06. Aphrodite’s Necklace Was Not Only a Joke: Jazz, Parody and Feminism in Spanish Musical Theatre (1900-1939)



1. Jacinto Guerrero, “No hay por qué gemir”

From: Los Gavilanes, 1923.


Lyrics: José Ramos Martín.
Teresa Berganza, Toñy Rosado, Manuel Ausensi, Carlos Munguía: voices; Coro Cantores de Madrid, choir (J. Perea, director); Gran Orquesta Sinfónica (Ataulfo Argenta, director).



The action of Los Gavilanes (a zarzuela in three acts) is located in a fishing village in Provence, in the mid-nineteenth century. The fox-trot (deliberate anachronism) is sung before triggering the tragedy. It’s a funny number that proposes exotic connotations played by Rosaura, determined and cheerful, accompanied by villagers. The fox (slow-fox in the second section) has a dramatic function, so that Rosaura can affirm her desire to be free to love whoever she wants and not to be swayed by social conventions.


2. Reveriano Soutullo and Juan Vert,
“Se pone el cuerpo así”

From: La leyenda del beso, 1924.


Lyrics: Enrique Reoyo, José Silva and Antonio Paso (son).
José Manzaneda, voice; Orfeó Gracienc, choir; Orquesta Sinfónica of Barcelona (Benito Lauret, director).



Taking place in a castle in Castile, the “big zarzuelaLa leyenda del beso included a “gipsy fox” (also called fox-garrotín) danced by a nobleman accompanied by a group of gypsy women. The number is used to oppose comically Parisian dance (referred to by the text) to national dance (garrotín), with plenty of percussion, whip and Chinese boxes. The gypsy appeal to grace of national dances against the invasion of foreign dances, pitting two cultures.


3. Francisco Alonso, “Charlestón del pingüino”

From: Las castigadoras (The Punishers), 1927.


Lyrics: Francisco Lozano, Joaquín Mariño y Eduardo Mariño Lozano.
Cándida Suárez, singer; Capdevila, orchestra director.



Considered the first modern Spanish musical revue, Las castigadoras (The Punishers) is a unique combination of tradition and modern customs. The plot is a sitcom starring women who work, wear short skirts, hair in a garçone manner, smoke and celebrate love, bullying men to dance Charleston.


4. Francisco Alonso, “Noche de cabaret”

From: Las castigadoras (The Punishers), 1927.


Lyrics: Francisco Lozano, Joaquín Mariño y Eduardo Mariño Lozano.
Dorini de Diso, voice; Pavón, director.



Typical of music hall, unrelated to the plot, it presents a cabaret where a jazz band is playing fox-trot, while the vedettes sing about love, madness, the champagne and the joy of living.


5. Francisco Alonso, “Fox-trot de los grumetes”

From: Mi costilla es un hueso (My Rib is a Bone), 1932.


Lyrics: Joaquín Vela and Enrique Sierra.
Orquesta Crazy Boys.



This musical piece takes place in the deck of a luxury liner, where the girls are dressed as cabin boys and sing of love and voluptuousness. In the orchestration Alonso introduced a vibraphone and banjo.


6. Francisco Alonso, “Canción de Mary”

From: Mi costilla es un hueso (My Rib is a Bone), 1932.


Lyrics: Joaquín Vela and Enrique Sierra.
Amparo Miguel Ángel, voice; Orquesta Crazy Boys.



Also from Mi costilla es un hueso, as the previous example, is a soft love theme song influenced by the style of Tin Pan Alley ballad.