Lara Diloy conducts ‘El año pasado por agua’ at the Teatro de la Zarzuela

Lara Diloy fits perfectly into the letter and spirit of Proyecto Zarza, which seeks – and is succeeding – in rejuvenating a genre, zarzuela, about which there is much prejudice and ignorance, especially among the young. This is not the case of the Madrid conductor, who for some years has maintained a relationship with the Spanish lyric genre and with the Teatro de la Zarzuela; she will be in its pit from next Friday 24th until March 1st to conduct the performances of ‘El año pasado por agua’, the new offering of the aforementioned Proyecto Zarza.

>> Read the full story in ABC

The aspects of conducting that Lara Diloy most enjoys are, on the one hand, “being able to capture the idea that you have of the score in your head – it is something that gives great satisfaction – and there is also another aspect, more emotional or even social, which is the fact of being able to work with a group of people and being able to move their energy, whether it is an orchestra or a choir, and to unite it with that of the audience”.

Fortunately, the fact that a woman holds the baton of an orchestra is starting to cease to attract attention, but it is still an exception. I belong to a generation in which, fortunately, things are changing a lot,” says Lara Diloy, “there are more and more of us and our presence is becoming naturalised.

In Madrid Actual, Lara Diloy pointed out the importance of artistic and musical education in this interview.

>> Read the full interview in Madrid Actual

Q:-How did you approach zarzuela?

A: I had already played zarzuela from the pit. As for conducting, the first time I approached the Teatro de la Zarzuela itself was with a project, in an educational production which was an adaptation of Valtinoni’s opera “Pinocchio” into Spanish for children’s audiences. I was the director of the Coro de Voces Blancas. That was the first production I did, in 2016. From then on, I started doing productions as assistant director. Then I directed titles like “Golondrinas”, “El cantor de México”, “Doña Francisquita”, “El rey que rabió”. That is to say, I’ve been doing there more or less around one or two titles per season. Since then, I’ve been forming my own path.  

Q:-You made history with “Don Gil de Alcalá” by becoming one of the very few female conductors in the orchestra pit of the famous Madrid theatre. Do you think that this is a profession in which progress is still lacking in that sense?

A: It is true that there are few of us, although there are more and more of us. Fortunately, we are in a generation in which opportunities are opening up. The way is increasingly open to us. Before, there were few women who were able to dedicate themselves professionally, not only in management, but in all fields in which there is a leadership factor. The incorporation of women, evidently, due to a social issue, has been much later, and this is also noticeable in music and in conducting. The good and beautiful thing – I always like to think positively – is that this is changing and will soon cease to be anecdotal. And that the world will normalise it. It’s true that we haven’t gone all the way yet. In other words, there is still a long way to go, but what we can see is with light. We have to give progress time.

Q:-What is your opinion on the importance of musical education from childhood?

A: Music education is basic and I think we are not getting it. I’m thinking not only of music, but of arts education in general. It helps to develop a series of skills that are extremely important. So, I don’t think we are exploiting the possibilities of music in the classroom. And I think it would be fundamental. There is a part of this root that is part of culture and knowledge. And I think there is another that I would put on a par with it, or even more important, which is the development of the practice of music itself, with elements that are very simple, very simple. For example, singing in a choir develops a series of very important skills for a child’s future and the way he or she grows up.

>> Read the full interview in Madrid Actual

Teatro de la Zarzuela, with Isamay Benavente in her first year as director, presents the eighth edition of Zarza, a project that takes on the task of presenting a classic zarzuela work in a more attractive format with the aim of bringing these works to younger audiences.

El año pasado por agua, by Federico Chueca and Joaquín Valverde, in an adaptation by Enrique Viana, has a cast of 18 actors aged between 18 and 23, with Lara Diloy as musical director and Marta Eguilior as stage director. This version is set on 31 December in the Chueca neighbourhood, and shows us a modern-day world, endangered by climate change, but with the hope of raising awareness in the world.

On this occasion there is the special circumstance that recently the Spanish Government has declared zarzuela a Representative Manifestation of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and one of the purposes of this nomination was to promote zarzuela.

Here is a full report dedicated to the Proyecto Zarza.