Manuel de Falla: El amor brujo

Virtual Event


Jaime reunites with LA’s very own celebrated mezzo-soprano, Suzanna Guzmán, for the original 1915 version of Manuel de Falla’s extraordinary sung ballet El amor brujo. The first time these two performed El amor brujo together was at LACO’s 50th anniversary gala in 2019!



This episode of SummerFest 2021 is sponsored by the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Foundation.


Manuel de Falla

El amor brujo

43 minutes


Suzanna Guzmán


Margaret Batjer


Sarah Thornblade

acting principal second violin

Andrew Shulman

principal cello

David Grossman

principal bass

Sandy Hughes

acting principal flute

Claire Brazeau

principal oboe

Michael Thornton

principal horn

Erick Jovel

acting principal trumpet

Robert Thies

acting principal keyboard

Tyler Stell

acting principal percussion


Manuel de Falla was a Spanish composer whose family hailed from Catalonia on his mother’s side and Valencia on his father’s. He came to music early in life, studying with many teachers including his mother. As a teenager, he was particularly influenced by the music of Edvard Grieg, whose music celebrated his Norwegian heritage. De Falla was part of a generation that encouraged composers to find their authentic voices by understanding the folk traditions of their native homelands. De Falla’s compositional voice often drew upon the musical culture of Spain from an insider’s perspective, not as an outsider charmed by “exoticism.” In carefully learning about and listening to the diverse music of Spain and its various subcultures, de Falla captured the passion and rhythm of a rich musical tapestry, bringing the true flavor of these traditions to a world audience.

El amor brujo, or Love, the Magician, was originally commissioned in 1914-5 as a gypsy piece (gitanería) by Pastora Imperio, who was herself a famous gypsy dancer. To internalize the music, de Falla listened to Imperio and her mother, Rosario la Mejorana, sing gypsy songs and tell stories. De Falla was also inspired by the poetry of Gregorio Martinez Sierra (also commissioned by Imperio). He also relied on his own careful study of the cante jondo (literally, “deep song”), a flamenco folk song from the region of Andalusia. De Falla thoroughly absorbed and metabolized these influences, producing a work that evoked the spirit of this tradition without outright quoting existing tunes. In its original incarnation, El amor brujo was written for chamber orchestra, actors, and voice. Although the authenticity of the work was celebrated by some, its premiere was disappointing. In 1916, de Falla revisited the work, cutting it down dramatically, but re-orchestrating it for chamber orchestra. In this version, the actors are gone, but the singer remains—a mezzo soprano—who sings three songs.  It is the original 1915 version we will hear tonight with native Angeleno, Suzanna Guzmán, as the soloist. There is also a “ballet-pantomímico” version of El amor brujo that de Falla completed in 1924 and a 1925 piano suite that sets four movements from the ballet. The scenario in all incarnations centers around Candelas, a gypsy girl who is in love with Carmello. Their union is not peaceful, however, as Candelas is haunted by the spirit of her dead husband. De Falla creates a dramatic space where music is part of both the haunting and the resolution of this love story. The composer’s deep respect and openness allowed him to capture the authentic quality of this Spanish musical tradition with rhythmic vivacity, dancing energy, and a fiery spirit.

– Christine Lee Gengaro, Ph.D.

About LACO SummerFest 2021

LACO SummerFest began as a response to the lack of in-person concerts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting July 2020, LACO released five special musician-curated programs bi-weekly, utilizing COVID-19 safety guidelines for film and television production in Los Angeles County. These 30-minute broadcasts allowed LACO to connect and engage with supporters while also building an online audience.

We are continuing SummerFest in 2021, featuring performances from our first in-person concerts in 15 months since the pandemic at The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and The Huntington Library.

How to Support

Viewers who wish to support LACO and the artists on screen are encouraged to visit or call (213) 622-7001, EXT. 4.