Episode 24- Zarzuela: Music Theater and Nationalism in Spain

Episode 24 with Clinton Young

Spain’s own genre of music theater, zarzuela, is one of the country’s most distinctive cultural forms.  In this episode, Prof. Clinton Young traces the evolution of the genre in the context of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Spanish history, linking it to the development of the urban middle and working classes.  We will listen to selections from several famous zarzuelas along the way, with Young analyzing how zarzuela contributed to Spain’s unique bottom-up nationalization process. 

The Episode

The Guest

Clint Young is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Arkansas, Monticello; he earned a PhD in History from the University of California, San Diego.  A specialist in the cultural history of modern Spain, his research focuses on the intersection of musical and political cultures, with a specific interest in the topic of nationalism.  He is the author of Music Theater and Popular Nationalism in Spain, 1880-1930, which received the Robert M. Stevenson Prize for outstanding scholarship in Iberian music from the American Musicological Society in 2018.  He is currently researching the role that musicians in the Hispanic and Anglophone Atlantic worlds played in developing countries and disseminating operatic culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Suggested Reading

  • Alier, Roger.  La Zarzuela.  Barcelona: Ma Non Troppo, 2002.
  • Alvarez Junco, José.  Mater Dolorosa: La idea de España en el siglo XIX.  Madrid: Taurus, 2001.
  • Casares Rodicio, Emilio, ed.  Diccionario de la Zarzuela España e Hispanoamérica, 2nd ed.  Madrid: ICCM, 2006.
  • Cruz, Jesus.  The Rise of Middle-Class Culture in Nineteenth Century Madrid.  Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2011.
  • Gies, David Thatcher.  The Theatre in Nineteenth-Century Spain.  Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994.
  • Parsons, Deborah L.  A Cultural History of Madrid: Modernism and the Urban Spectacle.  Oxford and New York: Berg, 2003.
  • Peña y Goñi, Antonio.  La ópera española y la música dramática en España en el siglo XIX.  Apuntes históricos.  Madrid: Imprenta y estereotipia de El Liberal, 1881. 
  • Serrano, Carlos.  El nacimiento de Carmen: Símbolos, mitos y nación.  Madrid: Taurus, 1999.
  • Webber, Christopher.  The Zarzuela Companion.  Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002.
  • Webber, Christopher and Ignaco Jassa Haro, eds.  “Zarzuela.net.”  http://www.zarzuela.net.
  • Young, Clinton D.  Music Theater and Popular Nationalism in Spain, 1880-1930.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2016.

Music Credits

  1. “El baile de Luis Alonso – Intermedio”
    By: Gerónimo Giménez
    Performed by: Comunidad de Madrid Orchestra & Chorus, Miguel Roa
    Courtesy of Naxos of America, Inc.
  2. Duo de Don Luís y la Marquesita- “En una casa solriega”
    From: El barberillo de Lavapiés
    By: Francisco Asenjo Barbieri
    Source: archive.org
    Plot synopsis: http://zarzuela.net/syn/barberil.htm
  3. “Coro de niñeras”
    By: Federico Chueca
    Source: archive.org
    Plot synopsis: https://www.zarzuela.net/syn/agua.htm
    Lyrics (with translation) at: http://www.zarzuela.net/text/tex_007.htm#agua
  4. “Ronda de enamorados”
    From: La del soto del parral
    By: Reveriano Soutullo and Juan Vert
    Source: archive.org
    Plot synopsis: http://zarzuela.net/syn/soto.htm
    Lyrics: http://zarzuela.net/text/tex_016.htm#sot02a

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