Carol Garcia, Pan y toros (Teatro de la Zarzuela) (c. Elena del Real)

Pan y toros
zarzuela in three acts

Libretto: José Picón
Music: Francisco Asenjo Barbieri

Teatro de la Zarzuela
(Madrid,14 October 2022)

A letter from
Teddy Clyron

Greetings from the Canary Islands, where my yacht the Scotland and I are now happily moored, after navigating the torrential and treacherous currents of Madrid’s Manzanares River. Although the city is much changed, the spirit is the same with which I fell in love, so many years ago.

Ah, Mr. Editor ... I enjoyed the zarzuela so much yesterday. I was wary – in spite of reading many good reviews – because I know Pan y toros (by my old friends Barbieri and Picón) so well, and I know its odd corners, its potential, its weaknesses. Let me say at once that we are dealing with an absolutely impeccable staging; that is, we are dealing with a staging which is 100% theatrical and musical. Everything fits and works, except (perhaps) the choreography, which for my taste is excessively ‘fanciful’. But … well, if I’m truthful, I don’t mind that too much either, honestly. Juan Echanove, a great actor himself, has taken on Picón’s text with absolute focus, even rigour. There are cuts, of course, but they are perfectly reasonable and almost all help the plot development and to understand the characters.

Pan y toros (Teatro de la Zarzuela) (c. Elena del Real)

The blemishes in the production are mainly on the musical side. Guillermo García Calvo is beginning to ‘settle in’ with the style and customs of the Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid and last night it sounded pallid. Besides, I’m very sorry, but you can’t do justice to Pan y toros by suppressing the offstage orchestra in the second act. The ‘Contradanza’ was played from the pit, that’s OK. But in the prayer ‘O Queen of Angels’ before the finale, the magic comes from the superimposition of the patriots’ prayer on stage and the offstage Gavotte being danced in Doña Pepita’s palace. But in this production the Gavotte goes for nothing: can we imagine a Don Giovanni, a Rigoletto, without onstage orchestras? This is an unjustifiable stinginess from a theatre dedicated to zarzuela. But alas, did anyone else in the theatre besides myself notice this yesterday? I doubt it.

Pan y toros (Teatro de la Zarzuela) (c. Elena del Real)

Another truly scandalous aberration: Enrique Viana as the Abate. He was completely out of place, turning a delightful character with great music into an unpleasant being, bent on shouting, screaming and, as a result, not sustaining his role because he was only concerned with pumping out the decibels. Oh, I’m sorry; sometimes I’m very cruel (it is my Eton schooling) – I don’t know why, but La Zarzuela has become his employment agency.

Carol Garcia, Quizo Borja, Gerardo Bullon - Pan y toros (Teatro de la Zarzuela) c. Elena del RealMore pleasantly, concerning the first cast, I must tell you that Carol García (Princesa de Luzán) is a completely honest artist, she sings very well and if she is not Sarah Bernhardt she doesn’t try to be either. Every time I like this ‘tiple’ more and more, following her fabulous Paloma in the last revival of El barberillo. Next to her, curiously, Yolanda Auyanet (Doña Pepita) went almost unnoticed, the role of Pepita being too big for her vocally (in fact she didn’t sing the coloratura as written in the fabulous ‘concertante final’ of the second act, and in the sopranos’ duet she came close to straining). Borja Quiza’s acting was perhaps better than his singing. Undoubtedly the best of all was the Corregidor – the actor Pedro Mari Sánchez, a model in the way he played the character, spoke the lines and intoned in his brief musical interventions. On the other hand, it goes without saying – as usual! – that Gerardo Bullón is a master; his Goya was impeccable. Not one, but two delicious icings on the cake: Milagros Martín as Tirana and María Rodríguez as Duquesa  – what a great duel of divas on the stage of La Zarzuela!

‘Hala!’ I’m done. The costumes, by the way, are very beautiful; and the movement and direction of the actors is quite impeccable. And now, I raise a glass of sweet sherry to my friends in Madrid!

© Teddy Clyron and, 2022

Cast: Doña Pepita (Yolanda Auyanet/Raquel Lojendio), La Princesa de Luzán (Carol García/Cristina Faus), El Capitán Peñaranda (Borja Quiza/César San Martín), La Tirana (Milagros Martín), Goya (Gerardo Bullón), La Duquesa (María Rodríguez), El Abate Ciruela (Enrique Viana), El Corregidor Quiñones (Pedro Mari Sánchez), Pepe-Hillo (Carlos Daza), Pedro Romero (Pablo Gálvez), Costillares (José Manuel Díaz). El General (Pablo López), El santero (Alberto Frías), Jovellanos (César Sánchez), La Madre (Lara Chaves), El Padre (Sandro Cordero), El Niño (Julen Alba), El del Pecado Mortal (Juan Sousa), El Mozo de Cuerda (Javier Alonso), Vendedores (Paula Alonso, Alberto Camón, Patricia Castro, Patricia Illera, Sonia Martínez, Graciela Moncloa, Ricardo Rubio) Dir. mus. - Guillermo García Calvo, Dir. esc. - Juan Echanove, Esc. y vest. - Ana Garay, Ilum. - Juan Gómez Cornejo, Coreo. - Manuela Barrero, Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid Titular del Teatro de la Zarzuela, Coro Titular del Teatro de la Zarzuela (dir. Antonio Fauró), Rondalla Lírica de Madrid «Manuel Gil». Coro Titular del Teatro de la Zarzuela, Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid, c. Guillermo García Calvo, d. Juan Echanove, des.& cost. Ana Garay, l. Juan Gómez Cornejo, Choreo. Manuela Barrero.

Pan y toros (Teatro de la Zarzuela 2022) programme cover

en español
Francisco Asenjo Barbieri (English)
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