Spanish Government Makes Decree to Protect Zarzuela As Essential Cultural Touchstone

By David Salazar

The government of Spain has declared that zarzuela is a representative manifestation of immaterial cultural patrimony.

The declaration ensures the conservation and normalization of the art form in perpetuity. The royal decree concludes a process initiated last July by the Ministry of Culture.

“Zarzuela faces many risks and threats, like the scarcity of contemporary works, the dearth of interpreters, the aging of its audience, the difficulty in attracting new generations, as well as the low representation of zarzuela in musical circles. In this context, this this declaration of the form as arepresentative manifestation of immaterial cultural patrimony contributes to zarzuela’s social consideration, the interest of the general public, and as a safeguard against these challenges it faces.

Zarzuela commenced in the mid-1600s but hit its creative apogee in the late 1800s. However, following the Spanish Civil War, the art forms relevance diminished.