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Francisco Asenjo Barbieri

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Francisco Asenjo Barbieri
Born(1823-08-03)3 August 1823
Madrid, Spain
Died19 February 1894(1894-02-19) (aged 70)
Madrid, Spain
Seat H of the Real Academia Española
In office
13 March 1892 – 19 February 1894
Preceded byPedro Antonio de Alarcón
Succeeded bySegismundo Moret

Francisco Asenjo Barbieri (3 August 1823 – 19 February 1894[1]) was a well-known composer of the popular Spanish opera form, zarzuela. His works include: El barberillo de Lavapiés, Jugar con fuego, Pan y toros, Don Quijote, Los diamantes de la corona, and El Diablo en el poder.



Asenjo Barbieri was born and died in Madrid, appropriately, since the themes and characters of his operas are often distinctly Spanish and Madrilenian. Among the characters featured by Barbieri are bullfighters, manolos and manolas, and even (in Pan y toros) the famous Spanish painter, Francisco Goya.

The character of much of Asenjo Barbieri's work is farcical, utilizing mistaken identity and other devices to entertain the audience. His themes deal largely with the ins and outs of love, and the relations between the upper and lower classes in nineteenth-century Spain, but there is also a distinct political character to much of his work. The zarzuelas El barberillo de Lavapiés and Pan y toros both contain plots to overthrow the government.

In addition to his compositions, he was also an accomplished performer. He was the founder of La España Musical (a society for the promotion of Spanish operetta) and the Society for Orchestral Music.[2]


  1. ^ "Hemeroteca Digital. Biblioteca Nacional de España".
  2. ^ "Francisco Asenjo Barbieri - letra H". Real Academia Española (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 May 2023.


  • Webber, Christopher: The Zarzuela Companion (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2002)