Plšcido Domingo Stars in New Production of Luisa Fernanda in Washington

Classic Arts News   Plšcido Domingo Stars in New Production of Luisa Fernanda in Washington
The Washington National Opera presents a new production of Federico Moreno Torroba's 1932 zarzuela Luisa Fernanda tonight, with Plšcido Domingo in the baritone role of Vidal Hernando.

Domingo, the company's general director, is the son of two prominent performers of zarzuela, a form of popular opera that originated in Spain in the 17th century. "People say I was born into music; my mother was brought home from the theater, where she was singing zarzuela, to give birth to me," Domingo has said. "In fact, I owe my love of music to the zarzuelas I so often heard from the day I was born."

Domingo's parents often starred in Luisa Fernanda, with his father playing Vidal. In the late 1950s, at the age of 16, Domingo accompanied his father on a zarzuela tour of Mexico.

"I sang in the chorus, played the piano to bolster the small orchestra, recited dialogue, and did whatever else was required from me," Domingo remembered. "While we were in Veracruz, the tenor fell ill and I was asked to replace him for one performance of Luisa Fernanda. It was a momentous occasion for me to be making my debut as a tenor."

Luisa Fernanda is set in 1868, a time of conflict between republicans and royalists in Spain. The title character is love with the royal soldier Javier, but engaged to Vidal Hernando, a rich republican.

The opening-night cast includes soprano Maria Jos_ Montiel as Luisa and Israel Lozano as Javier. Miguel Roa, a zarzuela specialist, conducts; Emilio Sagi, the artistic director of Madrid's Teatro Real, is the director.

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