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La Zarzuela

(Madrid, 1856-1857)

Prepared by Esperanza Berrocal
1 volume (2000)

La Zarzuela, published weekly in Madrid from February 1856 to July 1857, is one of the earliest nineteenth-century Spanish music journals to support the revival of the zarzuela. The journal contains valuable information about the promoters of the genre—composers Gaztambide, Oudrid and Barbieri, singers Salas, Calvet, and Caltañazor—as well as reviews and reports on related significant events such as the inauguration of the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid (1856). Equally important to an understanding of the state of music in Spain during this period are the journal’s reports on music education—with many articles devoted to the activities of the Conservatorio de Música de Madrid—religious and military music. Special attention is paid to the review sections which cover numerous performances in Madrid as well as events in Barcelona, Cádiz, Segovia, Sevilla, Valencia, and Valladolid. Many reports focus on contemporary Spanish composers such as Emilio Arrieta, Francisco Asenjo Barbieri, Carlos Llorens, Joaquín Gaztambide, Miguel Hilarión Eslava, Cristóbal Oudrid and Baltasar Saldoni. Review sections often deal with performers; among them are the singers Vicente Caltañazor, Francisco Calvet, Manuel Carrión, Joaquín López Becerra, Francisco Salas, and Teresa Istúriz, Ana Latorre, Elisa Luján, Luisa Santa María, Teresa Rivas and Elisa Villó; pianists Juan María Guelbenzu, Francisco Frontera Valldemosa, and Oscar de la Cinna; violinists Enrique Aldana, Andrés Fortuny, Jesús de Monasterio y Pablo Sarasate; and cellists Franco Méndez y José Campos. Announcements and reviews of new publications treat Mariano Soriano Fuertes’ Historia de la música española, Juan de Castro’s Guía del organista, Hilarión Eslava’s Biblioteca Musical and Baltasar Saldoni’s Reseña histórica de la Escolanía o Colegio de Música de la Virgen de Montserrat [Historical note on the boys’ school or college of music of the Virgin of Monserrat Monastery].

Like other contemporary European music periodicals the journal shows special interest in Italian and French opera, as well as in a variety of topics ranging from theater-related matters—selection of the repertory, suitability of translations and censorship—to singing techniques, music history and instrument making. Features of the biographical section are eminent composers (Haydn, Gluck, Mendelssohn and Handel), and famous contemporary singers (Jenny Lind, Enriqueta Sontag and Rosina Penco). Among the main contributors to La Zarzuela are the journal’s director Eduardo Velaz de Medrano, who wrote some eighty articles. Velaz de Medrano is acknowledged today as one of the pioneers of Spanish musicology. Other outstanding contributors are José Maria de Andueza, Luis Olona, Julio Nombela and Francisco Asenjo Barbieri.