Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

WORKS: Luisa Fernanda
PERFORMER: Plácido Domingo, Nancy Herrera, José Bros, Raquel Pierotti, Javier Ferrer, Juan Antonio Sanabria, Mariola Cantarero, Sabina Puértolas, Federico Gallar, Ángel Rodríguez; Coro y Orquesta Titular del Teatro Real/Jesús López-Cobos
DG 476 5825 75:29 mins
CATALOGUE NO: 476 5825


Acclaimed on its Opus Arte DVD release last year, the Madrid/US production of Torroba’s 1932 magnum opus in the zarzuela genre has been edited anew to make an equally captivating audio experience. Zarzuela is a wider-ranging form than operetta and this top-notch specimen touches on tragedy and violent social revolution as implicit parts of its not-so-simple love story. Naturally melody and dance rule, but there are passages of drama and emotional power that demand, and receive, the full weight of Plácido Domingo’s artistry. A lifelong champion of Spanish stage works, he must take great pride in his achievement here. The cast is consistently strong, with José Bros brilliant as the tenor bad guy who gets the girl, Nancy Herrera spirited and elegant in the mezzo title role – their final duet is a heart-stopping moment of tenderness tinged with irony – and strong showings from chorus and supporting roles: try the once-famous Parasol Mazurka, surely an ancestor of the Ascot Gavotte in My Fair Lady. Jesús López-Cobos conducts this compactly shaped work with flair and sensitivity. Robert Maycock