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The Copla Musical

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Have you ever heard of copla? It is a traditional Spanish musical genre that flourished during the first half of the 20th century. Also known as canción española (Spanish song), copla is rooted in the cultural identity of the country, but it has remained largely unknown outside of Spain… until now.

The Copla Musical is an original project developed through years of research and inspired by traditional copla songs that have not seen the light of day outside of Spain, but now take the form of a contemporary musical in English. It will be performed at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama next Friday, 14th December, at 2 and 7.30pm.

Spanish copla appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, deriving from the poetic form of the same name. It persisted through the turbulent years of the Spanish Civil war and its aftermath, and it became very popular during the 1950s, when it gained a strong presence in Spanish film and theatre.

Eventually, copla started to lose popularity with the arrival of new musical styles. However, it has remained alive thanks to the compromise of many of the greatest Spanish artists, who have been involved in the history of the copla – or given tribute to it. Some of the most representative songs of this style are “María de la O”, “Pena, penita, pena”, “Ojos verdes” and “Carmen de España”.

The Copla Musical is a story of freedom, romance and loss set in the heart of the Spanish Civil War. It follows the life of La Gitana, a drag artist who escapes Franco’s dictatorship aided by a group of Republican fighters to become a variety star in America. She moves continents, becomes a drag sensation, finds love… yet she always struggles to merge her Spanish past with her American future.

The production involves storytelling and musical numbers through La Gitana’s cabaret performances that aim to recreate the original atmosphere of Spanish copla. Indeed, the solo show shares the passion and subversion of copla, which was repressed by Franco’s dictatorship, as it explores what it takes to come to terms with who you are born to be through the story of a young man setting out on a journey of self-acceptance inspired by La Gitana’s remarkable experiences.

Interested? Read more about the show and buy your tickets here.

Did you know? You can also read this article in Spanish! Click here for the Spanish version.

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