La niña del boticario
(Julián Santos Carrión)
Ángeles Blancas, Slivia
Leivinson, Carmen Claure, Aurelio Puente, Luis Dámaso, Rodrigo Esteves,
Marco Moncloa, Álvaro Lozano, Javier Alonso. Coro de la
Compañía Lírica "Julián Santos", Urals Philharmonic
Orchestra, c. Julián Molina
7243 5 75608 2 5
This is a curiousity. Jumilla-born Santos was a
pianist-composer and winner of the 1951 RNE Prize for his zarzuela Los
gerifaltes. Of his many stage works La niña del boticario is
considered the most important. Written in 1968 but first performed under his
pupil, the well-known tenor Julián Molina, as late as 1988, it
sounds for all the world as if it had been written three generations before
that. A Madrid comedy set in the reign of Philip IV, La niña ...
begins promisingly, but its antique charm soon palls. Such musical ideas as do
occur tend to be short-winded, and on the evidence of the synopsis (EMI
provide no libretto) there's nothing in the storyline to excite the horses.
La niña ... proves a simulation, not a stimulation for the
Molina's homage to his late teacher's memory is a labour of
love, and the performers are commendable. Blancas, strong in vocal
personality, generally copes well with the technical demands posed by the title
role, and as rivals for her hand mellifluous baritone Dámaso and
the wierdly Domingo-like tenor of Esteves are well matched.
Moncloa's Corregidor is outstandingly strong. The Russian orchestra
plays strongly if without subtlety, and proceedings are held firmly if
cautiously together by Molina. The recording was partly put together in
Ekterinburg, of all places! It's tempting to conclude that the place which
consigned the Last of the Czars to history was highly appropriate to dispatch
this near-Last of the Zarzuelas.