A little-known Guerrero zarzuela
On January 25th “Amics de la Sarsuela de Gràcia”, a company linked to Club Helena de Barcelona, successfully presented this work by Luis Fernández Ardavín with music by Jacinto Guerrero. The difficulties that groups of zarzuela aficionados in Barcelona labour under are well known; many are connected to deserving neighbourhood cultural associations and maintain musical activities in the city with scant resources and almost without any help or support. This time the event is all the more meritorious, because the work staged is virtually unknown and little recorded.
El ama, premiered in Madrid on March 24th 1933, keeps within Guerrero’s characteristic style, with a strong popular influence, and is set within the ambit of a Castilian village at the time of the work’s premiere itself. There are abundant comic numbers, and in this regard the exemplary performance of the comedy pair (Francesca Sánchez and Joan Carles Roca in the roles of Rufina and Simón) offered the best moments of the evening. Fernández Ardavín’s text – all in rhymed verse – is perfectly adapted to the action, which reflects the turbulent atmosphere on the Spanish land early in 1933. Joan Carles Roca was also responsible for the stage direction, very acceptable and worthily set in spite of the modest means. The remaining singers, Griselda Ramón (Rafaela), Carlos Cremades (Clemente) and Alberto Cazes (Esteban) were correct but with some limitations in vocal range. Also correct, and for once sufficiently sonorous, were the Orchestra and Chorus of “Amics de la Sarsuela de Gràcia” under Andrés de Rivera.
© José María Busqué
El ama. Comedia
lírico-dramática en tres actos y en verso. Text by Luis
Fernández Ardavín. Music by Jacinto Guerrero
3 February 2009