GURIDI: El caserio

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Jes??s Guridi (1886-1961)
El Caserio (The Homestead) - Lyric Comedy in Three Acts
Original Libretto in Castilian by Federico Romero and Guillermo Fernandez-Shaw Santi - Vicente Sardinero (Baritone)
Ana Mari - Ana Rodrigo (Soprano)
Jose Miguel - Emilio Sanchez (Tenor)
Chomin - Felipe Nieto (Tenor)
Don Leoncio / Don Jesusito / Man?? - Fernando Latorre (Tenor)
Eustasia / Inosensia - Maria Jose Suarez (Soprano) Sociedad Coral de Bilbao (Gorka Sierra, Director)
Orquesta Sinfonica de Bilbao
Juan Jose Mena, Director   The 1926 premi?¿re of El Caserio (The Homestead) at Madrid's Teatro de la Zarzuela was one of the highlights of Guridi's career. He had wanted to find a new direction after his earlier stage works (Mirentxu and Amaya), while keeping the Basque setting, and did so with this three-act zarzuela, confident that his skill and theatrical flair would win him a place amongst the great figures of the genre. This, the first of Guridi's seven operatic works in Castilian (rather than Basque) signalled the start of a fruitful relationship with librettists Federico Romero and Guillermo Fernandez-Shaw, then at the height of their powers following the huge success of Dona Francisquita (one of the best works of its genre). El Caserio tells the story of the people of an imaginary Basque village, Arrigorri. Santi, owner of the homestead Sasibill, hopes its future will be assured by marriage between his nephew and niece: Jose Miguel, who loves the good things in life, and his sweet-natured cousin Ana Mari, with whose mother Santi was secretly in love. Santi has to use all his ingenuity in order to show the womanising Jose Miguel that he is really in love with his cousin. The plot progresses steadily towards its predictably happy ending with a good mix of simplicity and humour along the way, not forgetting of course picturesque touches in the shape of local songs, festivities, processions, dances and a contest between bertsolaris (poetry improvisers). Different social classes are represented in the story, and the dialogue includes examples of certain syntactic elements peculiar to the Castilian spoken in Basque villages. Unlike Amaya, which follows the Wagnerian model, El Caserio is composed in the classic zarzuela structure of consecutive numbers, with distinct romanzas, ensembles and choruses. Basque colour is present throughout the score, introduced by means of dance rhythms, notably that of the zortziko which acts as a common thread woven through the whole musical fabric. It appears in the most significant sections, each time adapted to the particular nature of the action: tender and sentimental in Santi's romanza, grandiose in the second-act prologue, defiant in the bertsolaris' contest and loving in the second-act finale. El Caserio contains Basque folk songs and dance rhythms, as well as original melodies composed along the lines of traditional folk music, a technique at which Guridi excelled. It also includes, as was usual for the genre, numbers built on rhythms and dances fashionable at the time, such as the americana (Jose Mari's love song, 'No se que veo en Ana Mari', Act Two), and folk-based numbers such as the seguidilla featured in the third-act comic duet for Inosensia and Chomin, or the regular beat of the sonsonete in 'Con el trebole' (quartet, Act One). The Italian aria also has its place, in the first-act duet for Ana Mari and Jose Miguel. The orchestration is lively and rich in colour throughout, and Guridi makes magnificent use of the dramatic and expressive potential of choral writing. The Prelude to Act One opens with a melodic phrase made to sound modal by the modified seventh, often used in works with a Basque setting, conjuring up the peaceful countryside in which the story will unfold. The upcoming fiesta is soon heralded by the txistu and tamboril (respectively a three-hole pipe and a double drum, played by the same person), with an offstage chorus supported by the rhythms of the arin-arin dance. After Ana Mari and Jose Miguel's duet ('Buenos dias') and the 'Con el trebole' quartet, comes Santi's moving romanza, 'Sasibill mi caserio', in tripartite form, a long lyrical episode enclosed by two sections built on the characteristic 5/8 rhythm of the zortziko. In anticipation of the happy ending, the chorus hums a love song. The Prelude to Act Two is one of the work's best-known numbers. An orchestral gem, it outlines all the main themes, and leads into a series of traditional festive scenes: the pelota match, choral singing through the streets ('Pello Joshepe'), religious processions, prayers and the espatadantza (Basque sword dance). In the middle of all this, Jose Miguel, in a gently swaying melody ('Yo no se que veo en Ana Mari', in americana rhythm), becomes aware of his true feelings for his cousin, while the act's final trio contains the greatest suspense and drama of the work as a whole. In Act Three, nature, the mountains and the rain create the atmosphere for Ana Mari's lament, its simple religious sentiment emphasised by a melody with far-off echoes of church song ('En la cumbre del monte'). This number is followed by a lively contrast: the inevitable comic duet, here about single people's hopes of marriage ('Dise mi madre'). Ultimately, of course, the whole tangle of relationships is resolved, and joyful celebrations ensue. Santiago Gorostiza ---   Synopsis The story is set in Arrigori, an imaginary village in the Basque province of Biscay, in the early twentieth century. Act One The setting is the yard of the 'Sasibill' homestead and its outbuildings, one of which is a cider-house. 'Sasibill' is currently home to the local mayor, Santi, and his niece and nephew, Ana Mari and Jose Miguel, the children of Santi's two brothers who emigrated to America to seek their fortune. When they died, Santi brought the two children to live with him at Sasibill. Ever since, Ana Mari has dedicated herself to looking after the house and her uncle, who adores her. Her cousin is less settled -- he is an attractive young man who enjoys life to the full and has become a good pelota player. With them lives a labourer, Chomin, while husband and wife Man?? and Eustasia live in the cider-house with their daughter Inosensia, a gauche young woman for whom Eustasia is trying to find a good match. Day breaks at Sasibill and a chorus of voices can be heard in the distance: 'Cuando sale el sol / quiero contemplar / desde mi ventana el arrebol...' (As the sun rises / I love to watch the red glow / from my window...) Eustasia comes out of her house, dressed for church. She bumps into Ana Mari who is worried because Jose Miguel is not back from a night on the town in Bilbao. When Santi appears, Ana Mari tells him Jose Miguel came back the night before and has already left for Mass; Santi does not believe her. At this point Man?? appears, followed soon afterwards by Don Jesusito, the town clerk. Eustasia goes inside to look for her daughter, while Santi tells Chomin to take care of the cattle and pigs while he and the others are at church. They all leave apart from Ana Mari and Chomin, who declares his love to the young girl and offers to take her away to Mexico with him. Ana Mari turns him down, but as gently as she can. In the following scene two village girls, Miren and Cata, joke with Ana Mari. She then leaves and Jose Miguel enters, light-heartedly singing: 'Yo te dire al oido / lo que te he de decir.' (I'll whisper to you / what I have to say.) Speaking over a musical backdrop, he flirts with the girls and tells them he
Disc: 1
El caserio (The Homestead)
1 Act I: Prelude
2 Act I: Cuando sale el sol (As the sun rises) (Chor
3 Act I: Nochesita de estrellas (Lovely starlight ni
4 Act I: Buenos dias (Hello) (Ana Mari, Jose Miguel)
5 Act I: Con el trebole y el toronjil (With clover a
6 Act I: Romance: Sasibill, mi caserio (Sasibill my
7 Act I: Finale: Acudiros y llegaros (Come along and
8 Act II: Prelude
9 Act II: Pello Joshepe [Popular Basque Song] (Choru
10 Act II: Romance: Yo no se que veo en Ana Mari (I k
11 Act II: Procession: Reina del cielo hermosa (Fair
12 Act II: Espatadantza (Sword Dance)
13 Act II: Con alegria inmensa tu resolucion (With gr
14 Act II: Chiquito de Arrigorri (Young Man of Arrigo
15 Act II: Finale: Basta ya de bailes y de boberias!
16 Act III: Prelude and Chorus: Mientras llueve sin c
17 Act III: Relato de Ana Mari: En la cumbre del mont
18 Act III: Mientras llueve sin cesar / While the rai
19 Act III: Cuando hay algo que haser no se debe duda
20 Act III: Finale: Sasibill, mi caserio (Sasibill my
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