Cecilia Valdes is a Cuban Zarzuela based on the novel by Cirilo Villaverde. It is a work of importance for its quality, and its revelation of the interaction of classes and races in Havana, Cuba. The story takes place in colonial Cuba around 1830. The young and beautiful woman of mixed-race, Cecilia Valdés, is the illegitimate daughter of powerful land magnate and slave trader, Cándido de Gamboa. Leonardo de Gamboa is his legitimate son. Leonardo falls in love with Cecilia, not realizing that she is his own half-sister, and they become lovers. At the same time, a poor black musician, José Dolores Pimienta, is also hopelessly in love with Cecilia. Cecilia rejects Pimenta's advances and conceives Leonardo's son. However, love between Leonardo and Cecilia does not last. He abandons her and becomes betrothed to a white upper class woman, Isabel Ilincheta. Cecilia turns to the faithful Pimienta to plan revenge. On the day of his wedding, Leonardo is assassinated on the steps of the cathedral by Pimienta who acts on the instigation of Cecilia. Pimienta is executed, and she is thrown in prison. This edition has been arranged by Evan Hause.
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