Personalities | Juan Hidalgo | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera
c. 1612–85, Spanish
Most works by Juan Hidalgo, who was born in Madrid, were intended for church performance. However, Hidalgo was greatly attracted to Italian opera. While it would not have been acceptable for him to use the opera style in church music, he did introduce it into several of his secular songs and other vocal settings. This led to collaboration with the famous Spanish dramatist Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600–81), who was master of the revels of the Spanish king, Philip IV. The partnership was to be epoch-making in the context of Spanish music. Together, Hidalgo and Calderón produced the first Spanish opera, La púrpura de la rosa (‘The Colour of the Rose’, c. 1660). Unfortunately, neither the text nor the music of La púrpura have survived, but it was followed in the same year by another opera that is extant, Celos aun del aire matan (‘Even Jealousy of the Air Can Kill’, c. 1660). Another important composition by Hidalgo was the first zarzuela, his Los cielos hacen estrellas (‘The Skies have Stars’, 1672) which established the traditional form of Spanish opera.
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