Luis Fernández
de Sevilla

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Last updated May 16th 2013

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Luis Fernández de Sevilla
Luis Fernández
de Sevilla
(1888 - 1974)

Luis Fernández was born in 1888, appending de Sevilla to his surname in honour of his home city. He wrote very many operettas, sainetes and zarzuelas, more often than not in collaboration. His major writing partner was Anselmo Cuadrado Carreño, and together they provided texts for most of the major zarzueleros of the last century from the mid-1920's onwards to the end of the romantic zarzuela tradition. He died in Madrid on November 30th 1974.

Notable works he wrote with Carreño include La vaquerita (Rosillo, 1924); La prisionera (Serrano and Balaguer, 1927); La del soto del Parral (Soutullo and Vert, 1927); and La mejor del puerto (Alonso, 1928). Their epochal Los claveles (Serrano, 1929) stands somewhat apart. This was the first of a madrileño trilogy which portrayed modern Madrid life in the years before the upheaval of the Civil War, although Carreño wrote the other two - La del manojo de rosas (1934) and Me llaman la Presumida (1935)- with another popular comic writer, Francisco Ramos de Castro.

Later works written with Carreño include La cautiva (Guridi, 1931); and the jewelled two-act sainete Don Manolito (Sorozábal, 1942). Zarzuelas written alone or with others include Alhambra for Díaz Giles, (with F. Prada, 1940); Golondina de Madrid (Serrano's last work, 1944); La rumbosa for Alonso (with Pilar Millán Astray, 1951); and two further fine texts written for Sorozábal, La eterna canción (1945) and Entre Sevilla y Triana (with Luis Tejedor, 1950).

In collaborative works it is hard to isolate the contribution of one writer or another, but in general it can be said that Fernández de Sevilla's taste was for sentimental comedy in unpretentious settings. This casticismo is an example of the movement in Spanish music and letters dedicated to the simple presentation of themes from Spanish popular life and customs, of which the composers Torroba and Rodrigo were leading exponents.

His uncomplicated characters may be stereotypical, but remain recognisably realistic, conscientious human beings. His comic writing is notable for its polished wit, and certainly achieves his populist ends. If the literary establishment of the day was understandably dubious about his facility, Fernández de Sevilla's graceful charm disarms much of the criticism.

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