El ama (Guerrero)

Luis Sagi-Vela, María Badía, Rosita Cadenas, Manuel Alares, Juan García, Arturo Lledo. Orquesta y Coro del Teatro Ideal de Madrid, c. Jacinto Guerrero
Blue Moon BMCD 7512 / or / Homokord HC001 / or / Novoson CDNS-596 [extracts]

Marcos Redondo, Rosita Cadenas, Manuel Alares, Pepe Romeu, Arturo Lledó. Orquesta y coro del Teatro Ideal de Madrid, c. Jacinto Guerrero
Blue Moon BMCD 7540 [extracts]

Guerrero's Castilian village melodrama is seldom revived today, but the two sets of substantial extracts issued not long after the 1933 premiere bear witness to its inital popularity.

Of the two, the Madrid recordings conducted by the composer with the original cast have special authenticity. Much of the meat here goes to the rival lovers, faithful baritone Esteban and guilt-racked tenor Clemente, and both Sagi Vela and García acquit themselves with distinction. García's technical wizardry and firm tone are a particular pleasure, though some critics in his own time found him mannered. The Homokord transfer sounds better and has a full synopsis, though Blue Moon provide texts. Both have valuable non-Guerrero fillers not found elsewhere.

The Novoson 2010 reissue of precisely the same extracts (they do not say whose remastering they used) boasts neither synopsis/texts nor a recommendable coupling, and should be avoided if at all possible.

The shorter set made a little later in Barcelona (apparently again with the Madrid orchestra under the composer??) is valuable for Redondo and Romeu in the two lead roles, and for some minor material absent from the longer original selection. Redondo is firmer and more operatic in style than Sagi Vela, whilst Romeu's vocal and dramatic facility makes his guilt-racked romanza most telling. Blue Moon's couplings, featuring Redondo in extracts from two better-known Guerrero scores, are sensible and tempting.