The Mariinsky Orchestra
Conductor: Jordi Bernàcer
Concert Master: Ekaterina Ilina
excerpts from zarzuelas by Gerónimo Giménez, Reveriano Soutullo and Juan Vert, Asenjo Barbieri, Jose Serrano, Manuel Fernández Caballero, Federico Moreno Torroba, Enrique Granados, Jacinto Guerrero, Manuel Penella, Pablo Sorozábal, Pablo Luna, Ruperto Chapí and excerpts from the works by Manuel de Falla
The zarzuela is a genre of Spanish musical theatre which originated in the 17th century. It was born as a pastoral Court production to be mounted at celebratory events though, with the passing of time and having adopted features of Italian and French comic opera and being enriched by Spanish folkloric motifs, it came to draw closer in spirit to operetta. The plots, as a general rule, are light and comical, while in the music the central role is enacted by arias and songs that are either lyrical or inflammatory in terms of their character and which alternate with dialogues and dances. Today, the zarzuela is considered one of Spain's great national achievements in music.
Many Spanish singers have launched their artistic careers with the zarzuela, among them such internationally acclaimed stars as Alfredo Kraus and Teresa Berganza. Plácido Domingo, too, pays tribute to the genre – his parents were famed zarzuela performers, and it comes as no surprise that, as a young man living in Mexico, he also participated in performances of zarzuelas, singing baritone roles. Having made his name as a master of opera, on numerous occasions he has returned to the zarzuela and has recorded several discs dedicated to the genre.