Lolina Guerra and a shared musical adventure – The Province

Lolina Guerra and a shared musical adventure - The Province


Almost forty years ago I met a sensitive and admirable person artist: Lola Guerra, who just left us. Leitmotiv of his long life was music, which he cultivated as an excellent pianist and pedagogue. Demanding with herself, it was also with those who required her help as an interpreter or were trained under her direction. Cultured and refined, she liked to converse, exchange experiences and debate when it was the case. Always generous in vocal and chamber accompaniment, she appeared before the audience with the rigorous preparation and rehearsal that allowed her to expand her innate musicality at the service of the work. His greatest effort was support for young fry of the composition and the vocal or instrumental interpretation.

Our first meet took place because of my membership as a partner in Canary Museum (1981). Instead of a conference I proposed the premiere of the Five poems of the sea for baritone and piano, written on Alexandrian sonnets of the book of the same name Tomás Morales. Dedicated to my great friend Tomás Hernández Pulido, the vocal line was designed for his baritonal voice. It was impossible to find a singer of that string who promised to study it in a few days. Lola Guerra assumed the commitment of the piano part at the request of Lothar Siemens, at that time director of the Museum. The urgencies forced us to entrust the song to a soprano, Beatriz Melero, an excellent reader and good friend of youth at the Conservatory of Oviedo, who was then professed at the Conservatory of Madrid. This was how they were heard in the Museum's act. But it was not simple. I had to transport the baritone line to the sopranil tessitura, which implied a different tonality and, therefore, numerous alterations in the armor. Lolina had studied the original and did it again with the transposition, much more uncomfortable.

Another pianist would have refused. She locked herself in with the new score and when the soprano arrived they rehearsed as if there had not been so many changes. The warm applause that both received eased my bad conscience for having put them in the compromise.

These details are unforgettable. I never stopped thanking Lola for her magnanimity. We talked a lot by phone and we laughed at chance that it was almost impossible to find a baritone willing to sing the original. Lolina had once again suffered the soprano version in a wonderful concert with my fraternal friend and admired singer Pepita Miñón, who was asked for the Philharmonic Society by President Sergio Pérez Parrilla, at the request of another woman very dear and admired, his companion in the Sylvia Perdomo directive.

Later Rafael Nebot wanted to take the work to Canary Islands Music Festival and commissioned an orchestration (for the 1993) to the unforgettable composer Francisco Guerrero. The project was luxurious, because at the end it was linked to a baritone, nothing less than the Malaga native Carlos Álvarez at the beginning of his great international career. Lola Guerra shared my impatience for listen to the original version with symphonic accompaniment. But Carlos arrived in Tenerife, where it would be the premiere, completely overwhelmed. He came from Milan, where Riccardo Muti had offered to star in the new Rigoletto de la Scala. A jump to world fame. They had been days of auditions, discussions and stress, in which the singer did not have a minute to tune my humble songs. The first essay in the Guimerá with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria, directed by Gabriel Chmura, was alarming. The teacher and I locked ourselves with Carlos in a dressing room to discuss and test all the elements of expression, breathing, etc. at the piano. It was already late, because the following day would take place the Tenerife premiere and two later that of Las Palmas.

I called Lola every night to tell her the details of the adventure, and she always encouraged me with intelligent and accurate words. The first baritonal occasion had failed, but, as she repeated, there are other baritones in the Canary Islands. However, in collective concerts that included some of the five poems, they were sung by a lyrical tenor of extensive acute, the already famous inside and outside Spain Gustavo Peña. The last opportunity was in June 2009, when maestro Max Valdés wanted to include these songs about Morales in his farewell concert, after fourteen years as a very applauded principal and artistic director of the Orchestra of the Principality of Asturias. They hired a competent Asturian baritone with whom I crossed a lot of correspondence about the work. Because of a disagreement in the cache, he got angry with the company and canceled the commitment. In a hurry we had to replace him and only one option was available: the one from the celebrated Catalan mezzo Mireia Cantó, who did what he could.

Following the premiere of 1981 at the Museum, Lothar Siemens published these words: "Lola Guerra, always scrupulous and clean in her piano performances of contemporary music, overcame with determination and energy the immense difficulties of a risky and committed work, deeply admiring the public".

Lolina laughed heartily when I complained about the varied conspiracies of chance against a piece of music written for baritone, which in almost 40 years of existence has not managed to sound good once in a baritonal voice. I dedicate to his memory this long story of an unimportant avatar because it was the link of my esteemed friendship with an extraordinary woman. The sincere and disinterested dedication to his vocation, the select culture, the demanding good taste, the impeccable pianism, the warm communication and the instinct to support every musically idealistic company integrate the rich profile of Lolina Guerra, who has been surrounded by much love deserved in life. My solidarity with all those who have loved her and especially her brother Mario, tenor and teacher of tenors; Berta Guerra and her husband the poet Eugenio Padorno; the also poet Oswaldo Guerra; and the grandson who begins to excel as a concert pianist, in which she placed great hope.

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