Zarzuela (IPA /θarθ'wela/) is the Spanish lyrical opera. There are two main forms:

  1. Baroque zarzuela (c.1630–1750)
  2. Romantic zarzuela (c.1850–1950).

In 1657 at the Royal Palace of El Pardo, King Philip IV of Spain, Queen Mariana and their court attended the first performance of a new comedy by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, with music by Juan de Hidalgo. El Laurel de Apolo traditionally symbolises the birth of a new musical genre which had become known as La Zarzuela — after one of the King's hunting lodges, situated in a remote countryside thick with zarzas or brambles. The Baroque Zarzuela, a mixture of spoken (often verse) dialogue, operatic-style arias, popular songs and dances, often on mythological themes, enjoyed almost one hundred years of popularity before being edged out by the fashion for Italian Opera.

With the rise of nationalism in Spain, the zarzuela was resurrected as a form able to free Spanish music from the Italian yoke. Romantic zarzuela (1850-1950) can be subdivided into the Género grande, representing longer, operatic-style works in two or three acts, and the género chico encompassing shorter, more populist operettas in one act, approximately an hour in length. Romantic zarzuela is a combination of sung musical numbers, instrumental interludes and dialogue. Musical content ranges from full-scale operatic arias (romanzas) through to popular songs, and dialogue from high poetic drama to lowlife comedy characters. There are also many types of zarzuela in between the two, with a variety of musical and dramatic flavours.

Plácido Domingo's parents were zarzuela singers, and he grew up working in their touring company in Mexico. Zarzuela inspired him to sing and take to the stage.

See Musical theater, Operetta, Category: Spanish-language operas.

Ernesto Lecuona (1896-1963) is a Cuban composer of famous zarzuela as Siboney.

Zarzuela is also the name of a Spanish dish made of diverse sorts of seafood and fish, named after the minor opera genre above, due to the mixture of characters.

The Palacio de la Zarzuela is the residence of the Spanish royal family, outside Madrid. It is smaller than their official residence, the Royal Palace of Madrid, which is used for state occasions. The opera style was named for the palace.

es:Zarzuela id:Zarzuela ia:Zarzuela ja:サルスエラ


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