Farinelli comes back to life

«Farinelli», opera by Cavestany and Breton, was the second premiere of the Lyric season, and was celebrated on May 14. Breton, who in 1902 had already obtained the greatest successes of his artistic life with ” Garín ”, ” La verbena de La Paloma ” and ” La Dolores ”, when composing ” Farinelli ” he met a book in which, apart from being falsified the biographical traces of the protagonist – the famous Italian singer Carlo Boschi (Farinello) – did not provide musical situations that allowed him to perform his work with ease and fantasy, so he could not perform a work complete and perfect, but it did include several admirable fragments in it. “Farinelli” was represented six times ».

These are the words of musicologist Ángel Sagardía written on ABC in 1952, when the fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of the Lyric Theater, a coliseum that disappeared today became the largest theater in Madrid (had a capacity of 2,900 spectators); It was located on Marqués de la Ensenada street (where the French Institute is today), and was promoted by the Basque businessman Luciano Berriatúa to be the home of the Spanish opera, and directed by another composer: Ruperto Chapí.

In that context “Farinelli” was born, an opera that, after the six performances referred to by Sagaría, did not return to the stage … Until today. The Teatro de la Zarzuela has recovered this title, a “work of great quality and great value yet undiscovered”, according to the words of Guillermo García Calvo, brand new musical director of the Teatro de la Zarzuela, and the baton that will direct the two concerts, the February 15 and 17, with which the work will be exhumed.

The mezzo-soprano Maite Beaumont, who debuted in La Zarzuela, plays the legendary castrato. Together with her, the cast is Rodrigo Esteves, Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Leonardo Sánchez, David Menéndez and Manuel Fuentes. The Main Choir of the Teatro de la Zarzuela and the Orchestra of the Community of Madrid also take part. “It’s a choral work,” says Daniel Bianco. In twenty of the twenty-six musical numbers that the choir intervenes ».

As on other occasions – this is the twelfth “exhumation” of the colosseum since Bianco assumed his direction – the formula chosen to present the work is the concert, in which the singers are joined by the actor Emilio Gutierrez Caba, who will narrate the text in which María Velasco has summarized the libretto by Juan Antonio Cavestany.

Guillermo García Calvo can not speak more enthusiastically of «Farinelli». «I have changed the schemes regarding Spanish music, which I thought I knew. This is a unique work, of a quality comparable to any European opera; It has four fragments specifically that are the best of the genre.

The conductor does not understand that no one has unearthed this work or that there are no recordings of some of his arias: «The tenor’s aria is the same as that of` `The Knight of the Rose ”, only that Richard Strauss wrote it nine years later. ” Farinelli ” is like the ruins of Machupichu, which were hidden by the jungle until someone discovered them; We just don’t know what jungle has hidden this jewel from our opera. That has to lead us to reflection ».

“Tomás Breton died in anguish because he would have liked to be remembered for his operas,” says Daniel Bianco. And it is that the author of “La verbena de La Paloma” saw how in life -and even today-, this composition has eclipsed all his production, which includes works such as “Los lovers de Teruel” or “La Dolores”.

Musically, «Farinelli» brings together, according to García Calvo, two styles. «On the one hand, relive the era of Carlo Broschi with a neo-baroque style, reminiscent of the music of the 18th century, but when talking about the emotions of the characters, the score becomes post-Romantic, even postwagnerian. It is something very new, which is not seen in other works; maybe in ” Andrea Chenier ” ».

“Breton – the conductor concludes – is a genius; Each of his works have their own language. His musical speech in “ Farinelli ” is absolutely coherent and there is nothing left. And it stands out for the psychological introspection of the characters that it carries out through the score. He uses the chromatic and harmonic resources masterfully to describe these characters ».

Radio Clasica will record the concert on Monday 17 to broadcast it shortly, in which it will be the only record of the existing work. .

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