La Gran Via, Federigo Chueca

Title La Gran Via
English Title The Boulevard
Composer Federigo Chueca
Librettists Felipe Pérez y Gonzalez
Orchestration Joaquin Valverde
Language Spanish, Dutch translation available
Genre Zarzuela (light opera/operetta)
First performance 2 July 1886, Teatro Felipe, Madrid
Time of action 1886
Place of action Madrid
Main parts
  • Caballero de Gracia, baritone
  • A street-lounger, spoken part
  • A housemaid, contralto or soprano
  • The Elíseo, soprano
  • Three thieves, two tenors and one bass/baritone
  • Policeman, baritone
Prominence of chorus Considerable
Orchestra 2 flutes, 1 oboe, 2 clarinets, 1 bassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani/percussion, strings
Special demands
Full score and orchestral parts Full score available

Orchestral material in revision, currently not available

Level Not difficult
Length One act, about one hour

Continuous string of lively and catchy numbers. The polka of streets and alleys, the Caballero de Gracia’s waltz, the servant-girl’s gloriously vulgar tango, the Eliseo madrileño mazurka, the sailors’ song: all of them little masterpieces.


Wandering through the city, a street-lounger finds himself in a sort of hospital waiting-room, in the company of the streets, alleys and squares of Madrid. Behind a door, the city is giving birth to La Gran Via, a grand new boulevard, to which, it is feared, many old parts of the town will be sacrificed. The Caballero de Gracia, one of Madrid’s main streets, appears; this conceited personage expresses the wish to contract a marriage with the new boulevard. A doctor announces that the birth is not immediately due. The Caballero the Gracia is then taken on tour of the city by the street-lounger; among the places they visit are suburbs, the docks, a dancing-place, the arena, a skating rink; they meet various colourful characters: a servant-girl, thieves, roller-skaters, sailors, policemen etc. In the end they return to the hospital. Suddenly the new boulevard is born. Such miracles only happen on special days such as this: the thirtieth of February. The spectacle ends with a procession to the music of the opening number.

Costumes Men: policemen and townspeople. Women: sailors and townspeople.
Link Wikipedia (es)

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Tags: Chueca | Fransen