Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut
Preussischer Kulturbesitz

Three gables

A Glimpse at Our Work

This page provides a glimpse of the different fields of work at the Ibero-American Institute (IAI). This quarter we would like to introduce:

Caballeros and Señoritas: The Zarzuela Collection

The Zarzuela developed in the 17th century as a popular form of Spanish and Hispanic American musical theater. From the 19th century onwards this flourished in the context of Romanticism and Nationalism and linked together folkloristic pieces with arias and romances.

With more than 1,600 copies, the library of the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut (Ibero-American Institute) owns a collection of Zarzuelas which is unique in Germany. The main focus lies on works which were published in Spain between 1800 and 1930. The thin, fragile paper, on which the Zarzuela libretti were mostly printed with a view to achieving inexpensive distribution, constitutes a particular conservational challenge. For several years now interest has been growing in this popular genre, on the part of theaters as well as the sciences. The older, original texts, which are often no longer accessible in the libraries and archives due to their poor state of conservation, are especially coveted.

In 2016 and 2017, within the framework of a project financed by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien – BKM), the IAI was able to make the Zarzuela libretti independent of location visible and usable for research by means of professional digitization .They are available in the IAI’s digital collections. An accompanying exhibition, which also showed films and sound recordings from the IAI’s special collections, as well as a catalogue convey visual impressions of the genre.

In addition, a further 5,000 libretti and musical scores could be acquired through cooperation with Spanish music archives, which substantially enrich the IAI’s collection and which likewise will be digitized in the next few years.

Project coordination: Dr. Ulrike Mühlschlegel, Tel: +49 (0)30 266 45 2200, E-Mail: muehlschlegel@iai.spk-berlin.de

2017 || Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut Preussischer Kulturbesitz