Composer Profile: Enrique Granados, Spain’s Legend

By David Salazar

Enrique Granados is not necessarily known outside of Spain, but he remains a major composer.

Born on July 27, 1867, Granados was born in Lleida, Spain and would go to study piano in Paris at the age of 20. Two years later, in 1889, he returned to Barcelona where his first opera, “María del Carmen” proved to be his first major success.

In 1911, he wrote the piano suite “Goyescas,” which would become his most renowned work. Its popularity would inspire him to write an opera on the subject in 1914. The work was first performed in New York in 1916.

He died shortly after while traveling back from New York to Europe aboard the SS Sussex. The ship was torpedoed by a German U-Boat and Granados and his wife Amparo both drowned.

Major Works

The opera “Goyescas” remains his most enduring operatic masterpiece, receiving strong reviews at its world premiere in New York. His other work, “María del Carmen” is often known as the “Spanish Cavalleria Rusticana.”

Unfortunately, neither work has managed a solid foothold in the opera repertoire, though “Goyescas” pops up from time to time.

Watch and Listen

Here is a recording of “Goyescas” starring María Bayó and Ramón Vargas.


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