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Open Access Publications from the University of California

María del Carmen: Birth, Death, and Resurrection of Enrique Granados’s Operatic chef d’oeuvre

  • Author(s): Clark, Walter Aaron
  • et al.

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Granados is best known to opera-goers as the composer of the musically enchanting (if dramatically lackluster) Goyescas, a work derived from his eponymous piano suite, both compositions having been inspired by the art and epoch of the great Spanish painter Francisco de Goya (1746–1828). However, conspicuous by a lengthy absence has been his other Spanish opera, María del Carmen (1898), the stagework the composer himself esteemed most. This is the opera for which Granados should be famous.  The fact that it is not poses several questions.  Why did this opera languish in obscurity for decades, being revived only in 2003—outside of Spain—and then in a revision of uncertain faithfulness to the composer’s intentions? Indeed, is this the work that Granados originally conceived?  If not, where is Granados’s original score?  And why should we care?  What significance, if any, does this opera have in the history of Spanish music, culture, and even politics?  The following paragraphs present the answers to these questions.

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