There is nothing in modern American opera repertory like this type of musical drama. The Spanish court from which the zarzuela comes attracted the best European composers and admired both Italian and French trends, but it did not copy them. It adapted the new operatic genre to its taste. One of the adaptations was to cut down the relentless sung dialogues (recitativo), accompanied by a harpsichord, except before a sung poem (aria) and replace them with speech. The audiences admired the long declamations and soliloquies which pause the action. And they liked the parallel plots with comic characters, traditional even in tragedy, much like Elizabethan drama. (Joseph R. Jones)
This season’s production,_ Love conquers impossible love_, contains all these elements into which is woven the little-known story of Danae, the Greek goddess of music and poetry, with a surprise spectacular ending. Sung in Spanish, dialogue in English, it’s a stunning production overseen by young Mexican stage director Federico Figueroa whose career has taken him to the major opera houses of Spain, including the Teatro de la Zarzuela and the Teatro Real, as well as the Teatro Municipal de Bogotá and the Gran Teatro de La Habana directing the major 19th c. operatic repertory. His work alongside our mentor in baroque opera, Gustavo Tambascio, has laid on Federico the mantel of that great Argentine-Spanish icon. That will be obvious in this new and only second modern production of Imposible!
It was foretold that Danae, childless, would never have a son but would have a daughter whose son would kill Danae’s father, King Acrisius of Argos. To avoid this the King had Danae imprisoned in a tower from which there could be no escape unless it rained gold! Zeus, having seen and been smitten by the beauty of Danae plotted to save her from this prison. The dénouement of the story is in the spectacular final scene of the opera.