Manuel de Falla – El amor brujo (DRSO, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos)

Conducted by the Spanish conductor and composer Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (DRSO) performs El amor brujo, a ballet composed in 1914-1915 by Manuel de Falla to a libretto by Gregorio Martínez Sierra (6 May 1881 – 1 October 1947, the Spanish writer, poet, dramatist, and theater director).

El amor brujo

El amor brujo literally means “Love, the Magician”. It also means “Spell-bound Love” or “The Bewitched Love”, sometimes translated as “Wedded by Witchcraft”. In 1924, Manuel de Falla finished a transformation of El amor brujo into a one-act ‘ballet pantomímico’ (pantomimic ballet); it is in this version that the work is best known to this day.

There are 13 movements:

  1. Introducción y escena (Introduction and scene)
  2. En la cueva (In the cave)
  3. Canción del amor dolido (Song of suffering love)
  4. El aparecido (El espectro) (The apparition)
  5. Danza del terror (Dance of terror)
  6. El círculo mágico (Romance del pescador) (The magic circle)
  7. A media noche: los sortilegios
  8. Danza ritual del fuego (Ritual fire dance)
  9. Escena (Scene)
  10. Canción del fuego fatuo (Song of the will-o’-the-wisp)
  11. Pantomima (Pantomime)
  12. Danza del juego de amor (Dance of the game of love)
  13. Final – las campanas del amanecer (Finale – the bells of sunrise)

El amor brujo is the story of a young Andalusian gypsy girl called Candela. As a girl, she was promised to be married to another man (then a boy), although her affections are directed to Carmelo. After many years Candela’s husband has died (at the hands of Lucía’s husband) but he continues to haunt his wife.

The entire village knows about the haunting but still brands Candela as crazy because she dances every night with her Husband’s ghost (Danza del terror). Candela, now a widow, is free to establish a relationship with Carmelo, but continues to be haunted by her husband’s ghost.

After a conversation with other women of the village, Candela finally comes to realise that her husband was unfaithful to her, despite all the efforts that she did to make their marriage work, her husband’s lover was revealed to be Lucia.

Candela and Carmelo get advice that a ritual dance is necessary to cast the ghost off (Danza ritual del fuego), but it does not work. The ghost is still obsessed with Candela’s soul.

Candela manages to trick Lucía to come that night, with the excuse of hooking her up with Carmelo. As she turns up, the nightly ritual of Candela’s dance with her husband’s ghost begins, but at the last moment Candela moves away from her husband and Lucía is taken away by her now dead lover (Danza del juego de amor).

Dawn breaks, Candela and Carmelo are now truly free to enjoy their love.


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