María del Carmen
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About the opera María del Carmen
María del Carmen is an opera in three acts composed by Enrique Granados to a Spanish libretto by José Feliú i Codina based on his 1896 play of the same name. It was Granados's first operatic success and although largely forgotten today, he considered it to be his best opera. At the end of its initial run in Madrid where it premiered in 1898, Queen Maria Cristina awarded Granados the Charles III Cross in recognition of his work. The opera, sometimes described as a Spanish version of Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana with a happy ending, is set in a village in the Spanish region of Murcia and involves a love triangle between María (soprano) and her two suitors, the peasant farmer, Pencho (baritone), and his wealthy rival, Javier (tenor).Read more on Wikipedia
A critic from the Diario de Barcelona recalled that following the 1896 premiere of Feliú i Codina's stage play María del Carmen, he heard another critic tell the author, "For God's sake don't allow anyone to set this to music." Nevertheless, Feliú i Codina, who had also written the libretto for a one-act zarzuela by Granados, Los Ovillejos, agreed to adapt his play for Granados's opera. The resulting libretto was a considerably shorted version of the original work as well as a simplification of the plot. However, it included additions such as a lavish village procession in Act 1 and a dance number during the fiesta in Act 2. Granados and Feliú i Codina put a fair amount of work into making the libretto 'authentic', travelling to rural Murcia to observe the region's landscape, culture, songs and speech patterns.. The composer Amadeo Vives was instrumental in securing the first performance of the opera in Madrid and helped coordinate the production with the Teatro Parish. During the orchestral rehearsals, Granados was assisted by Pablo Casals, who also conducted a private performance of the opera at the Teatro Principal in Madrid prior to its official premiere.