Spain has a rich tradition of song and dance. You’re probably familiar with the feisty flamenco, or the rousing pasodoble. This week, get acquainted with the lesser-known zarzuela.
This form of musical theatre originated in Madrid and is much like an opera, but lighter and more fun. The Royal Opera House introduces Mumbai to the popular composition, Syndicate of Seducers, in collaboration with the Neemrana Music Foundation, the Embassy of Spain in India and Instituto Cervantes, New Delhi.
The story follows the adventures of a club of seducers, primarily Saboya, its most prolific member.
Zarzuela performance of Syndicate of Seducers
- WHEN: March 4, 7 pm
- WHERE: Royal Opera House, Mumbai
- Ticket prices start at Rs 300
Written in 1910 by the celebrated composer, Jose Serrano, the story follows the titular club and its most prolific seducer, Saboya. When a woman rejects his advances, and the syndicate threatens to expel him, Saboya’s only hope is to win over the first woman visible from the club’s window. As luck would have it, that woman turns out to be Isabel, wife of club president Cabrera. What unfolds is Cabrera’s tryst to save his beloved wife from the machinations of the Seducer-in-Chief.
The zarzuela has an India connection. “Cabrera whisks his wife from Madrid to Paris to Venice and ultimately to faraway India,” says conductor Roc Fargas i Castells.
The Syndicate of Seducers features Spanish opera songs, folk dance and dialogue, but is also infused with a generous dose of humour, says Asad Lalljee, curator of the Royal Opera House. “It might also remind Indian audiences of a Bollywood show, thanks to the spectacular sets and costumes.”
The set-in-India segment alone features the pasodoble and Hungarian and Klezmer dances. While the songs are sung in Spanish, the scenes will be enacted in English.
Among the largely Indian cast is young talent trained by the Neemrana foundation. “The actors are all trained opera singers,” says stage director Yashraj Jadhav. “They have worked very hard to nail the acting parts too.”