Majesty (Royal Highness/s), Minister of Justice, Minister of education, culture and sport, President of the Royal Theatre, authorities, dear friends…Those who know me know that I am easy to tear and open hearted emotions, that I have written these words at home, if it needed to be…You all know that in March, I turned four times twenty and, if there is something good of birthdays, is the immense pleasure that produces value the things from the distance and also having the time to evoke them. Today June 21 is the day of music, begins the summer and I am in this scenario, without the responsibility of having to sing to reflect, to tell you from the maturity of my age the magic of being all here today.
The art of the opera is also magic. Those who do not know it, do not know what they are loosing! Singers from the stage, the musicians from the pit, technicians from the heights and you from a seat we got everyone together to forget the miseries, we suddenly believe in eternal love, we fought against an impossible Roman army, we die a little to revive, brave, love, confusing, and everyone, absolutely everyone, heroes for a few hours. That is opera, and I feel honored if ever I managed with my voice to make you feel that magic.
I’m passionate Spanish and definitely from Madrid, so I appreciate so much my house makes me this gift today.
And I say «my home» knowing that my relationship with the Royal Theatre has been scarce, when I was born it was closed, then it was a conservatory, but not mine. I acted in it when it was a concert hall and rarely since its reopening. But it was already late to be able to sing opera.
I was born five minutes from here, through my traditional veins runs the same lemonade that quenched the thirst of Goya, Chapí, Manuel García, Chueca,… Born at pace of zarzuela, copla and Retiro Park Municipal band. I keep in my ears the sound of bomshells falling mixed with the heat of the embrace of my parents.
All that and more, makes me love this piece of land, so hospitable and so truth, which saw me born and which probably will see me die.
From the deepest of my heart I desire you not to forget, specially the joungest, the fact that we are today here, we owe it to great and wonderful crazy people who wanted and fought because this city could listen to opera. From Fernando VII and Isabella II who wanted to rebuild the old theatre of the Caños del Peral, Gonzalez Varcárcel, that left this pit here hidden below if someday the building will be reopened as a theatre and thus today the Royal theatre is one of the most important ones at European level.
I ask you that, despite the bad times, you rule for not letting the opera die in my city, for the Government to continue to support this stronghold of culture or find a way to mantain this art on foot, because many of us live for it and there are many, and I hope that more and more, who enjoy it.
I would like to seize this moment to make you also reflect on the Spanish musical heritage, that art so ours and sometimes impossible to translate as the zarzuela. Throughout my career I have played concerts of zarzuela with the best orchestras of the world, who were always fascinated with this music. Curiously, in the world I have not heard so closed ovations from the public as when intoned the lovesong of carnations or the Tango of the Menegilda. I have showed whenever Chapi, Sorozábal, Breton, Chueca, Vives and so many others were not only good composers, but also great translators of traditional music and social life in this country. I pass to you on my eighty years the responsibility of keeping alive the Zarzuela, with the assurance that you would not fail.
I don’t want to leave the stage without rending thanks to the directors of this theater, its Trustees and the staff for your collaboration to make this day come true, all the artists that I have so much moved me, my family and my friends for taking care of me, but, above all, I want to thank my fans. I have been a singer of exquisite and faithful followers, so much that I am aware that someone has flown from Buenos Aires to share tonight with me, and I have no words to thank you for what you have done for me.
Today I do not sing and, when this stage lights turn off, won’t go to the dressing room because I have an institutional act where the Minister makes me delivery of the Grand Cross of the Civil Order of Alfonso X El Sabio. This time I can not give you a kiss… But I do want to tell you that each of you are already part of my life. I love you. Thank you, thank you… To all of you.
Traducción al inglés de. María Garcia-Rosado