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La España Artística

(Madrid, 1857-1858)

Prepared by Esperanza Berrocal
1 volume (2000)

A continuation of La Zarzuela, the weekly La España Artística was initially directed by Eduardo Velaz de Medranoa. However, a new board was officially approved on 10 June 1858, with Francisco de Paula Madrazo and Julio Nombela as directors, and Pedro Moroy as the journal’s administrator.

Similarities between La Zarzuela and La España Artística are notable in their physical structures and contents. Issues consist of two parts: the first includes one or at times two major articles primarily about the zarzuela, and the second consists of reviews of national and foreign musical performances. Contrary to its predecessor’s enthusiasm for the revival of the zarzuela, La España Artística comments on the genre’s decay and addresses the fundamental question of the creation of a national opera in Spain, a subject which was to receive regular attention in the nineteenth-century Spanish musical press. Other topics such as the need for a reform of military music and the role of the Conservatorio de Música in Madrid’s musical life further show clear continuity between the two journals. La España Artística’s special attention to particular composers reveals contemporary recognition of figures neglected today such as Carlos Llorens and Martín Sánchez Allú. Articles on operatic and theatrical matters predominate (in particular Meyerbeer and Verdi), but subjects such as the history of instruments, singing techniques, and dance also receive attention. In its chronicles, the journal covers theaters throughout Spain and the main theaters in Europe and the Americas. The activities of Spanish artists abroad are closely followed.

La España Artística and its predecessor La Zarzuela constitute an indispensable resource for understanding nineteenth-century musical life in Spain, the nation’s subsequent cultural development, and its artistic presence within Europe.