Biography of Federico Moreno Torroba (1891-1982)

Spanish composer born in Madrid on March 3, 1891 and died in the same city on September 12, 1982. It is one of the most popular operettas of 20th-century composers.

He started in music with his father, the organist, conductor and composer José Moreno Ballesteros, to continue his studies at the Conservatory of Madrid, where he was student of Conrado del Campo. As a composer he initially tempted symphonic music with works that include paintings Castilian or Zoraida. Shortly thereafter he began writing operettas, and already with the first one, the innkeeper of Tordesillas, obtained great success. This work, with libretto by Sepulveda and Manzano, premiered at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid in 1925 and its plot is set in the Court of King Felipe IV. But the work that led him to devote itself to this genre was Luisa Fernanda (1932), with libretto by Federico Romero and Guillermo Fernández-Shaw, a duo of writers popular at the time.

A year later, in 1933, he composed the Asturian environment zarzuela Xuanón titled, and already in 1934 opened the second of his "great zarzuelas": La Chulapona, which was enough to works of other masters such as Ruperto Chapí (La Revoltosa) and Amadeo Vives (Doña Francisquita) and that combined these influences with elements of folklore Andalusian and Spanish musical nationalism. The chulapona is a drama in three acts by castizos aires set in Madrid in late 19th century, and again with a libretto by Romero and G. Fernández-Shaw. Their most famous numbers are the Romanza of José María, or the final Duet of the two women, Manuela the protagonist and Rosario.

The success of this zarzuela led him to enter at the Academy of fine arts of San Fernando in 1934. Entrance ceremony he wrote the speech entitled the man in the music, in which he defended the Spanish popular musical tradition. In addition to this writing, Moreno Torroba produced musical reviews for the Madrid newspaper information, but the outbreak of the Civil war forced him to interrupt this task.

The chulapona followed zarzuelas as noteworthy as Monte Carmelo (1936), Marvel (1942), La Caramba (1942), María Manuela (1953) and dancing in captaincy (1960). His relationship with the guitarist Andrés Segovia gave as a result many pieces for guitar, solo or with Orchestra, including the concert of Castile (1960), flamenco concert (1962) and adventures and misadventures of Don Quixote (1982). In 1975 he was elected President of the General Society of authors in Spain and for several years he directed various Madrid theaters as the Calderón and La Zarzuela. His awards include the Gold Medal of the city of Madrid.

Selected discography

Long live the zarzuela. (works of Moreno Torroba, Amadeo Vives, Pablo Sorozábal and others). Performers: Orquesta Sinfonica de Madrid/Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife, Plácido Domingo, Alfredo Kraus, María Bayo etc. VALOIS. Luisa Fernanda. Cast: Juan Pons, Veronica Villarroel, Placido Domingo, Ana Rodrigo, Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid. Director: Antoni Ros Marbà. VALOIS. Music of Torroba. Performers: David Russell (guitar). TELARC. The Chulapona. Performers: Milagros Martín; Carmen González; Ricardo Muniz; José Luis Cancela; Chorus of the Teatro de la Zarzuela; Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid. Director: Miguel Roa. Circle Digital.

Links on the Internet; Website of the teatro de la Zarzuela de Madrid (in Spanish).; Web page dedicated to the world of zarzuela. It contains biographies of composers and synopses of zarzuelas (in English).


CASARES, E. graphic history of zarzuela: creators. Madrid: ICCMU, 2001.

SUÁREZ, e. four centuries of zarzuelas: Chronicles of the political, social and lyrical Spain, 17TH, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Madrid: E. Suárez, 2002.

VV.. The book of the zarzuela. Madrid: Daimon, 1982.