The Basque College of Music, Musikene, is taking part in the anniversary celebrations for José María Usandizaga (1887-1915) with a concert performance of “Las Golondrinas”, composed originally as a zarzuela operetta and transformed into an opera by his brother Ramón (1889-1964). The concert will feature the Musikene Symphony Orchestra, made up of students at the college, and the Orfeón Donostiarra, a choir with very close links to the composer himself.
The musical maestro Jesús Echeverría, coordinator of Orchestral Studies at Musikene, is leading this project, which involves the baritone Alberto Arrabal and a group of young singers trained at the college itself.
“Las Golondrinas” is, in its original version, a zarzuela operetta inspired by the drama “Saltimbanquis” by María Lejárraga and Gregorio Martínez Sierra. It first opened in Madrid’s Circo Price on 5th February 1914 and was a huge hit, confirming the tremendous talent of the very young José María. It then went on to be performed in Bilbao, San Sebastián, Valencia, Zaragoza, Uruguay and Argentina.
The version performed at this concert was created by his brother Ramón, following the premature death of José María Usandizaga in 1915. It contains no spoken dialogue and first opened in Barcelona’s Gran Teatro del Liceo on 14th December 1929.