Don fernando el emplazado teatro real

Don fernando el emplazado teatro real

opera 2021

The second act introduction, which features themes reminiscent of the opera’s prelude, is well executed. It precedes a baritone romanza of great inspiration, but the insecurity of both the soloist and the orchestra results in constant tempo changes that are not reflected in the score.

We arrive at the “great chorus” of the second act, where, coinciding with his intervention, he suddenly changes the initial tempo, which was ideal, without express mention in the score. This sudden acceleration, totally unnatural, draws us no longer a costumbrista scene (as Zubiaurre describes), but a satirical one, and again the same thing happens: rhythmic mismatches between the low and high parts of the orchestra and an out of sync choir (especially the male voices), which fails to execute the notes in time or to pronounce the text. Fortunately, the enormous contrast in tempo that Pérez-Sierra marks with the meno mosso that follows brings us back to the desired tempo.

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Editing the opera has been hard work, so much so that in fact Izzo jokes that he would have refused if he had known it was going to be so difficult. He admits that he did not know at first that the original score, or at least what one might think was the original score, had been lost, so “the Italian version has had to be reconstructed, using a score with the Spanish text that was used in the first performance, handwritten by the author, and an Italian version printed from the particellas that were used for the stagings at the Teatro de la Alhambra and the Teatro Real in 1874.” It should be explained that the particellas are scores in which it is written only what a performer or a group of performers must interpret, so not having the full score, it is necessary to rearrange everything from different elements.

Francesco Izzo believes that Zubiaurre “was very talented, but he was also a bit inexperienced, so there are some problems in his way of writing, both rhythmically and when using the Italian text”. Therefore, “it has required a lot of work, but it is a marvel that now this opera can be seen at the Teatro Real, and both Alberto Cubero and maestro José Miguel Pérez Sierra have been of invaluable help. Together we are exploring this opera and bringing it back to life”.

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“And these knights, when the king ordered them to be killed, seeing that they were killed with a one-eyed man, they said that they would implore the king to appear before God with them in court about this death that he ordered them to die with a one-eyed man, on that day on which they died thirty days later. (…) And this Thursday, the seventh day of September, eve of Sancta Maria, the king went to sleep, and a little after half a day he was found dead in bed, in such a way that no one saw him die. And this Thursday was the thirtieth day of the arrest of the knights that he ordered to kill in Martos”.

Since the 16th century historians have questioned the veracity of the emplacement (which the Carvajal brothers supposedly made to the king to see himself on trial before God) and the gruesome death of Don Fernando, which did not prevent the legend from flourishing with particular force during Romanticism.

The same plot was chosen by Valentín María de Zubiaurre (Garay, Vizcaya, 1837 – Madrid, 1914) for his second opera, with a libretto that turns the medieval legend into the struggle of the Castilian people against the tyranny of their monarch.

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This will be the score that can be heard on May 15 and 17, reconstructed by the prestigious musicologist Francesco Izzo and published by the Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales (ICCMU), with the collaboration of the Comunidad de Madrid.

Despite his talent for this type of pieces, Valentín de Zubiaurre (1837-1914) wrote only three operas in a career in which he favored the religious repertoire due to his responsibilities as Chapel Master of the Royal Chapel, where he succeeded Miguel Hilarión Eslava.

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