the world.

Davide Livermore's knowledge of the zarzuela is more recent, dates back to his time as mayor at the Palau de Les Arts. Approaches the genre with deep respect for its principles, but with little success when choosing the elements that star in the scene. I don't know why many set designers insist on making everything turn, even, too. Apart from almost projecting poor Luisa Fernanda in one of the scenic turns, It is dizzy and distracts from the scene.
A Livermore, who likes good-sized stage elements, he got a bit out of hand with the good reproduction he has made of the façade of the Cine Doré. Luckily the corps de ballet, the choir and the singers, they had a good direction of actors and well learned the staging. It wasn't easy at all, especially in some moments, move around a stage full of traps and in constant movement.
The idea of ​​the cinematograph and the projection was very romantic, like a movie, of different scenes of the protagonists and others of the time. And, Besides, the projections would have been consistent with each other, the result would have been brilliant. More successful was the scene of the vareadores, with a well-drawn meadow of Extremadura.
Definitely, an exaggerated scenography that looked like a collection of elements from different works, all of them from different times. What comes to be a scenography of use.

The Orchestra of the Theater, at the command of Chichon, rang with great dignity, somewhat slow at times, but with chasticism and color. Very meritorious for a pit formed by barely 23 teachers for pandemic issues.
The same occurs with a choir reduced to five male voices and five female voices.. The mask did not prevent a magnificent performance, with some small initial mismatch, and the recognition of the efforts of all these professionals who are part of the Teatro de la Zarzuela.

The work of the musical and stage director was always supported by the theatrical capacity of a good cast of actors / singers on stage..

The character of Vidal was played by Juan Jesús Rodríguez. Before the beginning of the work, it was reported that his vocal loss caused by laryngitis. His performance was very commendable, but their difficulties were noticeable, especially in renouncing the higher registers.

Luisa Fernanda was in charge of Yolanda Auyanet, that a good recitative was marked out, prior to their musical numbers. As Livermore says, "Recitatives are not a break while waiting for the musical number, they have to be well supported by a good actress ". This is the case of Auyanet, that shone in the interpretation supported by a good declamation. His voice has lost some agility, but retains a powerful center and exquisite taste in phrasing.

We are going to end up catching a mania for Jorge de León for the villainy of many of his characters. It must be by nailing them in the interpretation. Start with the romance "From this peaceful corner of Madrid", without having barely entered the matter, may be a hamdicap. De León started something out of temper to get in tune with the progress of the work. Its emission is clean and powerful, but their singing is unnatural and with engolado sounds.

The Countess Carolina was well interpreted by Rocío Ignacio. He knew how to give the point of frivolity and sophistication that this character requires. He has a powerful voice and good highs, but its excessive vibrato prevents good diction.

Maria Jose Suarez, in the role of Marisa, it's always a guarantee on stage. His stage presence and acting capacity always put that necessary histrionic point in each representation.
The rest of comprimarios were at a good level. Highlight especially the revolutionary Luis Nogales, by Antonio Torres and veteran Emilio Sánchez, as Don Florito.

A night of zarzuela that rescues us from reality. Always in fear of a last minute suspension, but always maintaining this exercise of resistance in the face of reality. But beware!, that this theater is as real as everything else.

Teatro de la Zarzuela

In accordance with the guidelines of the Order of the Community of Madrid that in view of the situation of the pandemic establishes the curfew at 10:00 p.m., between 25 January 6 February he start of functions programmed in the Teatro de la Zarzuela will go ahead at 7:00 p.m..

Functions Sundays do not suffer any alteration and their start is held at 6:00 p.m..


Monday 25 from January


Thursday 28, Friday 29, Saturday 30 January and Wednesday 3, Thursday 4, Friday 5 and saturday 6 February


Tuesday 2 February


Luisa Fernanda

With 'Luisa Fernanda' come back to Teatro de la Zarzuela a classic of Spanish and American lyrical stages. And this time it does unique and special. The genre of zarzuela should not aspire to be locked in the golden cage of "the Spanish", as an exotic lure for the public and foreign artists, but for quality, by relevance and by mere common sense, must aspire to "the universal". For this reason it is a unique occasion that at the helm of this new ship driven by the Teatro de la Zarzuela, be nothing less than the Italian Davide Livermore –Now one of the most sought-after and acclaimed directors in the most important opera houses in the world and responsible for the opening of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan in the last two seasons–, and the British Master Karel Mark Chichon, great connoisseur, lover and tireless diffuser of Spanish music. Both make the composer's masterpiece Federico Moreno Torroba and librettists Federico Romero Y Guillermo Fernández-Shaw in a surprising and exciting theater show through its intrinsic theatrical and musical language, presented to the public as a compact whole.

He Teatro de la Zarzuela will offer 14 functions, between 28 January 14 February, this total musical show around one of the greatest creations in the repertoire, defined by Livermore as “a work of art of Spanish culture and universal culture”. He film director Turinés affirms that ‘Luisa Fernanda’ “has a score that always reaches the heart of the public, and both before and now and in fifty or a hundred years, the musical beauty of this work has had, it has and will have a special attraction for all of us who come to it. "

Meanwhile, he Maestro Karel Mark Chichon, who for the first time directs a zarzuela production on this stage, maintains that ‘Luisa Fernanda’ is “the last great romantic zarzuela, and it owes much to the masterpieces of the zarzuela grande and the small genre that preceded it. " To this he adds that musically it is one of the best examples of the traditionalism with which Moreno Torroba identified so much., "Combining the grace and color of Spanish music with the elegant Viennese comedy and the verismo of Italian opera." What turns the work into a zarzuela “by memorable melodies with unerring theatrical flair.”

Chichon, which will be in front of the Titular Orchestra of the Teatro de la Zarzuela -Orchestra of the Community of Madrid-, of the Titular Choir of the Theater of La Zarzuela and of two extraordinary distributions, will alternate on the podium of the pit with the Master David Gomez Ramirez who will direct the functions of the days 3, 4 Y 5 February.

The value of the deals

The two distributions that participate in this new and long-awaited presentation of ‘Luisa Fernanda’ -that was going to premiere on 30 April 2020 and that had to be postponed due to the pandemic and the consequent confinement- they are made up of especially skilled singers, energetic, effective, demanding, intense and balanced. Qualifiers that are only a small part of its virtues.

Luisa Fernanda, the daughter of a retired civil servant who keeps Javier Moreno absent, that young military man, former innkeeper and now promoted to colonel, will be performed by the sopranos Yolanda Auyanet (Luisa Fernanda par excellence) Y Maite Alberola. On the other hand, is Vidal Hernando, a rich Extremaduran farmer who disputes Luisa Fernanda's love with Javier, to whom the baritones will give life Juan Jesus Rodriguez (Vidal par excellence) Y Javier Franco. Duchess Carolina, that beautiful and persuasive young woman, will be embodied by the sopranos Rocío Ignacio Y Leonor Bonilla. And the role of Javier Moreno, that since he rose in rank he has neglected his girlfriend Luisa, the tenors will assume it Jorge de León Y Alejandro del Cerro.

Rounding out the cast María José Suárez Y Nuria García-Arrés as Mariana and Rosita, Emilio Sánchez Y Antonio Torres, like don Florito and Luis Nogales, Didier Otaola as Aníbal; actors Rafael Delgado, Cesar Dieguez Y Julia Barbosa, the members of the Titular Choir of the Theater, Roman Fernández-Cañadas, Francisco Jose Pardo, Graciela Moncloa, Daniel Huerta, Rodrigo Alvarez, Ricardo Rubio, Antonio González Y Quique Bustos; in addition to 4 extras Y 12 dancers.

Regarding the artistic team, it is completed by the study GI Shape, responsible for the scenography, costume designer Mariana Fracasso, the illuminator Antonio Castro, the choreographer Nuria Castejón and the audiovisual designer Pedro CHamizo.

Love, cinema and revolution

The stage is a recognizable architectural space in Madrid in which the feelings of love, pain and anguish, "a figurative or disfigured world that evolves into 360 degrees before our very eyes…”, as Davide Livermore himself explains, that for this he uses techniques and resources of cinematographic language inspired by works of the seventh art.

Historical facts around the Glorious (o Revolution of 1868 which culminated in the exile of Elizabeth II), that appear or are mentioned in this zarzuela, are the background of what their characters live. So, like now, the story of the young Luisa and Javier will surprise and excite the public, because this episode is combined with the life of the spectators in a movie theater - like a plaza, of meeting place and of life - in the also young Republic (the plot unfolds as it was written, but moved to the date of its happy premiere at the Calderón Theater in Madrid in 1932); and that modernist room is none other than the Cine Doré, so one of the best known in Madrid and currently the oldest active cinema in Spain.

And above political plots and revolutions, of gallantry and fancies, what in the end really matters is wanting and being loved. Love: that wheel that moves the world.

Online and on the air

As it is usual, one of the functions will be broadcast live by streaming through from YouTube channel, the Facebook profile and the Theater's website. The date chosen this time is Wednesday 10 February at 8:00 p.m. (Spanish CET).

Likewise, one of the functions will be recorded by Classical Radio by Radio Televisión Española to broadcast in the near future.

Also on these days you can enjoy YouTube y Facebook of the conference taught by the musicologist Mª Luz González Peña and a new chapter of the series ‘Trip through the zarzuela’, this time focused on ‘Luisa Fernanda’ with Yolanda Auyanet, Juan Jesús Rodríguez and Davide Livermore as protagonists, Y, as usual, with surprise included.

Canarian soprano Davinia Rodríguez debut this June in Teatro Campoamor of Oviedo and it does so at the closing of the Festival of Spanish Lyrical Theater of the Asturian capital with a character she knows well: Luisa Fernanda, the protagonist of the famous operetta of the same name by Federico Moreno Torroba libretto by Federico Romero and Guillermo Fernandez-Shaw. "The score of this zarzuela has nothing to envy to that of an opera", says the Spanish singer, the work which debuted at the Palau de Les Arts in Valencia 2014 sharing the stage with Placido Domingo. "The melodies are incredible and I have a couple of beautiful duets. in Oviedo, also debuting in this beautiful city, production will Emilio Sagi that I did in Valencia, a luxury of elegance and full of great theatrical ideas ", assures.

The montage, whose germ was born in La Scala of Milan 2003 and the following year took shape at the Washington Opera, It is one of the most acclaimed works of Sagi, a mythical name in the field of Spanish musical theater. "Collaborating with Emilio can approach a giant cultural heritage", says Davinia Rodríguez. "He always knows how to fix a scene, and with the utmost respect for the author and the performers ".

Among the future commitments of the Spanish singer he figures his return to Real Madrid Theater The pirate Bellini and his debut as Elisabetta Roberto Devereux Donizetti at the Los Angeles Opera with Placido Domingo and.

Davinia Rodríguez / Dress: Juan Roga / Photo © Malmo