Florida Grand Opera brings free zarzuela to Coral Gables

By Stephanie Necuze….
Whether a first-generation Miamian or native of Latin America, most Hispanics can recall enjoying theatrical performances with spoken language and singing on their local town square or TV station.

Known as zarzuela, this Spanish musical theater tradition comes to South Florida’s main stage straight from Madrid’s Teatro Real through Florida Grand Opera’s (FGO) first production of Luisa Fernanda, which opens in November to begin the 2011-12 season.

In celebration of this Hispanic cultural cornerstone, FGO presents Cine Zarzuela, a summer-long film series designed to introduce Miami audiences to the lively music and romance of zarzuela through a sneak peek of Luisa Fernanda. The third event in a previously sold-out series, “Cine Zarzuela: Coral Gables” takes place on Aug. 16, 7 p.m., at the Coral Gables Art Cinema.

Guests attending the event will be joined by local Hispanic celebrities and leaders for a casual evening of film. The festivities begin with a brief lecture on the zarzuela tradition by Justin Moss, resident opera expert and FGO director of communications, followed by a screening of scenes from Teatro Real’s production of Luisa Fernanda, featuring Plácido Domingo in the leading male role of Vidal.

Among the featured scenes is the well-known love song Ay, mi morena, first heard when Domingo’s character professes his love for the heroine and then again with a melancholy tone in the zarzuela’s final scene. At the screening’s conclusion, attendees will gather in the cinema’s courtyard for a complimentary wine reception and flamenco performance by local dancers.

The Cine Zarzuela series is free to the public. However, seating is limited for all events and reservations are required. RSVPs are accepted by phone by calling the Box Office at 1-800-741-1010 or by email at lmerritt@fgo.org. More information about upcoming Cine Zarzuela events can be found on Florida Grand Opera’s website at www.FGO.org.

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