Zarzuela: Spanish Operetta, American Stage

Zarzuela: Spanish Operetta, American Stage

by Janet L. Sturman


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Once the most popular form of Spanish entertainment short of the bullfight, the zarzuela boasts a long history of bridging the categories of classical and popular art. It is neither opera nor serious drama, yet it requires both trained singers and good actors. The content is neither purely folkloric nor high art; it is too popular for some and too classical for others. In Zarzuela, Janet L. Sturman assesses the political as well as the musical significance of this chameleon of music-drama.
Sturman traces the zarzuela's colorful history from its seventeenth-century origins as a Spanish court entertainment to its adaptation in Spain's colonial outposts in the New World. She examines Cuba's pivotal role in transmitting the zarzuela to Latin America and the Caribbean and draws distinctions among the ways in which various Spanish-speaking communities have reformulated zarzuela, combining elements of the Spanish model with local characters, music, dances, and political perspectives. The settings Sturman considers include Argentina, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the American cities of El Paso, Miami, and New York.
Sturman also demonstrates how the zarzuela plays a role in defining American urban ethnicity. She offers a glimpse into two longstanding theaters in New York,  Repertorio Español and the Thalia Spanish Theatre, that have fostered the tradition of zarzuela, mounting innovative productions and cultivating audiences. Sturman  constructs a profile of the audience that supports modern zarzuela and examines the extensive personal network that sustains it financially.
Just as the zarzuela afforded an opportunity in the past for Spaniards to assert their individuality in the face of domination by Italian and central European musical standards, it continues to stand for a distinctive Hispanic legacy. Zarzuela provides a major advance in recognizing the enduring cultural and social significance of this resilient and adaptable genre.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780252025969
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publication date: 09/14/2000
Series: Music in American Life Series
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Editorial Conventions ix
Introduction: From Experience to Study 1(10)
From the Spanish Court to Madison Square Garden: Royal Origins and Public Reception
Zarzuela in the New World: Peninsular Imports and Creole Responses
A Side Trip to Cuba: Costumbrista Attitudes toward Lyric Theater
Creating The Land of Joy: Zarzuela and Hispanic Theater in the United States
Profiles of Contemporary Producers of Zarzuela in the New York Metropolitan Area
Identity and Choice: Contemporary Zarzuela Audiences
An Analysis of Performance Practices
Support Networks for Artistic Production
Ends and Means: Projecting Status, Ability, and Ethnicity
A. A Chronological Compilation of a Century of Zarzuela and Related Lyric Theater Presented in New York
B. Program Summaries for Hispanic Theaters at Two New York Locations, 1932--41
C. A Comparison of Musical Productions at Three Hispanic Theaters in the New York Metropolitan Area
Glossary 179(8)
Notes 187(24)
Bibliography 211(14)
Index 225

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