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Sibling Rivalries – Zarzuela and Operetta

23 October 2015 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Lecturer / Conferenciante : Christopher Webber (author, ‘The Zarzuela Companion’)

Lecture in English / Conferencia en castellano

Dictionaries usually define zarzuela as “Spanish operetta,” yet its formal variety and diverse subject matter – encompassing everything from low farce to bloody tragedy – make such a tempting equation impossible. This talk tells the tangled tale of La zarzuela’s love-hate relationship with her sunny, younger sister La opereta. The Merry Widow, H.M.S. Pinafore, and even Man of La Mancha make cameo appearances in a fascinating, picaresque journey which includes some of the most beloved 20th century zarzuelas.

Christopher Webber is an English actor, stage director and writer; and a leading authority on Spanish Zarzuela. His book The Zarzuela Companion (Scarecrow Press, 2002, with foreword by Plácido Domingo) is the standard, English-language reference work on the genre, and as a major contributor to the Oxford Companion to Music (Oxford University Press, 2002) he wrote and edited many entries on Iberian and Ibero-American genres, composers and countries. As Editor in Chief since 1997 of the internet portal zarzuela.net he has published many articles and reviews on Spanish lyric theatre, and he is a regular, wide-ranging reviewer and feature writer for Opera magazine. Webber has lectured and published on zarzuela for international conference symposia at the Universities of Sheffield (UK), Tübingen (Germany), Oviedo and Valencia (Spain) and Wooster, Ohio; has directed and performed zarzuela in London’s West End; and has written the libretto for an ‘English zarzuela’ The Stronger with music by Derek Barnes, as well as making bilingual adaptations of two zarzuelas, La dolorosa and Luisa Fernanda, for Santa Fé Opera in New Mexico, USA. He is also a regular contributor for the theatre and music panels, to the UK’s Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press).


23 October 2015
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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Instituto Cervantes
102 Eaton Square
London, SW1W 9AN United Kingdom
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020 7235 0353
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