You are on page 1of 26

This article was downloaded by: [88.15.196.

196]
On: 09 October 2014, At: 02:53
Publisher: Routledge
Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954
Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,
UK
The Translator
Publication details, including instructions for authors
and subscription information:
http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rtrn20
Anglo-American Musicals in
Spanish Theatres
Marta Mateo
a
a
Universidad de Oviedo, Spain
Published online: 21 Feb 2014.
To cite this article: Marta Mateo (2008) Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres,
The Translator, 14:2, 319-342, DOI: 10.1080/13556509.2008.10799261
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13556509.2008.10799261
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE
Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the
information (the Content) contained in the publications on our platform.
However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no
representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or
suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressed
in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the
views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should
not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources
of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions,
claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities
whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection
with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content.
This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.
Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-
licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly
forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://
www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

ISSN 1355-6509 St Jerome Publishing, Manchester
The Translator. Volume 14, Number 2 (2008), 319-42 ISBN 978-1-905763-10-8
Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres
MARTA MATEO
Universidad de Oviedo, Spain
Abstract. This article aims to stimulate interest in the translation
of musical texts by examining Anglo-American musicals sung in
Spanish, a genre which has yielded some of the most outstanding
successes in Spains theatre world ever since its arrival in the 1970s.
It offers a historical overview of the reception of stage musicals in
Spain and examines the criteria for the selection of source texts
for performance in sung translation. Extra-textual factors such
as audience needs and expectations, production processes and
commercial and economic constraints are examined closely in
an attempt to contextualize a translation phenomenon which has
helped to fll a cultural gap and has had a signifcant impact on
the Spanish theatre system. The article demonstrates that the suc-
cessful importation of Anglo-American musicals into Spain has been
instrumental in fostering the autochthonous production of a genre
apparently foreign to the countrys musical tradition. A number of
concepts are borrowed from theatre and cultural studies, as well as
from pragmatics, to explain this phenomenon, including reverence,
productive reception and social relevance.
Keywords. Musical theatre, Anglo-American, Spain, Preliminary norms,
Reverence, Acceptability, Autochthonous creation, Social relevance,
Contextualization.
Musical texts have become an important part of our daily life and their impact
has frequently been felt across cultural and linguistic borders. Translation,
in its various forms, has certainly played a role in this respect. Yet musical
texts do not seem to have attracted as much interest from translation studies
scholars as other text types such as flms and advertisements which have
often been the focus of research on multimedia translation. Most studies de-
voted to translation and music have so far centred on opera, but there is close
collaboration between words and music in various other genres too, such
as traditional, religious, pop, childrens and protest songs, lieder and, in the
dramatic sphere, Singspiele, ballad-operas, masques, Spanish zarzuelas, and
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres 320
fnally musicals, which are the focus of this article.
1

Musicals are both similar to and different from opera, which is generally
considered the most important musical theatre genre. I will not venture a pre-
cise defnition of musicals or operas here, considering that the very essence of
opera has often been the subject of discussion among musicologists (Rubiera
1993:38, 46, Arkus 2003:12-13).
2
In terms of the similarities, suffce it to say
that both operas and musicals make use of multiple communication channels
and signifying codes, in the reception of which we may distinguish an aural
dimension (vocal and instrumental) and a visual one (lighting, costumes,
scenery, kinesics and proxemics) (Gorle 1997:236, Mateo 2001:31), and
the verbal text is mostly transmitted through singing, which is the essence
of the artistic experience both in opera (Rubiera 1993:75-76; see also Gorle
1997:237-40) and in musicals. As for the main differences between the two
genres, one is the divergent artistic and musical quality, as well as the social
functions, assigned to each genre in the musical theatre world (see section 2
below). The other difference is the presence of spoken dialogue in musicals;
while opera librettos are transmitted entirely through singing (punctuated by
recitatives to the strains of background music), musicals alternate sung parts
and spoken dialogue. This entails a further consequential difference: the prom-
inence of singing makes opera a genre more strongly marked by convention
and artifce; so much so that voice becomes the main factor in characterization
(Rubiera 1993:92-94). A character will be defned by the singers voice, rather
than by his or her physical appearance, age, colour, facial/body expression or
even sex. This is not so in musicals, in which the incongruity principle or
conventional unlikelihood which underlie opera texts (Rubiera 1993:87-88;
see also van den Hoogen 2005:9-10, 12) is much weaker. Musicals are more
realistic in terms of singer-role matching and are, in this respect, closer to
(conventional) productions of plays.
The norms governing the type of translation chosen for these two musi-
cal-theatrical genres are different too: the majority of opera houses nowadays
(at least in the Western world) resort to surtitles to convey foreign operas to
their audiences.
3
In musicals, on the other hand, sung translation is the norm
in most target systems, including that of Spain. This divergence in translation
1
We could also cite the increasing use of music in theatre productions. As has tradition-
ally been the case in cinema, composers are now frequently commissioned to write pieces
for theatrical performances (Marco 1987:707-708). However, since the function of these
music pieces like that of lighting and costumes is to accompany the verbal text, create
an atmosphere and refect the feelings and emotions of the characters, rather than to serve
as the transmission channel for speech, their relevance for translation is only marginal.
2
In fact, the increasing preference for more general terms such as musical action, musical
drama and music for the stage reveals a tendency to avoid more precise descriptions; but
these terms may also comprise the other types of theatre texts mentioned above.
3
Exceptionally, in some European countries, sung opera translation can also be observed
quite regularly.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Marta Mateo 321
strategies between operas and musicals is mostly due to social, historical,
ideological and economic factors rather than to technical or artistic ones (Mateo
1998:209-15, 2001, Sams 1996:173).
4
Musicals, then, may be said to be half-way between operas and plays,
both as a genre and in terms of the translation strategies involved. The choice
of translation in performance (rather than surtitles) brings the musicals
closer to drama texts, but the prominence of music marks a real difference
between them and plays during the translation process itself. In any case,
the translation of all three genres is affected by the semiotic complexity
of their texts, the ephemeral and transitory nature of their reception, the
multiplicity of agents taking part in a single production, and the confusion
traditionally surrounding the terminology used to describe the target texts,
variously labelled as translations, versions, adaptations and/or rewrit-
ings (Aaltonen 2000, Mateo 2002).
In what follows I will focus on the increasing presence of Anglo-American
musicals on Spanish stages and on the crucial role translation has played in
this importation process. Stating that this article will be centred on musicals
originally in English is more of a description than a limitation; as will become
obvious in section 1, most productions performed on Spanish stages from the
1970s onwards were derived from British and American musicals. I will frst
review the evolution of the production and reception of these foreign musicals
in Spain, and will then proceed to contextualize their translation, paying at-
tention to factors such as translation policy, i.e. those factors that govern
the choice of text-types, or even of individual texts, to be imported through
translation into a particular culture/language at a particular point in time
(Toury 1995:58), as well as to other extratextual aspects, such as audience
needs and expectations, production elements, and commercial and economic
factors, all of which should help to explain the introduction and establishment
of this foreign genre in Spain.
1. The reception of Anglo-American musicals in Spain: a historical
overview
The origins of musicals in Spain may be traced back to the 1970s, when the
country welcomed the very frst great production on its stages: Jesucristo
Superstar, the Spanish version
5
of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webbers
4
More discussion on this issue in relation to Spain is offered in Mateo (2001:43-47), where
Pierre Bourdieus theory of the sociology of arts was used in order to explain Spanish audi-
ences divergent perception of opera and musicals, and the infuence of this perception on
the language and type of translation chosen for each genre.
5
I will be using the terms version, adaptation and translation as synonymous, as I agree
with Johnston (1996:65-66) that the distinction between, for example, translation and
adaptation in theatre translation rests on a false dichotomy (see also Aaltonen 2000:41-
46, Mateo 2002:55-56).
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres 322
successful work, which had opened at the Palace Theatre in London in 1972
and was to become the longest-running musical of the time. The Spanish show
proved to be a good bet on the part of its producer, the famous singer Camilo
Sesto, who also played the leading role and became one of the most popular
Jesus Christs in the world. The show opened in Madrid in 1975
6
and was
translated by Nacho Artime and Jaime Azpilicueta, who would thus start a
successful career working together in the adaptation of foreign musicals into
Spanish. The English original was in fact frst released as an album, before
it could be heard on London and Broadway stages, a formula which was to
become common in the production of other musicals that followed and, oc-
casionally, of their translated versions as well.
7

The 1970s also saw the creation of the most famous Spanish musical-theatre
company, the Catalan Dagoll Dagom. Their 1978 play Antaviana was the
beginning of a successful track record which reached its peak in 1989 with
another original Dagoll Dagom production, Mar i cel, translated into Span-
ish as Mar y cielo (Sea and Sky). This play became a reference point in the
history of Spains autochthonous musicals and has enjoyed fame and prestige
beyond the countrys borders a German version of it opened in Halle in
March 2007. But the way to the late 1980s success of this Catalan company
had been paved earlier in the decade by two British musicals performed on
Spanish stages: Gilbert and Sullivans The Mikado, translated and performed
by Dagoll Dagom themselves in 1986,
8
and Rice and Webbers Evita, their
second hit, which had opened in Londons West End in 1978 (after a 1975
record release) and was translated into Spanish and co-produced once again by
Nacho Artime. The Spanish Evita opened in Madrid in 1981, with well-known
singers Patxi Andin and Paloma San Basilio; the latter was to perform as the
leading actress in several other landmark musicals in the following years.
We must not assume, however, that all these earlier successes were pro-
duced against a favourable background. All the productions which did well
were in fact exceptions amongst several failures. Musicals had not yet won
the Spanish stages or audiences, who generally despised these pieces as
6
The frst night was a tremendous and memorable success, with a six-minute standing
ovation when the curtain came down, Artime recalls in the 2005 Spanish CD libretto
(all translations from Spanish are mine, unless otherwise stated). Jesus Christ Superstar
has seen some recent revivals and an updated version in the 1990s, both in Britain and in
the USA. Spain saw another Spanish production of Jesucristo Superstar in 1984 and has
also welcomed a completely new version, opening at the Teatro Lope de Vega in Madrid
in September 2007 and produced by Stage Entertainment a theatre which has come to
symbolize the genre of musicals in Spain and a production company which has played an
important role in the countrys musical boom, as we shall see below.
7
For example, the 1999 Spanish production of Grease was preceded by a CD released in
1998, publicizing the offcial Spanish version.
8
Dagoll Dagoms 1986 El Mikado has recently been updated and restaged; in 2006 it started
a successful tour around the country, which was still going on in 2007.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Marta Mateo 323
americanadas typical American things (Artime 2003). Moreover, zarzuelas
(Spanish popular light operas)
9
and variety shows were still present in peoples
collective memory, fnancial and production means were limited and ticket
prices were ridiculously high (ibid.). A key Broadway title such as Michael
Bennett, Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Klebans A Chorus Line, for exam-
ple, was a failure. There was a ficker of hope in 1992 with Los miserables,
produced by the impresario Jos Tamayo together with Plcido Domingo and
Cameron Macintosh also responsible for the frst English production of this
musical in the West End, in 1985 who all decided to take the risk of sup-
porting this genre in such unfavourable circumstances in Spain and achieved
a resounding success: the musical enjoyed a two-year run in Madrid.
10
After
this hit, however, the genre seemed to sink into oblivion in Spanish theatres
again with the exception of the odd production, like the 1996 El diluvio que
viene (After Me the Deluge) or the 1997 Spanish version of Bernsteins West
Side Story (which kept the English title), both of which did fairly well.
11

The late Luis Ramrez then embarked on an ambitious project which be-
came a landmark in the history of musical theatre in Spain: the production of
El hombre de la Mancha, the Spanish version of American playwright Dale
Wassermans Man of La Mancha (1965). For the adaptation into Spanish, as
the newspapers referred to it at the time, Ramrez engaged Nacho Artime. The
leading roles were taken by Paloma San Basilio who had already proved she
could be the queen of musicals in her rendition of Evita and a prestigious
theatre actor, Jos Sacristn. Everything seemed to change on the Spanish
musical scene after this impressive and startling work (Artime 2003), which
brilliantly merges scenes from Don Quixote and events from Cervantes life.
The musical opened at the Teatro Lope de Vega in 1997 and achieved a phe-
nomenal success: a daily audience of 1400, bringing in 400 million pesetas
(approximately 2.5 million euros) in six weeks takings, even though the
9
A lyric-dramatic genre that alternates between spoken and sung scenes, the latter incor-
porating operatic and popular song as well as dance.
10
Despite the fact that Victor Hugos novel had frst been turned into a musical in French
on a Paris stage in 1980, it was the London musical, which soon opened in Broadway in
1987, that became famous worldwide and was used as a source text for numerous transla-
tions, including this Spanish version, the only one that has adapted the original title Les
Misrables.
11
After Me the Deluge was based on David Forrests 1972 book with the same title, which
was frst turned into a musical in Italian (Agiiungi un posto a tavola) by Garinei and Gio-
vanni in 1974. This was one of the frst musicals on a Spanish theatre, since a Spanish
translation of the Italian adaptation was performed at the Teatro Monumental in Madrid in
1977, even before its London production at the Adelphi Theatre in 1978. The 1996 Span-
ish performance was produced by successful show business and theatre impresario Jos
Luis Moreno, who would later put it back on stage in a new production in the 2005-2006
season (Artez 2005:29). The Spanish 1997 production of West Side Story was performed
by a Catalan company directed by Ricard Reguant and Miquel Ortega, who went on tour
around Spain. Its Spanish translation and adaptation belongs to Albert Mas-Griera.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres 324
tickets were the most expensive in the country. It later went back on stage at
the Teatro Caldern in 2004 and toured around the country in 2005.
El hombre de la Mancha led to an upswing in the popularity of the musical
genre in Spain which has continued to this day. The same work also paved
the way for Ramrez to secure copyright permission for another Broadway
hit, Grease. With this second production the goal was, as the impresario put
it, to debunk the widely held myth that Spain cannot do musicals, a myth
already undermined with the success of El hombre de la Mancha.
12
Ramrezs
project actually went beyond the production of these two musicals; his goal
was nothing less than turning Madrids avenue Gran Va into the Spanish
Broadway (Artime 2003):
[He] was the culprit sparking off the trend that would start to fll up
our theatres with legendary international titles, which had not previ-
ously managed to take root on our glorious stages. ... It was a clear
and risky bet: if these musicals had succeeded elsewhere, why not here
too? Lets reclaim the wonderful theatres in the Gran Va, which have
gone mouldy with so much cinema; lets turn on the neon lights; this
is going to be Broadway.
13

When impresario Jos Tamayo produced Los miserables at the Teatro Apolo,
he had already entertained the idea of having a theatre in Madrid devoted
exclusively to the performance of musicals. His dream came true in the end,
and was even surpassed as the Teatro Lope de Vega and gradually all the other
theatres in the Gran Va became the home of musical performances in Spain;
the Gran Via is now frequently referred to as the Spanish Broadway. Accord-
ing to the Madrid City Councils website in 2007,
The Gran Va runs most of these [musicals] and has already become
well-known worldwide. Evita and Jesucristo Superstar succeeded on
the stage decades ago; but El hombre de la Mancha, Cats and El fan-
tasma de la pera were indeed the great forerunners of a genre which
is becoming more and more established in our theatres.
14

12
[Q]ueremos romper el mito de que en Espaa no se pueden hacer musicales, algo que
hemos iniciado ya con el xito alcanzado por El Hombre de la Mancha (La Nueva Espaa
1998:75).
13
[Luis Ramrez] fue el culpable de encender la mecha para empezar a llenar los teatros
con unos ttulos legendarios en todo el mundo y en todos los idiomas que no acababan de
enraizar en nuestras gloriosas tablas. La apuesta fue clara y arriesgada: si triunfan en
todo el mundo, por qu no aqu? Recuperemos los maravillosos teatros de la Gran Va que
estn enmohecidos de tanto cine, que se enciendan los neones, esto va a ser Broadway.
14
La Gran Va acoge la mayora de estos espectculos y se ha convertido ya en una calle
de referencia en todo el mundo. Si hace dcadas triunf Evita o Jesucristo Superstar,
xitos como El hombre de la Mancha, Cats o El fantasma de la pera, fueron los grandes
precursores de este gnero, cada vez ms asentado en nuestros teatros (Portal Ofcial del
Ayuntamiento de Madrid, http://www.esmadrid.com, accessed July 2007).
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Marta Mateo 325
With the spectacular mise-en-scne of El hombre de la Mancha, Teatro Lope de
Vega was able to prove that it could host the most elaborate and sophisticated
stage sets. The same theatre put on the next great production of that decade:
the 1999 La Bella y la Bestia. It was brought over from New York, where the
musical version of Disneys Beauty and the Beast had opened in 1994. Moving
into the 2000s, the Spanish audiences could now enjoy, in their own language,
musicals with impressive and magical scenery and lighting, such as Chicago,
Te quiero, eres perfecta... ya te cambiar (I Love You, Youre Perfect Ill
Change You Later), Memory: de Hollywood a Broadway (Memory: from
Hollywood to Broadway), A Little Night Music, Sweeny Todd, La mujer del
ao (The Woman of the Year) and Rent.
15
The year 2000 fnished with two
popular childrens shows, Pippi Calzaslargas (Pippi Langstrum) and Annie,
plus yet another production by Luis Ramrez, once again translated by Nacho
Artime: the musical adaptation of Robert Louis Stevensons Jekyll & Hyde,
which had opened in Broadway in 1997. The leading role in Spain was given
to one of the most popular singers in the country, Raphael.
16

The frst years of the present decade saw other resounding successes. My
Fair Lady opened in 2001, under the English title of Lerner and Loewes
1956 Broadway musical adaptation of Bernard Shaws Pygmalion. It was
performed by the same couple who had brought glory to El hombre de la
Mancha; was translated into Spanish by Artime and Azpilicueta, once again
working together, and was produced by Cartel Teatro and Stage Entertain-
ment, which would later be responsible for many other hits. In order to host
this production, Teatro Coliseum had to be extended through the acquisition
of an adjoining building.
In 2002, El fantasma de la pera was staged. This was Artimes Spanish
translation of one of the most renowned musicals: Mackintosh and Webbers
The Phantom of the Opera, which had opened in London in 1986 and in
Broadway in 1988 and had won numerous awards. El fantasma de la pera was
welcomed as the title of the year in Spain and was described as a musical
with all the glamour, charm and surprise of the best Broadway and West End
shows (Uras 2002).
17
Indeed, despite the fact that Teatro Lope de Vega had
already held some impressive sets, its stage was not big enough for this one
and the producers had to go to great lengths to ft it in.
15
As is increasingly common with flms from the USA, the titles of some of these Spanish
versions were kept in the original English; or, as can be seen in the case of Memory: de
Hollywood a Broadway, a subheading in Spanish was added. A Little Night Music, which
opened in Catalan at Barcelonas Festival Grec, included a Catalan alternative title in
brackets: Msica per a una nit destiu (Music for a summer night).
16
A CD of the Spanish version of this musical came out in 2001 this time after the show.
17
Un musical con todo el glamour, el encanto y la sorpresa de los mejores de Broadway
o del West End.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres 326
Sam Mendes and Rob Marshalls version of Cabaret,
18
which had frst
been staged in London in 1993 and then moved to Broadway in 1998, was
the one chosen for the Spanish translation and adaptation in 2003, done by
Gonzalo Demara, and once again produced by Stage Entertainment, with
Jaime Azpilicuetas dramaturgical adaptation. The production has even the
well-known themes Cabaret and Money, money translated into Spanish
(ingeniously alternating money, which serves to remind the audience of the
original refrain, with the Spanish colloquial term pasta, which is more ftting
to the tune than the three-syllable neutral term dinero). The Spanish Cabaret
used the same stage design as in Broadway, with Broadway directors travel-
ling to Spain to supervise the whole project now a common working pattern
in the production of foreign musicals. The show was on in Madrid until the
summer of 2006, becoming the longest-running musical of the past couple of
decades with a total of 33 months and attracting an overwhelming number of
spectators (900,000 people). It then started a tour around the country which
was still on in the summer of 2007.
It was no wonder that 2003 should close with the opening of a West
End legend, Cats, which went on stage in its Spanish version in December
that year. Lloyd Webbers 1981 work is often acknowledged as the perfect
musical. As a Spanish reviewer put it at the time of the shows opening on
Madrids Gran Va, with this work the British composer redefned modern
musicals, challenging, and beating, Broadways successful and widely ex-
ported shows.
19
After 21 years on the London stage, and now on tour around
the United Kingdom, Cats may be considered the greatest record-breaking
musical in the history of the genre. Its Spanish production, again supervised
by a team of directors from the source production, was partly made possible
by the extension added to Teatro Coliseum for My Fair Lady, which enabled
the theatre to hold this spectacular stage set.
Cats and Cabaret went on stage practically at the same time as two other
musicals: Siete novias para siete hermanos (Seven Brides for Seven Broth-
ers),
20
and We Will Rock You (based on the hits of the British band Queen).
21

At the end of 2003, fve musicals could be seen on Gran Va at the same time,
which explains why the media started to seriously compare it to Broadway. In
18
The frst Cabaret was John Kander, Fred Ebb and Joe Masteroffs 1966 theatre produc-
tion. This was followed by Bob Fosses famous flm in 1972, featuring Liza Minelli. Then
came another Broadway production, directed by Harold Prince in 1987, and fnally this
one, directed by Mendes and choreographed by Marshall.
19
Es una apuesta britnica ideada por Andrew Lloyd Webber en 1981, con la que redef-
ni los musicales modernos y ech un pulso, al fn vencedor, a los exitosos y exportados
espectculos de Broadway (de los Ros 2003).
20
Translated by Octavi Egea and Ricard Reguant and produced by Spektra Entertainment.
21
Adapted by Luis lvarez and supervised by Queens Brian May.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Marta Mateo 327
2000, we could already read that musical theatre [was] in vogue on Madrid
stages and all over Spain; in 2003 Alvarez observed:
The impression that you are in the heart of Broadway is getting
stronger. You only need to take a look at the Madrid theatre guide;
it will confrm the unstoppable boom enjoyed by musicals, a genre
which is bringing back to the theatre houses the audiences they had
been lacking.
22
As Artime (2003) observes, Madrid thus suddenly and surprisingly became
the second European capital in the production of musicals; it was now only
surpassed by London, and naturally Broadway. In fact, Artime entitles his
article Esto no es Broadway (This is not Broadway) and discusses some
problems such as the risk of an excess of offer (Madrids relatively smaller
population compared to London or New York and the rather disproportionate
number of musicals produced per year) or the large budgets required to put
on the shows, which often discourage the local impresarios; he nevertheless
fnishes off on an optimistic note: This is not Broadway. Yet..
Indeed the genres popularity is still growing. The list of theatre productions
staged in Madrid from January to September 2004 compiled by the SGAE
(Spanish Authors National Association) and ranked according to audience
numbers shows musicals holding the frst three positions all three shows
produced by the international frm CIE Stage Holding (Stage Entertainment).
In 2005, among the frst fve shows there were again three musicals, one of
which, interestingly enough, was a Spanish original: Hoy no me puedo levantar
(I Cant Get up Today), a show based on songs by Mecano, a famous Spanish
pop group of the 1980s.
Worldwide, there are now more and more musicals created around the
songs of popular bands. Mamma Ma!,
23
for instance, a smash hit based on
ABBAs songs, came to Spain in 2004 and closed in June 2007, after 1000
performances seen by a million people. We Will Rock You went back on stage
at Madrids Teatro Caldern in January 2007, after fnishing a tour around the
country. Hoy no me puedo levantar, which emulates this successful formula
of setting a story to a pop-music bands songs, has been running since 2005
22
The frst quotation comes from an article published by an anonymous 136, with the
title El teatro musical est de moda (Anonymous 136 2000). The second quotation
reads in Spanish: Crece la impresin de estar en el corazn de Broadway. Basta echar un
vistazo a la cartelera teatral de las salas de la capital para confrmar el imparable auge de
un gnero, el musical, que parece estar devolviendo a los locales teatrales los espectadores
que les faltaban.
23
Also produced by Stage Entertainment. The lyrics of the songs were translated by Albert
Mas-Griera and the rest of the source text by Juan Martnez Moreno. The directors and
choreographer once again came from the source production team.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres 328
both in Madrid and in Mexico. Another Spanish musical, Quisiera ser (Id
Like to Be), is based on the work of a very popular duo of the 1970s, the Do
Dinmico; it opened in October 2007. Both shows copy their foreign predeces-
sors in taking their titles after well-known pieces by each group.
Other musicals produced in the early 2000s include El zorro (Zorro),
Hermanos de sangre (Blood Brothers), The Rocky Horror Picture Show,
Peter Pan, Cantando bajo la lluvia (Singing in the Rain) and Fame. The last
two great productions so far, both by Stage Entertainment, have been Vctor
Victoria (Teatro Coliseum, July 2005), Azpilicuetas Spanish version of Blake
Edwards and Henry Mancinis 1995 Broadway show, considered by the pro-
ducers as their most ambitious project so far in Spain, and Los Productores
(Teatro Coliseum, September 2006-May 2007), the translation
24
of another
prize-winning Broadway production, Mel Brookss 2001 The Producers.
Both shows engaged well-known Spanish singers and/or actors
25
and adapted
parts of the source texts to the Spanish target system in order to make them
more acceptable, in Tourys sense (1995:56-57). I will come back to these
translations in section 2 below.
Finally, some of the shows mentioned in this section are either still on
in Madrid or on tour around Spain, the latter only when the shows do not
have extremely sophisticated sets requiring a particularly large stage. In ad-
dition, new versions of Jesucristo Superstar and La bella y la bestia opened
in Madrid in the autumn of 2007. El rey de bodas, the Spanish version of
The Wedding Singer, John Randos 2006 Broadway production, also went
on stage in Madrid in November 2007, directed by Rando himself. The year
2008 will bear witness to more new musicals, such as Dagoll Dagoms En
los bosques, a version of Stephen Sondheims Into the Woods, and a Spanish
original creation and production, El diario de Ana Frank. Un canto a la vida
(The Diary of Ann Frank. A Song Dedicated to Life), the frst-ever musical-
theatre adaptation of the well-known book, which opened at Madrids Teatro
Caldern in February 2008.
In terms of institutional patronage, the frst awards devoted to the genre
which, predictably enough, have been named after Gran Va were given
at a special ceremony at the end of February 2007 (Premios Gran Va de los
musicales 2006). Meanwhile, the capitals musical boom has begun to echo
in Barcelona, where the genre had not had much success except for Dagoll
Dagoms productions.
26
The recent achievements of Grease and Mar i cel
24
The source text of this musical play was translated by Carlos Martn, Alfredo Daz and
Raquel Soto, and the songs by Xavier Mateu.
25
Paloma San Basilio and Paco Valladares for Vctor Victoria, Santiago Segura and Jose
Mota for Los Productores.
26
This is despite the fact that Palau dEsports (Sports Pavillion) was converted into a theatre
devoted to musicals in 2002, under the title Barcelona Teatre Musical (BTM). See Subirana
(2004) for different opinions on why the BTM has not fulflled initial expectations, and for
the general problems encountered by musicals in Barcelona.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Marta Mateo 329
there have had a noticeable impact on attendance at theatre shows, which has
gone up to 60%. According to the president of Catalonias Theatre Business
Association, the unexpected and longed for success of Grease has encour-
aged companies to reconsider the production of a type of theatre which
had suffered a fall in popularity and is vital for the sectors health.
27
Some
are very optimistic and already talk of the musical fever reaching Barcelona
(Pinedo 2007), which welcomed Mamma Ma in December 2007, after the
show closed its curtains in Madrid. Indeed, a feature article about the musical
vogue in Spain, published with the telling title Theatres Surrender to Mu-
sicals, states: The great musical productions have taken over the theatres in
Madrid and Barcelona, and they are also huge box-offce hits when they go
on tour (Alvarez 2007).
28
The preceding overview of the production of musicals in Spain calls for an
examination of the translational policies involved, which will hopefully give us
some insight into the factors underlying the establishment and success of the
genre. The evolution of the reception of musical theatre in this country offers
fertile ground for the study of (extra)textual factors, which play a signifcant
role in the translation process. Section 2, then, will focus on these factors, not
only to contextualize the Spanish case, but also to enhance our understanding
of the socio-cultural dimension of translation in general.
2. Translation policy and contextualization

By considering the key shows in the history of musicals in Spain, the critical
reviews and newspaper articles that accompanied them, and the producers,
translators, directors and actors published comments, we may be able to infer
the criteria behind the selection of musical (source) texts for performance,
which must have been a key issue in their success in Spain. Below, I will focus
on certain (extra)textual factors which seem to play a role in this selection,
namely source language and culture, social relevance and productive recep-
tion, commercial aspects, source text features and economic factors.
2.1 Source culture and language
The source culture and language have obviously been crucial factors in the
selection process as well as in the positive reception of the texts by Spanish
audiences. Given that English now casts its shadow on literary and cultural
production all over the world (Lefevere 1998:45), Broadway, and the West
27
[El xito de Grease] es una sorpresa inesperada y deseada. La produccin de musicales
haba bajado y con este xito y el de Mar i cel se vuelve a pensar en producir un tipo de
teatro importantsimo para la salud del sector (Daniel Martnez, President of ADETCA,
in Lpez Rosell 2007).
28
Los grandes montajes musicales tienen copada la cartelera teatral en Madrid y Barcelona
y arrasan tambin cuando salen de gira.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres 330
End in its wake, are clearly the main sources for Spanish musicals. As Alvarez
(2003) observes, Stage Entertainment/CIE Stage Holding, the major company
staging musicals in Spain, chooses its source material by seeing pieces abroad.
The frst market is New York; then London, and then Germany.
29
This situation may be seen within the context of the general cultural and
linguistic hegemony of the Anglophone world, especially since the second
half of the 20th century. Apart from the hegemony of the English language,
there are certain specifc historical and cultural reasons behind this dominance
of Broadway and West End musicals in Spain. New Yorks theatre scene had
already started to exert a powerful infuence on European drama at the begin-
ning of the 20th century, because of the innovative nature of its plays and
productions (Celada 1995:186), and theatre had been an important agent of
the Americanization of Spanish culture before the Spanish Civil War (1936-
1939). Consequently, after the Second World War, drama from the USA,
closely followed by drama from Great Britain, was given priority in text se-
lection in Spain (Prez L. Heredia 2000:155-60, 169-89, Mateo 2002:47-49).
Practically all the American plays translated into Spanish throughout the 20th
century had originally succeeded in Broadway (Celada 1995:189). Although
today this does not seem to be signifcant in the choice of American plays for
performance in Spanish theatres (Ansorena 2007), it still seems to affect the
selection of musicals. In fact, as Ansorena concedes in his article A quin
le importa Broadway? (Who Cares about Broadway?), where he compares
the strong infuence of Hollywood productions on Spanish cinemas with the
modest infuence Broadway seems to exert on theatre performances in Spain
today, musicals are an exception,
30
and a conspicuous one in my view. They
may actually be the new bearers of Anglo-American culture, having now joined
the flm industry in carrying this culture into Spain.
2.2 Productive reception and social relevance

The introduction of Anglo-American musicals in Spain may also be inter-
preted from the perspective of productive reception, a concept borrowed
by Aaltonen from E. Fischer-Lichte in order to describe intercultural theatre
relations (Aaltonen 2000:49):
29
La eleccin del programa de CIE Stage Holding surge a partir de ver piezas en el ex-
tranjero. El primer mercado es el neoyorquino; luego, Londres, y despus, Alemania.
30
El impacto de Broadway en Espaa no es comparable al de Hollywood. La falta de
conexin cultural y el riesgo econmico de las grandes producciones difcultan la llegada
de los xitos del teatro estadounidense. ...ms del 70% de los espectadores eligen pelculas
estadounidenses. ... Sin embargo, qu pasa con el teatro? Broadway es la mayor industria
de las artes escnicas del mundo [... p]ero el trasvase de obras desde el mercado estadouni-
dense a Espaa apenas es relevante. ... En cualquier caso, no se puede decir que el impacto
de Broadway en Espaa sea inexistente. Lo que s ha llegado a nuestro pas son musicales
que se han convertido en marcas internacionales (Ansorena 2007).
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Marta Mateo 331
An intercultural performance productively receives elements from the
foreign theatre traditions and cultures according to a problem which
lies at the point of departure . ... The choice of suitable texts is always
based on the needs of the target system and compatibility of the dis-
course of the source text with that of the target culture.
Both a perceived lack at the point of departure and the Spanish audiences
needs and expectations have indeed played an important role in the selection
of the source texts and in their acceptance by the target system. As Lefe-
vere argues, the distribution and regulation of cultural capital by means of
translation depends, at least, on the following three factors: the needs of
the audience, the patron or initiator of the translation, and the relative
prestige of the source and target cultures and their languages (1998:44).
Musicals in English have come to fll a cultural gap in the Spanish theatre
system (Even-Zohar 1978/2000:194), which could not be flled by the existing
genres, because these genres have traditionally been assigned different social
and artistic functions by Spanish audiences, as I explain below.
The concept of social relevance, which Marti i Prez (1995) aptly applies
to the study of music, may be useful here. Marti i Prez borrows the notion of
relevance from pragmatics in order to describe the extent to which a certain
type of music is of concern to, and has contextual effects for, a particular
society, community, ethnic group, etc. A music type belongs to a particular
socio-cultural area only when it has social relevance for it, i.e. when it produces
contextual effects within that area (Marti i Prez 1995:4, 7-8).
Spain did have a tradition of musical theatre in the form of opera, operetta,
zarzuela and variety shows. However, at the time when musicals started to be
popular in Spain, opera had no social relevance for the majority of people in
that society. People did not have much use
31
for it despite being aware of its
existence, as opera has traditionally been associated with social and cultural
elites. Zarzuela, the national type of musical theatre genre, had reached its peak
at the beginning of the 20th century, but fell into decline after mid-century,
probably due to the emergence of other forms of mass entertainment, such as
cinema and football (Marco 1987:704-705). It came to be considered a thing
of the past, a genre which could no longer yield new works and whose func-
tion, when performed, could now only be preserving part of Spains artistic
heritage (Marco 1987:705). Finally, the variety shows were seen by the Span-
ish audience as closer to sheer light entertainment, carrying no artistic value.
31
The concepts of use and function elaborate what is meant by social relevance in
Marti i Prez (1995). The way in which a particular type of music is perceived by a group
will imply certain uses (which may be observed, for instance, in the type and number of
musical events related to that music) and therefore certain functions in that community
(e.g. emotional expression, aesthetic pleasure, pure entertainment, providing a reference
model, social distinction, etc).
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres 332
There was no musical theatre genre in Spain, then, which could appeal to the
general public, could provide light entertainment and emotional experience
while laying claim to a certain artistic quality, and could touch upon topics and
present stories that were not associated with traditional Spanish life. Musicals
came to fulfl all these functions.
Social relevance may vary in range, depending on whether it reaches vari-
ous social strata or is limited to a particular social group, in terms of age, sex,
ethnic origin, class, education, etc. (Marti i Prez 1995:4-5). The impressive
stage sets and popular music numbers of the majority of musicals seem to
have counteracted the high ticket prices, enabling the musicals to attract those
social groups who have traditionally stayed away from the other two musi-
cal theatre genres in fact from theatres in general such as young people
and children (Alvarez 2007:76). We may therefore argue that musicals have
gradually acquired a wider social relevance than zarzuelas or operas, since
they came to appeal to people from a variety of backgrounds.
This does not mean, of course, that musicals are also assigned more social
importance by musicologists, music critics or cultural elites. Social importance
is based on the aesthetic canon of a particular time and refers to the extent to
which a musical phenomenon achieves a certain value that has been attached
to it. Thus, social relevance and social importance do not necessarily go hand
in hand (Marti i Prez 1995:10). Musicals are assigned a lesser artistic value
even within certain sectors of the theatre world. Musical theatre actors are
not highly regarded notes Marta Ribera, who plays one of the leading roles in
Spanish Cabaret (J.F. 2007). As part of Spains musical heritage, zarzuelas are
probably given greater social importance by musicologists and music critics,
even though, in my view, they now seem to have limited social relevance.
32

One reason for this may be that musicals are seen as foreign products,
even though they are greatly enjoyed by Spanish audiences. Yet, as Marti i
Prez very rightly points out (1995:2-3), the distinction between foreign and
indigenous has interested the musicologists rather than the general public,
for whom the dichotomy own vs. alien has hardly ever been a criterion for
acquiring ones musical taste. In those rare instances when it has, people have
normally favoured the foreign as representative of novelty, usually regarded
as something positive. Therefore, the dichotomy of old vs. new would in fact
be more appropriate here than foreign vs. indigenous (ibid.).
33

32
The fact that some Spanish cities now hold zarzuela seasons often subsidized by local
authorities is indicative of their social importance. The institutional aid which zarzuela and
opera performances are now afforded in Spain shows that, despite their relatively limited
social relevance, they do perform certain social functions, for subsidies refect societys
interest, manifested through its institutions (Marti i Prez 1995:9).
33
En el mbito popular el eje semntico propio/ajeno no ha sido generalmente un gran
criterio para marcar gustos musicales; y cuando s lo ha sido, ello se debe sobre todo porque
lo ajeno representa novedad, algo visto fundamentalmente como positivo, y, en este caso,
habra que hablar ms bien del eje viejo/nuevo.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Marta Mateo 333
Moreover, the degree of overlap between the audiences of these different
types of musical theatre is probably very small. Antonio Moral, the current
artistic director of Madrids opera house, Teatro Real, observes that the young
sectors of the theatre-going public, who are now clearly targeted by various
musical shows, will not necessarily develop a taste for opera. Musicals and
opera are different genres neither being better or worse than the other, but
nevertheless diverging in their aims and musical approaches (Moral, cited in
Vegas 2007).
2.3 Commercial aspects

The musical vogue in Spain today also refects the return of the popularity of
spectacle, as translator Nacho Artime explains in an interview (Rico 2004);
people do not mind buying expensive tickets to see a good spectacle, whether
it is opera, ballet or musicals. Commercial quality then is another important
factor in the initial selection of source musicals and in the translation and
production process, as evident in the success of El hombre de La Mancha,
described by Ramrez as a very high-quality commercial product.
34
Most
of the musicals translated and produced in Spain have enjoyed enormous
success in the source contexts and generally attained international renown.
35

Many of them had actually received important awards before they reached
Spanish theatres, such as the Tony awards (the equivalent of Oscars in the
theatre world). However, according to Julia Gmez Cora, director of Stage
Entertainment, these awards are not regarded as universal a trademark as the
Oscars; this means that prizes do not have a direct effect on the scheduling of
musicals in Spain (Ansorena 2007).
The anticipated commercial success of musicals may also depend on the
relationship they may have with cinema classics or hits (e.g. Singing in the
Rain and Fame). Moreover, some musicals may be staged for the frst time,
or be revived later, on an anniversary of the original flms release or of
the frst Spanish production. The Spanish version of Seven Sisters for Seven
Brothers was performed for the frst time on the flms 50th anniversary, while
Jesucristo Superstar went back on stage in September 2007 to celebrate its
30 years as a musical in Spanish.
Famous singers and actors engaged for the musicals have also greatly
contributed to the success of the genre in Spain, not just because of their
34
Hemos hecho un producto de calidad muy comercial (in Perales 1998).
35
This was indeed the formula suggested in 2004 by Jordi Gonzlez, theatre impresario
working for Barcelona Teatre Musical, to solve the problem of the fall in audience numbers
in the 2002-2003 season: The objective is to bring musicals of international renown, like
The Phantom of the Opera, and also go for works of Catalan authorship (El objetivo es
traer musicales de renombre internacional, como El fantasma de la pera, y apostar por
piezas de autora catalana) (Subirana 2004).
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres 334
masterly performances but also because of their popular allure: Raphael is
Jekyll, Raphael is Hyde, announced the notices for Jekyll y Hyde. Indeed,
when Jekyll y Hyde was about to open and a sense of expectancy was being
created, the producers stressed that the singer would be on stage during at
least 70 per cent of the show (J.C.G. 2000:75). The hiring of well-known
artists is certainly an effective commercial device. As we saw in section 1
above, some of these artists have taken the leading roles in several shows.
Sometimes, once a musical is frmly established, less famous actors or singers
may take over. This was the case with the 2004 revival of El hombre de La
Mancha, in which artists completely unknown to the general public took the
leading roles which Paloma San Basilio and Jos Sacristn had performed in
the successful 1997 production.
2.4 Source text features
In addition to the factors mentioned above, certain features of the source texts
themselves may be signifcant both for the initial choice of the musicals and
for their future success. In Ricos interview (2004), Artime considers a good
source text as his very frst selection criterion. Indeed, many of the musicals
reviewed in section 1 are known for their remarkable scripts: Cabaret, The
Producers, Victor/Victoria, and especially Cats, which features T.S. Eliots
poems. It is also true, however, that the most commercially successful shows
rely largely on their popular music (e.g. Mamma Ma, Fame, etc.).
Whether it is the text or the music, or both, that stands out, an important
feature in all successful musical productions is what might be broadly termed
their universal nature in cultural terms. The music is sometimes already
known worldwide before the musical reaches Spanish theatres (e.g. We Will
Rock You, Cabaret, Mamma Ma!), and the scripts frequently deal with cross-
cultural and even timeless issues. This obviously facilitates their introduction
to and acceptance in the target system. In fact, Gmez Cora notes the absence
of cultural connection as one of the main problems in importing a foreign musi-
cal in Spain (Ansorena 2007): for example, Jersey Boys, the most successful
musical in the USA in 2006 ... would not succeed in Spain, as it is based on
songs which are only known there.
36
So cultural proximity, or at least not
being too source culture-specifc, is another factor in the selection process.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that the Spanish productions are clearly
source-oriented as regards the performance elements and approach being
supervised and sometimes even directed by staff involved in the original pro-
duction the texts themselves are frequently adapted to the Spanish context.
Although offering a textual analysis of translated musicals is not one of the
36
Por ejemplo, Jersey Boys, el musical de mayor xito el ao pasado en Estados Unidos,
no creo que triunfara nunca en Espaa, ya que est basada slo en canciones conocidas
en ese pas.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Marta Mateo 335
objectives of the present article, it is worth giving a couple of examples of this
type of adaptation here. For instance, the libretto of Los productores introduced
various changes in order to remain humorous for the Spanish audiences. Apart
from including songs which Mancini had originally written but which had
never been played in the Broadway production, the Spanish Victor Victoria
attempted to create a musical con mayor expresividad (with greater expres-
siveness) and ms cercano a la sociedad espaola (closer to Spanish society),
according to the director and adaptor, Jaime Azpilicueta (Europa Press 2005);
it further emphasized the musical numbers at the expense of the claim for gay
rights, which was a central issue in the source text but was deemed not so
crucial anymore in Spain,

one of the frst European countries to have author-
ized gay marriage. Dagoll Dagoms new 2006 version of El Mikado updated
and adapted Gilbert and Sullivans satirical comments, which now refer to
the Spanish ban on smoking, metrosexual men (i.e. heterosexual men with
a strong concern for their appearance), trash TV shows and Catalan politics,
among other things. One could argue that a process of acculturation which
removes the cultural anchoring and eliminates or minimises the relationship to
any specifc culture (Aaltonen 2000:55) is applied on the textual level to tone
down the reverence strategy, through which the foreign is held in esteem
and respected (ibid.:64) and which is resorted to at many other levels of the
translation process, from the initial selection of texts to the mise-en-scne.
2.5 Economic factors
Among the factors which have a bearing on the importation of certain for-
eign musicals as opposed to others, economic concerns seem to be the most
signifcant (Gmez Cora in Ansorena 2007). To start with, it is much more
risky in fnancial terms to import a theatre piece than a flm. The tickets are
more expensive and there is a danger of not being able to recoup the invest-
ment. Then there is the question of hefty copyright fees, which seem to be
the main consideration in the selection of musicals by most production frms
today.
37
We must also bear in mind that, unlike zarzuela and opera seasons,
which often receive subsidies from the Spanish Government and/or local
authorities,
38
musicals are treated as commercial products, hence as part of
the private sector.
A musical theatre production involves many different agents writer(s),
37
I am grateful to Mara Olas, from Stage Entertainment, for this information. See also
Rico (2004) for Artimes description of the fnancial risks theatre impresarios take if they
decide to embark on the production of musicals, due to the increasing costs of copyright,
rehearsals, stage design, etc., all of which have to be paid in advance. On top of that, audi-
ence preferences seem to be a mystery; one can never be sure of success, not even with
international hits.
38
In the case of zarzuelas, this is partly a protectionist policy. In the case of operas, it is
due to the demand from the cultural elites.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres 336
composer(s), directors, stage managers, actors, technicians, translator(s), etc.
and, in most cases, very spectacular stage sets. These all add up, making
musical theatre a very costly genre. For example, Stage Entertainment invested
well over 5 million euros in the production of Victor Victoria in 2005 (Europa
Press 2005). Artime (2003) has described musicals as expensive, competitive
and tending to rely on cloning, a type of show which brings great glory and
applause, and terrible fnancial ruin when it does not do well.
39
It is no wonder,
then, that ticket prices are high; furthermore, audiences are not necessarily like
opera lovers, who are loyal to their genre and have traditionally been prepared
to pay handsomely for their artistic pastime. Nevertheless, musicals have often
enjoyed full houses in Madrid in the past few years.
The need to house the impressive sets, which are usually one of the most
enticing features of these productions, and to have a theatre capacity large
enough to seat audiences who will pay back the whole investment makes the
theatres themselves another key element infuencing economic viability. This
is why theatres in Gran Va have gradually been adapted and Barcelonas
Sports Pavillion was turned into the BTM. It also explains why the shows are
usually produced in the same theatres and some productions cannot be taken
on tour because of their technical and stage requirements. Furthermore, some
production frms have paid special attention to managing their own theatres.
40

This has enabled them to offer Spanish audiences the same productions as
those that can be seen in London and New York, another enticing element, as
evident in the following quote from Gmez Cora in Cabarets 2007 touring
programme:
We decided to bring to Madrid the most successful and emblematic
Broadway shows exactly as they are performed there, that is, with the
same production and the same creative team who had designed the
original. With this [Spanish] tour of Cabaret, we have taken on
the challenge of bringing musicals even closer, travelling to the main
towns in Spain with a similar production to the one which was seen in
New York, Madrid or which can now be seen in Paris.
41
39
[A]lgo tan caro, competitivo y clnico que da mucha gloria y aplauso y enormes ruinas
cuando no se logra.
40
See Stage Entertainments website, http://www.stage-entertainment.com/misc/186.html.
Stage Entertainment now owns a total of 20 theatres, according to their website, in Madrid
and abroad. In Spain, they do not seem to own theatres outside Madrid, and they go on tour
with productions that do not require large stages.
41
En su da apostamos por traer a Madrid los ttulos ms exitosos y emblemticos de
Broadway tal y como se representan all, es decir, con la misma produccin y realizados
por los mismos creativos que concibieron el original. ... nuestro reto con la gira de Cabaret
era acercar los musicales todava un poco ms recorriendo las ciudades ms importantes
de Espaa con una produccin igual a la que se vio en Nueva York, Madrid y que ven
actualmente en Pars.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Marta Mateo 337
Touring around the country is certainly another way to recoup the initial
investment. Yet the above quotation shows that many of these productions are
treated very much like franchises; few local impresarios will undertake these
risky ventures. Hence, foreign musicals are usually produced by a handful
of big companies, as could be observed in the overview offered in section
1. Indeed, this is the downside of the musical boom; as larger theatres are
taken over by international productions, Spanish authors are forced to per-
form in smaller, sometimes fringe theatres (Alvarez 2003). These franchised
shows are therefore not very popular within certain theatre circles in Spain,
particularly in Barcelona, where the director and playwright Sergi Belbel
and actress Angels Gonyalons speak of reinventing the musical genre and
going for more Mediterranean and recognizable shows, rather than copying
the American model (Subirana 2004). In fact, we may add here that, even in
London and New York, there has been a lot of criticism of dramas surrender
to musicals, which has been considered as part of the dilution of the theatrical
scene, refecting a general impoverishment of public culture.
3. Conclusion
Musicals have come to fll a socio-cultural and artistic gap in Spain; but since
there was no indigenous repertoire in the country, they had to be imported.
In 1987, the composer and musicologist Toms Marco regretted that Spanish
composers inevitably failed when they tried to produce musical comedy, a
genre which hardly existed in Spain at that time.
42
In fact, with the exception
of works by the Catalan company Dagoll Dagom, there was barely any auto-
chthonous creation of musicals in the country.
And yet, the number of indigenous musicals in Spain has been growing,
and today they are quite successful; examples include Estamos en el aire in
1999, Antgona tiene un plan and Hoy no me puedo levantar in 2005, a musical
adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in 2006, and Quisiera ser in 2007. These pieces,
particularly those which copy the foreign formula of creating a story around a
pop bands songs, are probably the best indicators of the fact that [t]ranslation
may generate both indigenous writing and more translation, [acting] as a source
of innovation and inspiration (Aaltonen 2000:70). While the importation of
Anglo-American musicals into Spain clearly follows what Aaltonen calls the
reverence mode of translation (ibid.:64), this imitative creation of musicals
based on songs by famous bands confrms that [r]everence is [also] an im-
portant element in further text generation (ibid.:70). It remains to be seen,
however, whether autochthonous creation will go beyond this very commercial
formula or will be exhausted at this level.
42
El fracaso ha sido sin excepcin cuando los autores espaoles han abordado la comedia
musical. ... [se puede] constatar que la comedia musical en Espaa apenas existe como
forma autctona (Marco 1987:706).
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres 338
Indeed, a stronger presence of Spanish originals is necessary for the es-
tablishment of the genre in the country. One of the most sought-after actors
for todays musical performances, Miquel Hernndez who plays the lead-
ing role in the new Jesucristo Superstar production warns against relying
too much on revivals and musicals based on pop bands pieces (in lvarez
2007:80-82):
There is a lot of mythomania and nostalgia in this. People love revivals,
and a show in which the audience knows the songs beforehand has
practically guaranteed itself success. But this is a gold mine which will
one day be exhausted, and we will have to stretch our imagination and
create our own musicals. I think thats where the future lies.
43
The Spanish creation and production of El diario de Ana Frank, whose ex-
ecutive director has been the frst to obtain permission from the Ann Frank
Foundation to adapt the famous Diary, may be considered as an encouraging
sign. In any case, the rendering of English musical-theatre texts into Spanish
provides us with a good example both of theatre translation as productive
reception thereby making the own theatre and the own culture productive
again (Aaltonen 2000:49) and of the cultural role of translation in general,
for it has supplied the target system with a new repertoire which has in turn
fostered the creation of new original pieces in it. Translation has certainly
played a major role in the establishment of musicals in Spain, confrming
Aaltonens view that [t]ranslations are used as a way of increasing cultural
capital in the indigenous system (ibid.:64). That the genre has defnitely taken
root in the country is shown also by the fact that specifc courses on musical-
theatre performance are already being offered.
44
Musicals have therefore achieved considerable social relevance in Spain,
which is not determined by how long a musical genre has lived in a particular
society but by whether it is lived socially (Marti i Prez 1995:11). Madrid
45

has actually become the third capital of the production of musicals in the world
today. Its shows now boast excellent quality and substantial box-offce takings.
43
Hay mucha mitomana y mucha nostalgia en esto. A la gente le encanta el revival, y
adems un espectculo en el que el pblico se sepa las canciones de antemano tiene prc-
ticamente asegurado el xito. Pero esto es un fln que se acabar agotando, y habr que
empezar a echarle imaginacin al asunto y a crear musicales propios. Yo creo que es muy
probable que el futuro est ah.
44
For example, the Universidad del Mar ran its second course for musical-theatre actors
in Murcia in September 2007.
45
Musical production in Spain has centred on one city, Madrid. But marketing strategies,
which include travel agents offering package weekend trips that cover a visit to the theatre
(as is done in London and New York), were already used by Luis Ramrez for his El hombre
de la Mancha in 1998 (Perales 1998). A large part of the audience therefore frequently
comes from outside the capital.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Marta Mateo 339
Spanish producers have even begun to export some of their ideas or sets. Ac-
cording to Azpilicueta, the London 2006 production of Victor/Victoria copied
certain features of the Spanish production, and the complex stage set created
for Los Productores will now be hired in other European countries.
46

Contextualizing the translation process, including the translation policy
which governs the selection of source texts, has hopefully proved helpful in
yielding information about the extratextual elements that determine the success
of the target texts. Aaltonens use of the term reverence and the pragmatic
concept of social relevance which serves to identify a societys musical
life, itself a refection of its cultural tastes and infuences both prove useful
here: the musicals taking over the Madrid stages may also be seen as a further
step in the Americanization that Spanish culture has suffered in many other
areas, or as another manifestation of its reverence for socio-cultural products
emanating from the Anglophone world. The Anglo-American source culture
and language, then, as well as Spanish audiences needs and expectations
and the cultural proximity of texts have been decisive factors in the choice of
texts for translation and importation. Other extratextual factors, such as the
impressive and costly productions which go hand in hand with the return to
the popularity of spectacle, the adaptation of certain theatres to hold those
spectacular set designs, the hiring of well-known singers and actors for some
of the leading roles in order to attract a wider audience and, particularly, the
fact that musicals have flled a socio-cultural and artistic gap (as argued in
this article) all account for the success of a form apparently foreign to Spains
musical tradition.
In this paper, my objective was to establish the context for the successful
importation of musicals into Spain. An in-depth micro-textual analysis of the
source and target texts is an important undertaking which should be addressed
in future research. This would involve detailing the translation strategies
adopted themselves equally signifcant factors in shaping the reception of
musicals.
MARTA MATEO
Departamento de Filologa Anglogermnica y Francesa, Universidad de
Oviedo, c/Teniente Alfonso Martnez s/n, E-33011 Oviedo, Spain.
mmateo@uniovi.es
References
Aaltonen, Sirkku (2000) Time-Sharing on Stage. Drama Translation in Theatre
and Society, Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
lvarez, Itsaso (2003) Madrid-Broadway, http://canales.laverdad.es/guiaocio/
previa/reportajes, 29 December (last accessed on 8 April 2008).
46
See Europa Press (2005) and Marca (2007), respectively.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres 340
lvarez, Juan Luis (2007) La cartelera se rinde a los musicales [Theatres Sur-
render to Musicals], Magazine, 16 December, 76-84.
Anonymous 136 (2000) El teatro musical est de moda [Musical Theatre is
Now in Vogue], Ideas, 10 November, http://revista.libertaddigital.com/articulo.
php/225 (last accessed on 8 April 2008).
Ansorena, Javier (2007) A quin le importa Broadway? [Who Cares about
Broadway?], http://www.expansion.com/edicion/exp/economia_y_politica/
entorno/es/desarrollo/1006878.html, 18 June (last accessed 29 June 2008).
Arkus, Mario (2003) La pera britnica entre Purcell y Britten, o arreglemos el
telfono [British Opera between Purcell and Britten, or Lets Fix the Tele-
phone], Filomsica. Revista mensual de publicacin en Internet 37 (February):
1-14, and 38 (March): 1-11.
Artez (2005) Lluvia y amor [Rain and Love], Artez. Revista de Artes Escnicas
100 (August): 29.
Artime, Nacho (2003) Esto no es Broadway [This is not Broadway], El Cultural,
18 September, http://www.elcultural.es/Historico_articulo.asp?c=7812 (last
accessed on 8 April 2008).
Celada, Antonio R. (1995) Broadway en traduccin al espaol[Broadway in
Spanish Translation], in Francisco Lafarga and Roberto Dengler (eds) Teatro
y traduccin [Theatre and Translation], Barcelona: Pompeu Fabra, 185-92.
De los Ros, Eva (2003) Los gatos de Cats preparan su debut [Catss Cats Get
Ready for Their Opening Night], La estrella, 7 December.
Europa Press (2005) Paloma San Basilio, Valladares y Jaime Azpilicueta con-
vierten el Coliseum en un gran musical con Vctor Victoria [Paloma San
Basilio, Valladares y Jaime Azpilicueta Turn the Coliseum into a Great Musical
with Victor Victoria], Europa Press, Madrid, 27 September.
Even-Zohar, Itamar (1978/2000) The Position of Translated Literature within
the Literary Polysystem, in Lawrence Venuti (ed.) The Translation Studies
Reader, London & New York: Routledge, 192-97.
Gorle, Dinda L. (1997) Intercode Translation: Words and Music in Opera,
Target 9(2): 235-70.
J.C.G. (2000) Raphael estrena Jeckyll [sic] & Hyde, su mayor reto escnico
[Raphael Appears in Jeckyll & Hyde, His Greatest Stage Challenge], La Nueva
Espaa, 6 September: 75.
J.F. (2007) Marta Ribera actriz, encarna a Sally Bowles / Los actores de musical
estamos mal considerados [Actress Marta Ribera Plays Sally Bowles. Musical-
theatre Actors are not Highly Regarded], http://www.eldiariomontanes.es, 14
January (last accessed 29 June 2008).
Johnston, David (ed.) (1996) Stages of Translation, Bath: Absolute Press.
Lefevere, Andr (1998) Translation Practice(s) and the Circulation of Cultural
Capital: Some Aeneids in English, in Susan Bassnett and Andr Lefevere
(eds) Constructing Cultures. Essays on Literary Translation, Clevedon: Mul-
tilingual Matters, 41-56.
Lpez Rosell, Csar (2007) El teatro de BCN despega y ya roza el 60% del
aforo [Barcelonas Theatre Takes Off and It has Gone Up to Nearly 60%
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Marta Mateo 341
Attendance], http://www.elPeriodico.com (Espectculos y cultura), 9 April
(last accessed 15 July 2007).
Marca (2007) Los productores se despide defnitivamente de los escenarios es-
paoles [Los productores Says Goodbye to Spanish Theatres], http://www.
tiramillas.net/edicion/marca/tiramillas/espectaculos/es, 5 April (last accessed
15 July 2007).
Marco, Toms (1987) El teatro musical en Espaa hoy [Musical Theatre in Spain
Today], Revista de Musicologa X(2): 701-708.
Mart i Prez, Josep (1995) La idea de relevancia social aplicada al estudio
del fenmeno musical [The Notion of Social Relevance as Applied to the
Study of Musical Phenomena], TRANS. Revista Transcultural de Msica 1
(June): 1-13.
Mateo, Marta (1998) El debate en torno a la traduccin de la pera [The Debate
Surrounding Opera Translation], in Pilar Orero (ed.) ACTES. III Congrs In-
ternacional sobre Traducci, Barcelona: Universitat Autnoma de Barcelona,
209-22.
------ (2001) Performing Musical Texts in a Target Language: the Case of Spain,
Across Languages and Culture 2(1): 31-50.
------ (2002) Power Relations in Drama Translation, Current Writing 14(2): 45-63.
La Nueva Espaa (1998) Grease ya tiene protagonistas para la versin en
espaol [Grease Has Found the Main Actors for Its Spanish Version], La
Nueva Espaa, 10 September: 75.
Perales, Liz (1998) Don Quijote vive su apoteosis en la Gran Va [Don Quixotes
Apotheosis in the Gran Va], http://www.elmundo.es, 3 January (last accessed
15 July 2007).
Prez L. Heredia, Mara (2000) Traduccin y censura en la escena espaola
de posguerra: Creacin de una nueva identidad cultural [Translation and
Censorship on the Spanish Stage after the Civil War: the Creation of a New
Cultural Identity], in Rosa Rabadn (ed.) Traduccin y censura ingls-espaol:
1939-1985. Estudio preliminar [English-Spanish Translation and Censorship:
1939-1985. A Preliminary Study], Universidad de Len: S. de Publicaciones,
153-89.
Pinedo, Emma (2007) La febre de los musicales se traslada a Barcelona [The
Musical Fever Moves to Barcelona], http://www.swissinfo.org/spa, 2 June
(last accessed 14 July 2007).
Rico, Jos (2004) El aire de Nacho Artime [The Air of Nacho Artime], La ra-
tonera. Revista asturiana de teatro 10: 19-25.
Rubiera Fernndez, Javier (1993) Entre la pera y el teatro Noh: hacia una es-
ttica comparada de la representacin dramtico-musical [Between Opera
and Noh: Towards an Aesthetics Comparison of Musical-theatre Perform-
ances], Unpublished PhD Thesis, Universidad de Oviedo: Departamento de
Filologa Espaola.
Sams, Jeremy (1996) Interview. Words and Music, in David Johnston (ed.) Stages
of Translation, Bath: Absolute Press, 171-78.
Subirana, Jordi (2004) Los musicales sufren una cada de pblico en BCN
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4

Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres 342
[Musicals Suffer a Fall in Audiences in Barcelona], El Peridico, 14 February,
http://www.gaudiclub.com (last accessed on 9 April 2008).
Toury, Gideon (1995) Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond, Amsterdam
& Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Uras, Fernando (2002) El estreno de la semana. Un espectro en la Gran Va
[The Opening Show of the Week. A Ghost in the Gran Va], www.elmundo.
es/metrpoli, 2 September (last accessed 16 July 2007).
van den Hoogen, Eckhardt (2005) El ABC de la pera. Todo lo que hay que saber
[The ABC of Opera. Everything You have to Know], Madrid: Taurus. (Spanish
translation, by Anna Coll, of ABC der Oper, Frankfurt: Eichborn AG, 2003.)
Vegas, Chema (2007) Entrevista a Antonio Moral [Interview with Antonio
Moral], http://revistaballesol.es, 11 July (last accessed 15 July 2007).
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
8
8
.
1
5
.
1
9
6
.
1
9
6
]

a
t

0
2
:
5
3

0
9

O
c
t
o
b
e
r

2
0
1
4