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date: 16 November 2019

Vida breve, La (‘The Short Life’)locked

  • Ronald Crichton

Extract

(‘The Short Life’)

Lyric drama in two acts and four scenes by Manuel de Falla to a libretto by Carlos Fernández Shaw ; Nice, Municipal Casino, 1 April 1913 (in French).

Set in Granada at the beginning of the 20th century, Act 1 scene i takes place in the gypsy quarter on the Albaicín hill. A young gypsy, Salud (soprano), is anxiously awaiting her lover Paco, who has promised to marry her. Her grandmother (mezzo-soprano) tries to console her, warning her against loving too much. The scene is punctuated by voices from a nearby forge lamenting the lot of those born to be anvils rather than hammers. Paco (tenor) arrives, protesting eternal faithfulness. The couple sing a rapturous duet. Unnoticed by them, the old lady’s brother tío Sarvaor (bass) enters, in threatening mood. In the town he has heard a rumour that Paco is about to marry a girl of his own prosperous class. The grandmother calms him down. Salud and Paco arrange to meet next day. Scene ii is an orchestral intermezzo, with wordless chorus, depicting night falling over Granada. It is played with the curtain up....

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