“Governments have let the lyrical genre fade into oblivion”


Jesús de la Cruz Montiel Ruiz ‘Piti’ President of Los Amigos de la Zarzuela de Abarán “Although he resists death thanks to a minority”, confirms the author of ‘Abarán, a century of zarzuela’, calling for more official support

He has zarzuela in his veins, and it is no coincidence that he has a long history and experience dating back to the founding of Los Amigos de la Zarzuela in 1978, and of which he has been president for the second time since 2015. and highly respected voice, Jesús de la Cruz Montiel Ruiz ‘Piti’ (Abarán, 1961) has been an official of the Abarán City Council since 1990, is married to María Torres Marín and preached Holy Week in 2008 and local festivals in 2018, in besides the author of numerous posters.

–What did you discover while working on the book?

–I found out the number of people who participated in our city with the zarzuela. From various professions who enjoyed this lyrical genre for many years. I’ve also known stories and curious anecdotes that take you straight to that time.

–What motivated you to write this hundred years of zarzuela in Abarán?

-My debut in the world of zarzuela was on March 18, 1978. After these 44 years and in the midst of a pandemic, I thought that Abarán’s fame at regional and national level should not be forgotten and I could allow myself to say that saying “the cemetery is full of history” because it was not written.

– What sources did you use to get the hundreds of photos you give us?

– Compiling photos has been a constant work of research. There are many people who contributed old photos from the 1930s to the present. The book contains more than 1,900 black-and-white and color photographs, with the special feature that 95% of them are printed with the photo caption stating what is written on them.

Which characters have impressed you the most?

–I have had a fondness for the great dramatic actor Agustín Ramos; by the excellent comedians Obispo, Rámper, Leo and Consuelo Gil; by the actors Pepe and Joaquín de Monja; by the soprano Juanita Templado; by the male voices of Aurelio Gallego, Pepe Gálvez, Jesús ‘El Divo’ and José Roberto Molina, and as orchestra leaders and arrangers, Rogelio Gil Serna, the company’s creator, and Andrés Villalobos Templado.

What could you do that you haven’t done for the benefit of the zarzuela?

– Much remains to be done to promote zarzuela. I agree with Plácido Domingo’s initiative to “promote zarzuela around the world and take a tour of an exhibition of paintings full of light, shadows and colors, with glimpses of everyday life from all corners of Spain that reach life comes thanks to this music.The ideal would be to found a school where singing lessons (choral and individual) and theater workshops were given exclusively to zarzuela.

–Who are your favorite zarzuela composers?

– Pablo Sorozábal, Federico Moreno Torroba, Fernando Díaz Giles, Jacinto Guerrero, Chueca and Valverde, among others.

–How do you see the current panorama of this lyrical genre? What future are you waiting for?

-The zarzuela has been in crisis for fifteen years, there are no longer as many zarzuela companies as there used to be. In our country there are great voices of the lyric who find no place to perform and devote themselves professionally to that profession. The future is not encouraging, as governments have let our lyrical genre fade into oblivion without betting on it, as other countries have done with opera. But this genre refuses to die thanks to a minority. The civilian public that demands this lyrical genre has not disappeared, but now enjoys television programs that can be viewed for free at home.

– But where to start?

–Restoring, revising, preserving and disseminating the Spanish lyrical heritage, in particular the zarzuela, through grants aimed at conducting singing and theater workshops, as well as sponsoring the zarzuela companies in their projects and in the performances of his work.

–We are aware of the rapid recovery of the Zarzuela match lost many years ago, is that true?

-Yes. The presidents of the Friends of Art and Friends of Zarzuela have expressed to the mayor and the councilors of Culture and Folk Traditions the desire to regain the Zarzuela competitions closed in 2004 and also those of Lyric Singing, and they are in favor of the work, but we will have to wait until the next elections in May 2023 to see what the new government team thinks.

-A desire?

-That this dream has lived in Abarán for a hundred years with the zarzuela among us and for the new generations, and that politicians consider this activity in their budgets, help and recognize that, among other manifestations, our people are known beyond their borders for the zarzuela and the good work of his people.

Source: La Verdad


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