CASTLES IN SPAIN
Music by Harry Fragson. Lyrics by Eustace Ponsonby. Book Cosmo Hamilton. Additional songs from, and loosly based on, the opera La Gran Via by Federico Chueca and Joaquin Valverde
Royalty Theatre, London, 18 April, 1906
AFTER an absence of many years, Ricardo Benevente returns to the little town of Santa Lucienda in South America and meets Juanita, his sweet heart of former days. It is obvious they are still in love. Manuelo, a local man of considerable wealth, is also in love with Juanita, but his affection is not returned. Juanita's father Don Juan, whose one interest is that of winning a prize in the monthly State lottery, readily accepts a bribe from Manuelo in exchange for his permission to give Manuelo his daughter's hand in marriage. But Juanita has other plans and wards off Manuelo's advances. Into the town comes Don Miguel-the great impresario. Ricardo seizing the opportunity to help Juanita in her ambition to become a great singer, persuades Don Miguel to give her an audition. Miguel is sufficiently impressed with her voice to agree to train her, but it will cost ten thousand pesetas. Juanita cannot possibly raise to much money and is heart-broken.
A grand bullfight is arranged for the fiesta and "El Tigre", the mighty matador, is engaged to appear by the promoter, Don Pedro. Every ticket has been sold and excitement runs high but at the last moment "El Tigre" cannot appear. The crowd becomes angry and Don Pedro offers a prize of ten thousand pesetas to anyone who successfully takes the place of "El Tigre".
Ricardo's father was a famous matador and was killed in the bull-ring, Ricardo, too, was proving to be a great matador, but after his father had died he made a secret vow to his mother that he would never enter the ring again. Juanita is quite sure that Ricardo will accept Don Pedro's challenge and so win the prize that would assist her to become a great singer, but Ricardo, aware of his vow, refuses, and is branded a coward by his friends, and even Juanita turns from him. To add to his troubles, Manuelo offers to take up the challenge on condition Juanita accepts the prize money as a betrothal gift. She agrees-But Manuelo is gored.
The hero of the bull-fight is the "unknown" masked matador who gives his name as Mario. Juanita is attracted by the masked matador, who seizes Juanita in a passionate embrace, leaving her the prize money. In adopting the disguise of the masked matador Ricardo's love for Juanita overcomes the vow made to his mother. Juanita, torn between her love for Mario and Ricardo, is overjoyed when she learns the truth and agrees to marry "both" lovers.
The comedy element is very strong and is supplied in abundance principally by Sam Tipple, the new proprietor of the local newspaper, and his assistant, Sally.
Synopsis of Musical Numbers.
- Come to the Gay Fiesta Maria, Theresa, Three Gay Girls, One Sad Girl, Peperino, Dancers, and Chorus.
- Castles in the Air Juanita and Ricardo
- A Lady of the Press Sam, Sally, and Dancers
- March of the Matadors Ricardo, Carlos, Fernando, and Chorus
- She's Got a Little Something Sally, Chorus, and Dancers
- Finaletto Juanita, Chorus and Dancers
- Love is a King Juanita
- Sleepy Siesta Maria, Theresa, Carlos, Fernando, Chorus, and Dancers
- Castles in the Air - reprise Juanita and Ricardo
- See the Bullfight Carlos, Fernando, Sam, Percy, Chorus and Dancers
- March of the Matadors - reprise Juanita, Chorus, and Dancers
- Intermezzo Boy's Choir
- Ave Maria Chorus and Boy's Choir
- March of the Matadors - reprise Entire Company
- Finale Act I Entire Company
- Come to Romero's Romero, Chorus, and Dancers
- That's What I think of You Sally, Sam, and Dancers
- Every Day I learn to Sing Juanita, Maria and Theresa
- Sweet Spanish Lady Ricardo
- Castles in the Air - reprise Juanita
- Come to Romero's - reprise Chorus and Dancers
- Castles in the Air - reprise Ricardo and Juanita
- Mañaña Conchita
- Hóla Hé" (Dance) Ramon and Dolores
- El Relicario Roberto
- Ballet Las Parabolitas
- It's only an Old Spanish Custom - Sam and Dancers
- This is Our Waltz - Juanita and Men
- Sweet Spanish Lady - reprise Ricardo and Full Company
- March of the Matadors - reprise Chorus and Dancers
- Finale Entire Company
Synopsis of Scenes
- SCENE 1.- The Main Square of Santa Lucienda.
- SCENE 2.- Don Miguel's Apartment.
- SCENE 3.- The same as Scene 1.
- SCENE 4.- The Porch of Father Gabriel's Church.
- SCENE 5.- Inside the Church.
- SCENE 6.- The same as Scene 1.
ACT II (A year later).
- SCENE 1.- The Patio of Romero's Hotel in Paratano.
- SCENE 2.- Outside Juanita's Window.
- SCENE 3.- The same as Scene 1.
- SCENE 4.- The Broadcasting Box at the Bull-ring.
- SCENE 5.- The same as Scene 1.
The play is set in Santa Lucienda, a small town, and Paratano, the capital, in Parabola, a Latin South American republic, in the present day.