Ismay Benavente, the new artistic director of the Teatro de la Zarzuela

Joan Francesco Marco, General Director of the National Institute of Performing Arts and Music (INAEM), has today announced the appointment of Ismay Benavente as the next Director of the Teatro de la Zarzuela, who will take up the position in November 2023. Period of five years. “This appointment is historic, as she is the first woman since the opening of the Teatro de la Zarzuela in 1856”, Marco has assessed. “Moreover, for the third time in its history, INAEM has carried out an open and transparent process to select the direction of this artistic center dependent on the organization.”

General Director of INAEM highlights “Benavente’s proven work in cultural management in his career as artistic director of the Teatro Villamarta and Festival de Jerez, as well as his close relationship with Spanish music and dance throughout his career” “

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The reception for proposals began on 8 February and ended on 28 February, with 26 applications submitted, of which 24% corresponded to projects led by women. As in all previous selection processes, and according to the statutes of the Teatro de la Zarzuela, the proposals must be accompanied by a comprehensive management project for the coliseum, which will form the basis for the development of a master plan that will mark the general next five years. In line performance of the theatre.

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After the usual period of technical consultation by the candidates with INAEM throughout the month of February, all submitted projects were presented for evaluation by the Music’s Artistic Council. This advisory body selected a small number of candidates, garnering the support of all members of Ismay Benavente.

During the interview phase with the candidates proposed by the Artistic Council, the General Director is accompanied by Ana Foss, Deputy General Director of Music and Dance, and advisors of recognized reputation in the lyric and stage fields, such as Professor Emilio Cáceres, Documentation Center Director for Performing Arts and Music, Ana Fernandez Valbuena and Stage Director Luis Pascal.

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The concrete project presented by Ismay Benavente, General Director of INAEM, as “aims to promote heritage lyrical theater at the national, European and Latin American levels”, continuing the work done by his predecessor, Daniele Bianco. . Among its strategic lines is to promote the uniqueness and leadership of the Teatro de la Zarzuela as a meeting place and reference for Spanish song and dance; Reaffirm commitment to new creation and young talent; and continue to work on the development of La Zarzuela as a public, inclusive theater committed to gender equality through transparent and sustainable management.

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Isabel Maria (Isame) Benavente Ferreiras (La Linea, 1965) has a law degree from the University of Seville and is a cultural manager. Since 2008 he is in charge as head of the artistic direction of the Teatro Villamarta de Jerez. From this theatre, it has developed a broad and plural programming, with two singular events attracting a great national and international projection. Centro Lírico del Sur, on the one hand, is a project for a lyrical season that combines its own production with the programming of shows on tour. Within the framework of this programming, the “Otono Lírico Jerezano” cycle stands out, an annual exhibition of four titles of Spanish lyrical genre, mainly zarzuela, as well as the creation of the Voice contest for the Spanish repertoire. Likewise, she has been artistic director of the Festival de Jerez, an episodic cultural project with wide national and international repercussion focused on flamenco dance and Spanish dance.

Throughout his career as a manager, Benavente has been called upon to participate in numerous commissions and juries of various public and private institutions at the regional and state level. Since last September 2022, she has been President of the Association of Theaters and Lyrical Seasons of Spain, Opera XXI.

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The current director, Daniel Bianco, will remain in office at the start of Zarzuela’s next season – which will be presented at a press conference on Thursday, May 11 – until the theatre’s new director joins in the month of November.

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