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The three hunchbacks

Time runs in favor of Manuel García, singer, composer, businessman, pedagogue, as well as the father of María Malibrán, Pauline Viardot-García and Manuel Patricio Rodríguez García, systematizer of his singing method. Baltasar Saldoni in his ‘Dictionary of ephemeris’, clarifies that he was “one of the musicians who most honor his country and with a universal reputation.” And today, a century and a half later, any approach to his figure continues to insist on the significance of the character and his legacy. The most current texts, from Randomsky to Moreno Mengíbar, surrender to an accumulation of events with an adventurous flavor, heroic desire, artistic triumph. There are others in relation to the harsh character, sometimes close to brutality. García did not know obstacles and his love

own must have been important. On the verge of reaching his retirement years and while he was collecting the last triumphs in Mexico, where he was involved in the stormy world of political disputes, several bandits stole all his belongings and fortune. Back, France recovered by dedicating itself to teaching through the application of its own principles that included practical lessons in the form of representable works, with which to show in society the vocal capacities of its students.

The Juan March Foundation is one of the institutions that have followed García’s work with the greatest fidelity. The last French period, more specifically his parlor operas for voices and piano, are in tune with the Chamber Musical Theater project that has been running for thirteen years and where “Le cinesi” (2017) and “Il finto sordo” ( 2019). Now “I tre gobbi” is premiered, renewing the collaboration with the Teatro de la Zarzuela, and the staging of “Un avvertimento ai gelosi” is expected in December in a production of the Center for Perfection of the Palau de les Arts in Valencia. “I tre gobbi” is represented in the March until October 4, with transmission by Classic Radio and in “streaming”. It will then go to the institution’s digital repository where all activities are accessible.

“I tre gobbi” adds to other works by García the good sense of a well-woven text. The composer looked at Carlo Goldoni’s “intermezzo” “La favola de’tre gobbi” and drew a work of apparent lightness. José Luis Arellano, the theatrical director of the proposal, anticipates in his analysis a certain moral sense, which in reality is more libertine than instructive, which implies an unspeakable general satisfaction. The crossed history of love, deceit and gifts between three rich hunchbacks and the lady they want to conquer, Madama Vezzosa, is explained in the final chorus singing to the joy of “loving in company”, “lieto fine” in which there is no judgment. but reward. The Venice of Goldoni was a scene of infinite possibilities that even today it is possible to know by looking at the “sotoportego de le pute” after having turned down the “calle dei santi”, in the Castello neighborhood.

That is why “I tre gobbi” is assembled in a boisterous tangle that Arellano squeezes into a tight space, barely a longitudinal canopy and uncovered in which acceleration is accentuated by the use of wheelchairs and a stimulating gesture in which he participates a fifth character, dancer, companion dog, servant and stimulus of perdition. The recreation of an intimate theater ends up being a wide-ranging, worked and meticulous show, which grows in Ikerne Giménez’s wardrobe and is animated in the suggestive red of the scenography, a homogeneous point due to the regularity of the lighting. Even because of the interpretive homogeneity with Rubén Fernández Aguirre, from the piano, the whole unites. The musical version is not exempt from pitfalls, including anachronism by adding, as was done in other productions, an instrumental interlude alien to the work; here is the “prelude to Mirambel 1”, “in memoriam” Antón García Abril that, like two pistols, accompanies the frozen gesture that the blessed interpreters have at that moment.

They are the nucleus that gives meaning to the work, those who suggest and recreate it. There is a well-matched overall impression that takes on good nuances. Cristina Toledo in her leading role draws a Madame Vezzosa capable of enlivening the show and doing it with clarity and vocal cleanliness. In Sunday’s performance David Alegret, like Bellavita, walked with ease and a determined performance. Javier Povedano made a vocal show in his representation of Parpagnacco, powerful, determined and highly nuanced after breaking the initial fear. The aria of the second act, “Se vi guardo ben bene nel volto” was great and a show of faculties. Finally, David the baritone brilliantly handled a complicated, stuttering role. Baron Macacco was the third suitor for a lady as cheerful as she was generous. With all this, “I tre gobbi” is now presented as the first modern interpretation in Spain. Better still, as a complement to the musical portrait of the much admired musician Manuel García: “Consuélate García, immortality is promised to you,” his friend Castil-Blaze read during the funeral.

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