An excellent opera about Servetus has been ready for performance since three years ago. The current economic crisis, and the consequent restrictions of all kinds of official subventions, have made impossible to get support from the Spanish Ministry of Culture, the Arts Department of the Mayor of Madrid, the Regional Government of Aragón –where Servetus was born-, and several other financial and cultural institutions both public and private. Therefore, we believe that the time has arrived to involve in this enterprise all those persons who admire Servetus and his message of freedom of conscience and expression, so urgent in these times of fanaticisms and intolerances, so that his message may be disseminated as much as possible through such an efficient, though minority, medium as the opera is.
Servetus (unripe log) is an opera in two acts, of three and two scenes respectively, lasting about two hours and a quarter. The libretto, centered on the two trials suffered by Servetus, in Vienne of France and Geneva, Switzerland, was written by Ángel Alcalá, and the music by Valentín Ruiz. Alcalá, a native of Aragón, emeritus professor of the University of the City of New York (CUNY) and corresponding member of the Royal Academy of History in Madrid, is a well known scholar, mainly as historian, editor of Servetus’ Complete Works in his original Latin and their translator into Spanish in seven tomes (Zaragoza, 2003-2007). Valentín Ruiz taught for many years Harmony at the High Royal Conservatory, and Composition at the Conservatory “Teresa Berganza”, Madrid. He has written numerous works commissioned by the Prince of Asturias Foundation, the Center for the Diffusion of Contemporary Music, the International Music Festivals in Santander, Úbeda and Alicante, the National Orchestra and Choruses of Spain, the Cycles of Chamber Music and Polyphony at the National Institute of Scenic Arts and Music, the National Musical Festival in Texas, Houston, the 37th Week of Religious Music in Cuenca, the 37th international piano composition “Jaén Prize”, and the Culture Office of the Regional Government of Madrid.
Maestro Ruiz holds his own distinctive style, modern yet not modernist, through which he has succeeded in injecting to Alcalá’s verses an unforgettable force of evocation and excitement. Powerful choruses (the servants of bishop Palmier, with whom Servetus lived in Vienne, and the people of Geneva) not only open and close the opera, but, following the Hellenic fashion, take active part in it commenting and underlining the action; convenient arias and dialogues of the main characters (mainly Servetus, Calvin, Palmier, and two abstract ones: Truth and Freedom, who appear to Michael as in a dream) express with liveliness the sequences of the drama culminating in the tragedy that consumes in fire the independent thinker, while all together claim for the magnificent utopia: “ let Your kingdom come, a kingdom of justice and freedom, a kingdom of peace and solidarity”.
In order to make possible, whenever it be, the première of this fascinating opera the cooperation of all of us is necessary. We are going to produce a promotion disc with a selection of the choruses and main arias interpreted by distinguished Spanish professionals, with piano accompaniment only, even if this does not conveys the full idea of Valentín’s rich orchestration, and to hang it and the corresponding scores in the international web. We will offer the disc and these partial scores through Amazon, and the possibility of buying the complete one.
We will make an effort to collect the necessary funds to defray the costs of the mentioned disc production and to present the opera at least as concert, while waiting for some private sponsor whose generosity might make possible to present it in a complete theatrical performance, independently from the impotence or negligence of the officials responsible for the promotion of culture.
With this goal in mind, contributions in euros, dollars or other currencies can be sent, with the indication For the Servetus Opera, to the account of the Servetus International Society, number 2013 0220 33 02008 88484, at the bank Caixa Catalunya, Av. Mistral, 45-47, 08015 Barcelona, Spain, by all those interested in the project, in the amount allowed by their possibilities. We appeal to the generosity of the members of the Servetus International Society, of the Institute of Servetian Studies in Villanueva de Sijena (Servetus’ native town), of all world Unitarians, proud followers of some of his doctrines, of all the many admirers of him and his message, to make real this dream of his opera.
Madrid, on Michael Servetus´ birthday, September 29, 2012
Consuelo Patino de Ruiz-Parada.
Professor of Music, with intensive teaching experience,
musicologist specialized in the life and works of Chopin and Liszt.
For any further information and response to questions you may consult the following addresses: