Yerma (opera)

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Yerma is an opera in three acts by Heitor Villa-Lobos based on the tragedy of the same name by Federico García Lorca.

History[edit]

Yerma was commissioned in 1955 by Hugh Ross, the conductor of the New York Schola Cantorum an old friend of Villa-Lobos, and by John Blankenship, at that time head of the drama department at Sarah Lawrence College. The original plan was that García Lorca's play would be translated into English by the British poet Alastair Raid and Hugh Ross, but Villa-Lobos immediately began setting the original Spanish text.[1] It was composed partly in New York, partly in Paris, and was finished in 1956.[2]

Yerma was first performed by the Santa Fe Opera in Santa Fe, New Mexico on August 12, 1971[3][4] (erroneously reported in one source as July 12),[5] and repeated just once, on August 18.[6] The Santa Fé premiere was produced by Basil Langton, choreographed by José Limón, with scenery by Allen Charles Klein.[7] Paintings by Giorgio de Chirico were projected on the walls during the intermissions.[8]

In 1983 the opera was staged for the first time in Brazil, at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, with Aurea Gomez and Benito Maresca, conducted by Mário Tavares,[9] and in 1987 this Spanish-language opera was performed for the first time in a Spanish-speaking country, at the Teatro Solís in Montevideo. The title role was sung by the Mexican soprano María Luisa Tamez, supported by Brazilian tenor Benito Maresca and Uruguayan baritone Fernando Barabino. Staging was by Jorge Curi, and David Machado conducted.[10] A concert version was presented from July 12–21, 1989 by Opera on the Move in the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank's Latin American Festival, "Viva!", with Anna Steiger in the title role and Odaline de la Martinez conducting,[11] while the European staged premiere was given by the Bielefeld Opera in 1991.[12] The opera was given its second staging in Brazil at the Teatro Amazonas in Manaus in April 2010. The lead roles were taken by Eliane Coelho, Marcelo Puente, Homero Velho, and Keila de Moraes. Marcelo de Jesus conducted.[13]

Roles[edit]

Role[3][14] Voice type Premiere cast[14]
12 August 1971
(Conductor: Christopher Keene)
Yerma soprano Mirna Lacambra
Juan, her husband tenor John Wakefield
Victor, Yerma's youthful lover baritone Theodor Uppman
Maria, Yerma's friend mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade
An old woman mezzo-soprano Elaine Bonazzi
Dolores mezzo-soprano Judith Farris
Masked Man tenor C. Allen Barker
Masked Woman soprano Barrie Smith
1st Laundress soprano Karen A. Barlar
2nd Laundress soprano Bonnie R. Bradley
3rd Laundress soprano Ellen Phillips
4th Laundress mezzo-soprano Barbara Sacks
5th Laundress mezzo-soprano Barrie Smith
6th Laundress mezzo-soprano Ellen Vincent
Young Girl Roslyn Jhunever
Young Girl Linda Rasmussen
Another Girl, Dolores's daughter Judith Farris
Yerma's sister-in-law Martha Ann Thigpen
Yerma's sister-in-law Susan Treacy
Female singer Barrie Smith
Male singer C. Allen Barker
Voice of a child Jack Stanton

Reception[edit]

Despite the fact that it occurred twelve years after the composer's death, the Santa Fé premiere of Yerma attracted widespread attention from the press, not only from American publications like the New York Times and Newsweek, but also from several Swiss newspapers and the Brazilian daily, Jornal do Brasil, the latter no doubt because the opera was the work of the most distinguished Brazilian composer of his time.[15]

Recordings[edit]

  • Villa-Lobos: Yerma. Lacambra, Stanton, Wakefield, von Stade, Uppmann, Bonazzi. conductor: Christopher Keene. Live recording, August 12, 1971, Santa Fé. CD recording, 2 audio discs: analogue, 4¾ in., stereo. CDALD4442S. Duluth, GA: House of Opera, n.d.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lisa M. Peppercorn, "Villa-Lobos's Stage Works". Revue belge de Musicologie / Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Muziekwetenschap 36 (1982–84): 175-84. Citation on 181.
  2. ^ Lisa M. Peppercorn, "Villa-Lobos's Commissioned Compositions", Tempo, new series, no. 151 (December 1984): 28–31. Citation on 28–29.
  3. ^ a b Nicholas Ivor Martin (2013). The Opera Manual. Scarecrow Press. p. 407.
  4. ^ David P. Appleby (1988). Heitor Villa-Lobos: A Bio-Bibliography. Bio-Bibliographies in Music 9. New York, Westport, and London: Greenwood Press. pp. 117–18. ISBN 0-313-25346-3.
  5. ^ Lisa M. Peppercorn, "Villa-Lobos's Commissioned Compositions", Tempo, new series, no. 151 (December 1984): 28–31. Citation on 29.
  6. ^ Lisa M. Peppercorn, "Villa-Lobos's Stage Works". Revue belge de Musicologie / Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Muziekwetenschap 36 (1982–84): 175-84. Citation on 180.
  7. ^ David P. Appleby (1988). Heitor Villa-Lobos: A Bio-Bibliography. Bio-Bibliographies in Music 9. New York, Westport, and London: Greenwood Press. p. 118. ISBN 0-313-25346-3.
  8. ^ Martin Bernheimer, "World Premiere of Opera Yerma", Los Angeles Times (August 16, 1971): E1.
  9. ^ Nazir Bittar Filho, "Yerma de Villa-Lobos: um estudo dos aspectos dramático-musicais e performáticos". Ph.D. diss. (Campinas, SP: Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Instituto de Artes, 2012): 147–48.
  10. ^ Graciela Paraskevaídis (20 November 1987). "La "Yerma" de Villa-Lobos" (PDF). Brecha. Montevideo.
  11. ^ [Dean Frey], "Yerma". Indiana University Heitor Villa-Lobos Website (2008, accessed 26 April 2015); Guy Rickards, "Yerma", Tempo, new series, no. 170 (September 1989): 42-43.
  12. ^ Klaus Kirchberg, "Bielefeld: Villa-Lobos, Yerma", Opernwelt 32, no. 2 (February 1991): 46–47; Jörg Loskill, "Krupp-Kavalier und Frauen-Frust: Rosenkavalier in Essen und Lorcas Yerma in Bielefeld", Das Orchester 39, no. 3 (March 1991): 281–82.
  13. ^ Nazir Bittar Filho, "Yerma de Villa-Lobos: um estudo dos aspectos dramático-musicais e performáticos". Ph.D. diss. (Campinas, SP: Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Instituto de Artes, 2012): 151–53.
  14. ^ a b "Yerma". Santa Fe Opera Archives. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  15. ^ Lisa M. Peppercorn, "Villa-Lobos's Stage Works". Revue belge de Musicologie / Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Muziekwetenschap 36 (1982–84): 175-84. Citation on 180.

Further reading[edit]

  • Anon. (1971). "Music: Infertility Rites". Time (Monday, August 23).
  • Anon. (1991). "Bielefeld". Oper und Konzert 29 (January): 29.
  • Bernheimer, Martin (1971). "Santa Fé: Posthumous Villa-Lobos". Opera 22 (Autumn): 98–100.
  • Emert, Harold (1983). "Yerma Comes Home at Last". High Fidelity: Musical America Edition 33 (December): 32–34.
  • Fairman, R. (1989). "Yerma (Villa-Lobos): Opera on the Move at the Queen Elizabeth Hall". Opera 40 (October): 1260.
  • Faro, A. J. (1984). "Rio de Janaeiro". Opera 35 (February): 188–89.
  • Ferraz, Antonio Paulo (1988). "Yerma". Revista do Brasil 4, no. 1:81–90.
  • Gilmore M. S. (1975). "Bel Air, Maryland". Opera News 40 (October): 54–55.
  • Gruber, Alexander, Frank J. Harders-Wuthenow, John Dew, Horst Henke, Federico García Lorca, and Heitor Villa-Lobos (1990). Yerma [programme booklet]. Bielefeld: Bühnen D. Stadt.
  • Potter, Keith (1989). "Viva: Impressions of Latin America". The Musical Times 130, no. 1760 ("Aspects of the Keyboard", October): 626–27.
  • Sherman, Robert (1971). "Opera: Yerma, by Villa-Lobos, Bows". The New York Times (August 14): 13.
  • Sutcliffe, J. H. (1991). "Bielefeld". Opera 42 (March): 322–24.
  • Waugh, Lynne (1971). "Vivas for Villa-Lobos Yerma". The Christian Science Monitor 63 (August 14): 7.

External links[edit]