La reina mora (Serrano)
Carmen Sinovas, Pura María
Martínez, Antonio Blancas. Coro Cantores de Madrid, Orquesta
Filarmonía de España, c. Rafael Frühbeck de
BMG Alhambra WD
Ana María Iriarte, Pilar
Lorengar, Teresa Berganza, Manuel Ausensi. Orquesta de Cámara de Madrid,
c. Ataúlfo Argenta
María Espinalt, Lolita
Torrento, José Simorra. Orquesta Sinfónica Española, c.
Luisa Vela, Mary Isaura, Emilio
Sagi Barba. c. Concordio Gelabert
Moon BMCD 7546
Serrano's romantic Sevillian zarzuela has a mysterious
beauty at its heart, nicknamed "La reina mora" (Moorish Queen); and the
twenty minutes or so of dark, passionate music he wrote for this one-acter
centre around her. EMI have Espinalt, but with the curdled tone
customary at this stage of her career she does not suggest the character's
magnetic attraction. The recording sounds its age, and the supporting cast are
at best adequate.
The 1970 BMG is much to be preferred. Sinovas
is steady and full-toned if not especially individual, and
Martínez is suitably boyish as a little birdseller.
Blancas, the heroine's lover, sings with elegant clarity, and
Frühbeck conjures up a real sense of brooding heat from his
players. The flamenco scene at the end is a fine bonus not present on EMI. The
coupling, Chapí's El puñao de
rosas, is much more suitable than EMI's Los
cadetes de la Reina.
That isn't quite the end of it. The 1932 version made by
husband and wife - the marvellous, teak-timbred Sagi Barba and
Vela - exudes authentic atmosphere, some pitch questions over Blue
Moon's transfers aside. Isaura is a chirpy birdseller. The couplings are
apt - early recordings of Serrano's Los de
Aragon and Las hilanderas - and
altogether this is an unmissable CD.