Federico Moreno-Torroba Larregla, son of composer Frederico Moreno Torroba, will travel to Los Angeles from Spain on February 7 to begin orchestra rehearsals for the zarzuela, Luisa Fernanda. Moreno-Torroba Larregla will conduct his father's famous score during four performances presented by the Pacific Lyric Association at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre, February 19-21.
"My father was close friends with the librettists, [Federico] Romero and [Guillermo Fernandez] Shaw," says Moreno-Torroba Larregla. "They met at the cafe every day to drink, eat, and talk about art and politics. My father was a man of conservative political and social ideas who supported the monarchy. When Romero and Shaw showed him their libretto for Luisa Fernanda and asked him to compose the music, he was struck by the parallels between the Spanish political climate of 1868 and the current one in 1932."
Written in 1932, Luisa Fernanda takes place during Spain's Glorious Revolution ("La Gloriosa"), the 1868 popular uprising that deposed Queen Isabella II. The tale is a love story - but its deeper themes speak to the universal desire for democracy. La Gloriosa was the first time in Spanish history that the people spoke out against their monarchy to demand a government that spoke for them. A zarzuela (pronounced zar zway' la) is a Spanish lyric-dramatic genre that alternates between spoken and sung scenes, the latter incorporating operatic and popular song as well as dance. The form, created in the 17th century, became wildly popular in the 1920s and '30s and is a forerunner of musical theater, blending the passion of opera with the brilliance of Broadway.
Born in Madrid, Federico Moreno-Torroba Larregla is a third generation musician. In addition to being a composer, arranger and director, he is the founder of a music publishing company that controls his own work as well as that of his father. In addition to conducting and directing throughout Spain with his own company, the Compania Lirica Moreno-Torroba, he has regularly visited the United States and was a professor of music at Grossmont College in La Mesa, California from 1992-1998. In the U.S., he has directed and conducted several zarzuelas and operettas including Luisa Fernanda, The Merry Widow and La Chulapona.
Performances of Luisa Fernanda are scheduled on Thursday, February 19 at 8 pm; Friday, February 20 at 8 pm; and Saturday, February 21 at 3 pm and 8 pm. Tickets range from $20.00-$75.00. The Ricardo Montalban Theatre is located at 1615 Vine Street, Hollywood CA 90028. To purchase tickets, call (323) 960-1057 or go to www.luisafernanda.org./