Currently a ‘news’ circulates in the international press and on the Internet, telling people that a long lost opera by Enrique Granados has been discovered and will soon have its first performance in Spain since 1899. The opera’s name is ‘María del Carmen’. However, that’s an opera I reviewed early in 2005 when the live recording from a staging at The Theatre Royal, Wexford, was published by Marco Polo. It was in Wexford on 23 October 2003 where ‘María del Carmen’ received its first performance outside Spain.

‘María del Carmen’ premiered in Madrid on 12 November 1898. In 1935 a revival took place at Barcelona’s ‘Gran Teatre del Liceu’ and there were a few other performances in Spain in the 1960s. After the 2003 staging in Wexford, the most recent performance took place at the ‘Liceu’ in Barcelona in 2006. So what is this news about a ‘long lost opera’ which made journalists jump in their seats? Pure Bullshit? Indeed! The truth is that the material used for any performance after 1916 was based on copies of the score with revisions by Granados’s son Eduardo.

The real story is that the original score of ‘María del Carmen’ had disappeared and landed on the desk of Granados’s biographer Walter Aaron Clark. Not yesterday, not in 2013, but already in 2009!

Granados had the original manuscript in his luggage when he was drowned in 1916, while traveling back from the States to Europe. The ship he used, the Sussex, was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat. His luggage, and the ‘Maria del Carmen’ score, were later recovered from the wreck. In 1939 Granados’s son Victor gave the original score to the publisher Nathaniel Shilkret. However, due to objections from the rest of  the composer’s family the work could not be published. In December 2009 the complete original score of the opera was transferred to the library at the University of California at Riverside and restored. This score will be used for new upcoming performances in Spain and a subsequent recording of the work by Trito.

So, no real discovery, no lost opera, just bullshit circulating at tremendous speed in the Internet, where nobody dares to verify the facts.

Here is the review which was published by Pizzicato in 2005:

**** – E. Granados: María del Carmen; Diana Veronese, Larisa Kostyuk, Silvia Vazquez, Jesús Suaste,  Wexford Festival Opera Chorus, National Philharmonic Orchestra of Belarus, Max Bragado-Darman; 2 CDs Marco Polo 8.225292-93; 10/03 (103’19)

Die Oper ‘María del Carmen’ ist ein Frühwerk von Enrique Granados. Im Mittelpunkt steht die schöne Maria, die den armen Pencho (Bariton) liebt, der in einem Streit den reichen Javier (Tenor) verwundet hat. Um Pencho vor einer Anklage zu bewahren, willigt Maria in die Hochzeit mit Javier ein. Pencho aber provoziert Javier erneut, und als es zum Duell kommen soll, erfährt Javier, dass er krank ist und nicht mehr lange zu leben hat. Großmütig überlässt er Pencho das junge Mädchen und ermöglicht ihre Flucht. Granados schrieb dazu eine fantasievolle, brillant orchestrierte Musik, die besonders in den Ensemble-Szenen seine Kunst beeindruckend unterstreicht. Die Besetzung der Produktion des Theaters von Wexford ist kaum mehr als korrekt, während das Orchester unter der erfahrenen Leitung von Max Bragado-Darman aufhorchen lässt.

Im Textheft gibt es knappe Artikel zum Werk, aber kein Textbuch, dafür aber – wie sinnvoll! – die Namensliste des Orchesters… RéF

  • Pizzicato

  • Archives