de la


Ignacio Jassa Haro

Luis Olmos
Luis Olmos

Teatro de la Zarzuela de Madrid
The 2005/2006 season unveiled

Ignacio Jassa Haro

The Teatro de la Zarzuela could well change its name to Teatro de la Danza, and no mistake. Going by the number of productions next season, the Temple of Jovellanos has five ballet stagings from four companies (National Ballet of Spain, National Dance Company, Julio Bocca Ballet Argentino and Angel Corella & Stars American Ballet) plus a gala in tribute to Antonio Gades. Against that there will only be four zarzuela productions and one opera, though certainly that means more performance days than are devoted to dance.

The September prologue to the sung season—which as far as zarzuela is concerned will not begin until December—is an double bill of uncommon interest: Poulenc's La Voix Humaine preceded by the Jean Cocteau play which it sets (in a new Spanish version by Luis Antonio de Villena.) Gerardo Vera, director of both, lauded the quality of the Villena's text, which restores much lost in the previously familiar translation. He also lauded the excellence of his two heroines—English soprano Felicity Lott and Argentine actress Cecilia Roth indeed promise exceptional casting.

I've previously taken issue with the style of zarzuela programming, which follows the previous seasons template with three premieres and one revival. La verbena de la Paloma will open with a prologue to honour the theatre's 150th anniversary; and certainly Bretón's masterpiece is one of the unquestionable landmarks of zarzuela that are due to be revived during the two next seasons. Then follows a well-merited revival of El barberillo de Lavapiés in Calixto Bieito's 1998 production. After this comes the turn of La tabernera del puerto, in its first new production for many years here, under the theatre's director Luis Olmos himself. The season closes with a género chico double bill: La boda... and El baile de Luis Alonso in a fresh new production by Santiago Sanchez.

If this sort of zarzuela programming continues, we must begin to doubt the theatre's ability to get up to speed in the way it needs. The new productions and revivals are touchstones of excellence, unquestionably. But the tiny number of them prevents the theatre moving ahead with a suitable policy whereby the repertory core is extended by the revivals of forgotten zarzuelas of fine quality, combined on one side with Spanish operas and an the other with European and American operettas, in an appropriate and needful extension of the theatre's work.

There is one extenuating circumstance to take into account: the theatre's developing policy for national tours and one remarkable foreign excursion. Oviedo once again takes five productions—as a "second home” for the theatre—and Auditorio de Murcia is added to the list of tour venues. Mexico is to welcome the Quixote double bill. Adding these performances in, the theatre will mount a total of nine zarzuela productions in almost one hundred and forty performances.

I must confess myself disappointed to find that the 150th anniversary of the theatre has not proved of sufficient weight to bring about a richer presence of Spanish lyric works, counted either by productions or total performances. In fact this season presents nothing extraordinary, except in so far as all programmed works are of excellent quality. The Teatro de la Zarzuela has let slip a golden opportunity to further define its character. Will it be able to take it in the following season, which is purely to celebrate this anniversary of its foundation?

© Ignacio Jassa Haro 2005
English digest © Christopher Webber 2005

Schedule 2005/2006

10 December 2005—22 January 2006
La verbena de la Paloma (Bretón) with a prologue by Bernardo Sánchez
Sergio Renán d., Miguel Roa c.
New production Teatro la Zarzuela

10 February —11 March 2006
El barberillo de Lavapiés (Barbieri)
Calixto Bieito d., Miquel Ortega/José Fabra c.
Teatro la Zarzuela (1998)

28 April —28 May 2006
La tabernera del puerto (Pablo Sorozábal)
Luis Olmos d., Manuel Galduf c.
New production Teatro la Zarzuela

23 June —23 July 2006
La boda de Luis Alonso / El baile de Luis Alonso ( Giménez )
Santiago Sánchez d., Miguel Roa c.
New production Teatro la Zarzuela

Tour Schedule 2005/2006

Guadalajara (México)
14-15 October 2005
La venta de Don Quijote ( Chapí )/ El retablo de Maese Pedro (Falla) Teatro la Zarzuela (2005)

Guanajuato (México) –XXXIII Festival Internacional Cervantino
20-22 October 2005
La venta de Don Quijote ( Chapí )/ El retablo de Maese Pedro (Falla) Teatro la Zarzuela (2005)

Murcia, Auditorio Murcia
30, 31 October , 1 November 2005
La parranda (Alonso) Teatro la Zarzuela (2005)

Pamplona, Auditorio Baluarte
24-26 December 2005
La chulapona ( Torroba ) Teatro la Zarzuela (1988)

Valladolid, Teatro Calderón

1-4 February 2006
La chulapona ( Torroba ) Teatro la Zarzuela (1988)

Sevilla, Teatro la Maestranza
20-24 March 2006
La verbena de la Paloma (Bretón) with a prologue by Bernardo Sánchez. Teatro la Zarzuela 2005

Oviedo, Teatro Campoamor –XIII Festival Teatro Lírico Español Asturias

14-18 February 2006
La verbena de la Paloma (Bretón) with a prologue by Bernardo Sánchez.Teatro la Zarzuela 2005

21-25 March 2006
La del soto Parral ( Soutullo y Vert ) Teatro la Zarzuela (2000)

2-6 May 2006
La parranda (Alonso) Teatro la Zarzuela (2005)

23-27 May 2006
La del manojo de rosas (Sorozábal) Teatro la Zarzuela (1990)

13-17 June 2006
La tabernera del puerto (Sorozábal) Teatro la Zarzuela (2005)

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