Spanish - Guides
Spanish - Composers


There are two guides in English devoted to the romantic zarzuela:

Christopher WEBBER: The Zarzuela Companion (352pp)
(Scarecrow Press, Maryland, 2002)
foreward by Plácido DOMINGO
[ Lib. Cong. 2002110168, ISBN 0-8108-4447-8 ]
A comprehensive guide to the major composers, writers and singers of the romantic zarzuela. 60 classic zarzuelas are given full synopses, commentaries and notes (with music examples), with nearly another 100 others covered more briefly. With sections on History, Zarzuela Today, Catalan and Cuban zarzuela - plus a select up-to-date discography, bibliography and glossary of Spanish terms - this is, in Domingo's words " ... an indispensible reference guide" for English-speakers.
Read full REVIEW

Vincent J. CINCOTTA: Zarzuela, The Spanish Lyric Theatre: A Complete Reference (766pp) (University of Wollongong Press, 2002)
The pitfalls of this ambitious and attractively illustrated book are pinpointed in Andrew Lamb's review. It contains a list of 3,300 works (though by no means all of these are zarzuelas) and has entries on many composers and writers; as well as providing a useful history of the genre, some antique LP catalogues ... but only about 20 questionably selected, brief (and sometimes misleading) synopses.

[Note: a "new corrected and revised edition" was issued in 2003, and a third edition incorporating further corrections was printed in 2005. Thanks to Dr Cincotta for this information.]

Worthwhile sources of specialist information are:

Patricia BENTIVEGNA: Parody in the Género Chico ((339pp) (University Press of the South, 2002)
Read full REVIEW

José Manuel CASTELLANO GIL / José FERNÁNDEZ FERNÁNDEZ, tr. Rafael A. LECUONA: Ernesto Lecuona: the Genius and his Music (R.A.Lecuona Enterprises, Texas, 2004)
Read full REVIEW

Louise STEIN: Songs of Mortals, Dialogues of the Gods : Music and Theatre in Seventeenth-Century Spain (Oxford Monographs on Music) (Claredon Press, Oxford, 1993)

Janet STURMAN: Zarzuela: Spanish Operetta, American Stage (Music in American Life) (University of Illinois Press, Chicago and Urbana, 2000)
Read full REVIEW

Susan THOMAS: Cuban Zarzuela – Performing Race and Gender on Havana’s Lyric Stage (University of Illinois Press, 2008)
Read full REVIEW

Spanish - Guides

These recent books in print are very useful, if you've a modicum of Spanish:

Emilio CASARES RODICIO (general editor): Diccionario de la Zarzuela España e Hispanoamérica (Vol.1) (962pp) (ICCMU, Madrid, 2002)
The first of two volumes presenting the most comprehensive treatment of the romantic zarzuela that is ever likely to be undertaken, and without doubt the 'Bible' of zarzuela studies for the specialist and non-specialist alike. Many leading Spanish musicologists have contributed to this lavishly illustrated, magnificent volume, full of articles on composers, writers, singers and the works themselves as well as more general themes; and there is little of consequence missing, whether from Iberia, Cuba or South America.
Read full REVIEW

Emilio CASARES RODICIO (general editor): Diccionario de la Zarzuela España e Hispanoamérica (Vol.2) (1084pp) (ICCMU, Madrid, 2003)
The concluding volume of this indispensible reference work boasts all the same virtues as its predecessor, although some of the flaws in editorial policy and execution loom slightly larger this time round. However, any faults are of minor consequence weighed against the value and significance of the work as a whole.
Read full REVIEW

Roger ALIER: La zarzuela. (498pp) (Ma Non Troppo, Barcelona, 2002)
Roger Alier has been for many years the doyen of zarzuela studies, and this new book (a companion to his 3-volume Guía Univeral de la ópera) is valuable for Alier's superbly readable, 130 page history of the genre. Other features of the book are puzzling: although the graphics are of higher quality than Alier's original El libro de la zarzuela (see below), the entries on composers and especially the works themselves are very much shorter, and many fewer are covered in any detail. There are helpful checklists of zarzuela films and important works, but no discography - and, frustratingly, no proper index.
Read full REVIEW

Manuel GARCÍA FRANCO and Ramón REGIDOR ARRIBAS: La Zarzuela (109pp) (Acento Editorial, Madrid, 1997)
This pocket-size softback is a cogent chronological history stuffed with useful facts and figures, together with a handful of biographical entries on the major composers. There is no index or illustration and ordering is inconsistent, but its value as an inexpensive guide is enormous.

Ramón REGIDOR ARRIBAS: Aquellas zarzuelas... (252pp) (Alianza Editorial, Madrid, 1996)
Full histories, synopses and brief musical discussions of 19 lesser-known works from the 19th century, together with a fair sprinkling of illustrations. Some of these are early or relatively obscure zarzuelas by major figures such as Barbieri, Vives and Chapí, and there are useful chronological biographies of all the composers. There is also a good introductory preamble, covering the history of zarzuela up to the present day - though this largely duplicates material in the author's brief guide written with Franco (see above).

Joaquín Martín de SAGARMÍNAGA: Diccionario de cantantes líricos españoles (377pp) (Acento Editorial, Madrid, 1997)
An invaluable treasure trove of information on over two hundred and thirty leading Spanish singers of the 20th Century, including many of the great zarzuelists, with a generous helping of photographs, full introduction and appendices covering the 19th Century and the interrelation of the Spanish and Italian "schools". There are very few quibbles about who's covered and who's not (Mary Isaura?) and biography, discography and brief evaluations are all dependable. Altogether invaluable.

Some out of print works which are well worth seeking out:

Roger ALIER: El libro de la zarzuela. (Daimon, Barcelona, 1982)
For some years the best known handbook in Spanish, but now out of print and apparently replaced for good by the new Alier La Zarzuela (see above). This is a pity, as despite many misprints, inconsistencies, omissions and mistakes, El libro... has much more detailed synopses of more works, and it remains a valuable guide. It also has a fairly full LP discography of what was available in 1982.

Juan SALVAT: La Zarzuela (2 or 4 vols.) (Salvat Editores S. A., Barcelona, 1989)
Also out of print, a superb source of photographs of posters, vocal score covers, productions, composers and writers.

Antonio PEÑA Y GOÑI: España desde la ópera a la zarzuela (Alianza Editorial Madrid, 1976)
CamposDC writes: "This is a marvellous document of how zarzuela was seen at the turn of the century. Peña y Goñi (1846-1896) reviews the genre as it was evolving during his time and contributes to a deeper view of 19th century zarzuela composers and their world"

Individual composers

Nearly all in Spanish, and recent enough to possibly be in print or available second-hand:

José MONTERO ALONSO: Francisco Alonso (Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1987)

María Encina CORTIZO: Emilio Arrieta. De la ópera a la zarzuela (ICCMU, Madrid, 1998)

Emilio CASARES RODICIO: Francisco Asenjo Barbieri (ICCMU, Madrid, 1994)

Víctor SÁNCHEZ SÁNCHEZ: Tomás Bretón. Un músico de la Restauración (ICCMU, Madrid, 2002)

Luis G. IBERNI: Ruperto Chapí (ICCMU, Madrid, 1995); Reprinted with corrections: (Complutense, Madrid, 2009)

Ángel SAGARDÍA: Chapí (Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1979)

Florentino HERNÁNDEZ GIRBAL: Federico Chueca, el alma de Madrid (Lira, Madrid, 1992)

José PAREJO DELGADO: Gerónimo Giménez: Un precursor de Manuel de Falla (El Monte - Padilla Libros, Sevilla, 1997)

Josefina CARABIAS: El maestro Guerrero fue así (Fundación Jacinto e Inocencio Guerrero, Madrid, 2001)

Antonio FERNÁNDEZ-CID: El maestro Jacinto Guerrero y su estela (Fundación Jacinto e Inocencio Guerrero, Madrid, 1994)

Alberto GONZÁLEZ LAPUENTE et. al: Jacinto Guerrero. De la zarzuela a la revista (SGAE, Madrid, 1995)

Jesús M. de AROZAMENA: Jesús Guridi - Inventario de su vida y de su música (Editora Nacional, Madrid, 1967)

Pablo BILBAO ARÍSTEGUI: Jesús Guridi (Diputacion Foral de Alava - Departamento de Cultura, Álava, 1992)

Jesús GÓMEZ CAIRO et. al: El arte musical de Ernesto Lecuona (SGAE, Madrid, 1995)

José Manuel CASTELLANO GIL / José FERNÁNDEZ FERNÁNDEZ, tr. Rafael A. LECUONA: Ernesto Lecuona: The Genius and his Music (R. A. Lecuona Enterprises, Laredo, Texas, 2004) (Versions in English and Spanish)

Carmela de LEÓN: El maestro Ernesto Lecuona (Música Mundana, La Habana, 1995) [Note: See also 1996 short guide by the same author, below]

Carmela de LEÓN: Ernesto Lecuona (Letras Cubanas, La Habana, 1996) [Note: a shorter guide, drawing on the author's 1995 book, but including song texts and music reproductions]

Ángel SAGARDÍA: Luna (Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1978)

Eugenia MONTERO: José Padilla (Fundación Banco Exterior, Madrid, 1990)

Dulcila CAÑIZARES: Gonzalo Roig (Letras Cubanas, La Habana, 1978) [Note: More graphic-oriented than the author's 1999 sequel, see below]

Dulcila CAÑIZARES: Gonzalo Roig - Hombre y creador (Letras Cubanas, La Habana, 1999) [Note:more text than the author's 1978 book, fewer graphics, and copious selections from the composer's letters]

Ángel SAGARDÍA: El compositor José Serrano (Vida y obra) (Organización Sala Editorial, Madrid, 1972)

Vicente VIDAL CORELLA: El maestro Serrano y los felices tiempos de la zarzuela (Prometeo, Valencia, 1973)

Pablo SOROZÁBAL: Mi vida y mi obra (Fundación Banco Exterior, Madrid, 1986)

Jaime ESTÉVEZ VILA: Reveriano Soutullo Otero (Alpuerto, Madrid, 1995)

José MONTERO ALONSO: Usandizaga (Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1985)

Sol BURGUETE: Vives (Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1978)

Florentino HERNÁNDEZ GIRBAL: Amadeo Vives, el músico y el hombre (Ediciones Lírica, Madrid, 1971)

Federico SOPEÑA et. al: Amadeo Vives (Radio Televisión Española, Madrid, 1974)

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