Teatro de la Zarzuela has announced its programme for 2007/08. In a foyer press conference, Luis Olmos and his associate José Luis Morata revealed the latest plans for the theatre during the next year of their regime.
The music theatre season will consist of five stagings, one of opera and four of zarzuela. The season opens in September with an opera double bill in which the tragicomic “cartoon” chamber opera Hangman, hangman! by Leonardo Balada will be coupled with the stage premiere of its sequel, The Town of Greed. Gustavo Tambascio directs and José Ramón Encinar will conduct. This is a joint production with Barcelona’s Liceu, where it can be seen in November. The first zarzuela staging comes in December with a revival of La bruja in Luis Olmos’ 2002/3 production. Miguel Roa and José Miguel Pérez-Sierra will share the podium. In February comes a new production of La generala, directed by Emilio Sagi and conducted by José Fabra. The April programme will be La leyenda del beso, in the care of Jesus Castejón and maestros Miquel Ortega and Pablo Heras. The staging promises to be, in Olmos’ words, “a small tribute” to the remarkable pairing of Rafael Castejón and Pepa Rosado, who will take part themselves with their three children. The season closes with a double bill commemorating the centenary of Federico Chueca’s death: El bateo and De Madrid a París (a revista written jointly with Joaquín Valverde) will mark the house debut of the young Andrés Lima under the batons of veteran conductors Roa and Remartínez.
In addition this year, in an initiative which Olmos hopes can be repeated, the zarzuela component is boosted by a new programming idea. Four special anthology concerts following on from one another throughout November will make for a whistle-stop journey through the genre, in which we’re promised a balance of old favourites and novelties. Prestigious vocalists will sing under experienced batons, with the support of the house “band” and chorus – the Orquesta de la Communidad de Madrid and Coro del Teatro de la Zarzuela. In the first José Bros and his wife María Gallego will appear under conductor David Jiménez. The other three will feature vocal quartets of two sopranos, tenor and baritone: Ana María Sánchez, Sonia de Munk, Carlos Moreno and Juan Jesús Rodriguez with Miguel Roa; Carmen González, Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Aquiles Machado and Carlos Bergasa with Luis Remartínez; and Milagros Poblador, Milagros Martín, Aquiles Machado and Manuel Lanza, under the same conductor. Here’s to the success of the venture. On top of that, the 2008 final of the triennial Fundación Jacinto e Inocencio Guerrero International Singing Contest coincidentally adds a fine touch to the programming – this will take place during March.
The theatre’s zarzuela activity is rounded out by an important touring policy. The presence at Oviedo’s Teatro Campoamor with four programmes, and visits of single productions to traditional or new venues is confirmed – Seville’s Teatro Maestranza, Teatro Auditorio de Las Artes in Salamanca, Palacio de Festivales in Santander. There may also be visits to theatres on the Cantabrian cornisa and the Levante. Whatever the case, the closing of the season at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris with the production of La generala is the most remarkable red-letter date in the theatre’s tour roster.
The remainder of activities are distributed between customary activities –a lieder cycle, appearances of the national dance companies and invited groups, the autumn festival de otoño, plus live-music film performances and a series given by young pianists – and some exceptional events. These are down to the temporary closure of the Auditorio Nacional de Música – concerts for Save the World Day, Saint Cecilia, and to benefit Save the Children. A series of lectures on the zarzuelas and operas in the season completes the circle.
In general terms the season aims to continue quotas similar to the present ones (more than 90% given over to zarzuela), in that the announcement promises an increase in the number of afternoon educational events – during the present season, at the margin of the numbers attending the morning matinée performances, almost 7000 children have passed through the theatre. It’s good also that well-respected singers have been booked for some productions – José Bros, Aquiles Machado, Carlos Chausson, Ismael Jordi, Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Ana Ibarra… Everything would be fine, if only the scale could be increased. Public demand and the cultural importance of the genre would justify that.
© Ignacio Jassa Haro 2007